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Riot CEO keeps job as investigation finds "no evidence" for sexual harassment allegations

Nicolo Laurent was accused by Sharon O'Donnell of gender discrimination and sexual harassment. After being cleared of accusations, Riot has accused O'Donnell of "witness tampering".
Riot CEO keeps job as investigation finds "no evidence" for sexual harassment allegations
Riot Games announced that after conducting a thorough investigation that included an outside law firm, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, and the Special Committee of Riot’s Board of Directors, the company's CEO, Nicolo Laurent, was cleared from gender discrimination and sexual harassment accusations made against him by a former employee, Sharon O'Donnell.

Shared in a statement published on Riot's website, the Special Committee deemed there was "no evidence that Laurent harassed, discriminated, or retaliated against the plaintiff," after carefully reviewing the external investigation conducted by the retained law firm assigned to the case.

nicolo laurent riot ceo sexual abuse
Nicolo Laurent, Riot's CEO (Picture: Jack Thomas)

The lawsuit, filed in January, was made public thanks to a report in Daily Esports. O'Donnell sued Riot Games "for lost wages, medical expenses and general damages related to her employment," detailing instances of what she claimed was gender discrimination and harassment.

One of these interactions includes the CEO allegedly claiming that the best way for women to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic was to "have kids" and multiple instances of Laurent showing hostility towards O'Donnell, something she believes led to her "wrongful termination".

Riot accuses Sharon O'Donnell of "witness tampering"

riot games sexual misconduct ceo
(Picture: Riot Games)

Soon after the results of the investigation were shared by Riot, Daily Esports reported that the company is now accusing O'Donnell of manipulating witnesses to act in her favour.

According to the report, Riot requested a conference to Superior Court of the State of California with the judge of the filing and O'Donnell to discuss matters such as the plaintiff offering “an individual compensation for testifying on her behalf” and “encouraged others to file a lawsuit against Laurent, so they can personally benefit.”

This, naturally, can lead to "irreparable witness tampering and are affecting the ability of unrelated third parties to do their jobs and live their lives free of unwanted threats and harassment," Riot stated.

The fallout from this claim and others has been felt keenly at Riot Games, according to a recent report in Dot Esports, hardware manufacturer Alienware pulled their sponsorship deal almost a year in advance due to a "concern with the game developer’s public image amid harassment claims and other controversies."

We'll keep you updated as the story develops.