Riot Games COO gets two month unpaid suspension following misconduct investigation

Riot Games COO Scott Gelb has been handed a two month unpaid leave suspension, following misconduct allegations within the company which emerged earlier this year. In an internal email reported on by Kotaku, Riot CEO Nicolo Laurent advised employees this week that claims about Gelb's "inappropriate and unprofessional behaviour" had been substantiated by Riot's investigations.

In his email, Laurent reiterated that while Riot's policy is not to discuss individual cases, the company had made an exception in Gelb's case: "As I have mentioned, we are committed to protecting Rioters’ privacy and the integrity of the investigation process. This means that you will not hear me or any other leader discuss individual cases. Having said that, we made a very rare exception in the case of our COO, Scott Gelb. There are factors that collectively drive this exception. The Special Committee of the Board of Directors has specifically requested that one of Scott’s consequences be highly visible."

The company was sued last month by one current and one former employee, with charges of sexism and discrimination stemming from the company's internal work culture. The lawsuit's charges included sexually objectifying female staff, and Kotaku's reporting alleged that "for years, Gelb had been known to fart on, 'ball-tap,' and, sometimes, hump colleagues for comedic effect."

Gelb's punishment was deemed insufficient by current Riot employees who spoke to Kotaku. One described the two-month unpaid leave suspension as "a tiny slap on the wrist." 

Laurent wrapped up his internal email with the following comment: "Scott could have avoided owning his past and his consequences. He could have left Riot. Scott chose ownership and redemption. I will root for him, will support him through this journey, and will leverage him as a great leader when he returns next year. I hope you will join me.”

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.