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Riot Games fire executive over George Floyd post that almost scuppered LCS deal

Riot Games have fired their Global Head of Consumer Products Ron Johnson the day after they announced they were investigating the executive for his inflammatory Facebook post, saving a planned deal with telecom giant Verizon.
Riot Games fire executive over George Floyd post that almost scuppered LCS deal
In a swift response to their investigation launched yesterday, Riot Games have fired executive Ron Johnson. In a statement by Riot spokesman Joe Hixon, they announced Johnson would no longer be working with the company.
 

 

“Ron Johnson is no longer employed at Riot Games. The sentiment expressed in the image in question is abhorrent and runs directly counter to our values and our belief that addressing systemic racism requires immediate societal change.”

 

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A screenshot of Johnson’s heavily criticised Facebook post (Picture: Ron Johnson)

 

Johnson’s social media post in question was an image casting aspersions on George Floyd’s character, and highlighting his criminal history, asking “who was he really?” It then went on to imply Floyd’s “lifestyle” was partly to blame for his murder. In Johnson’s own words, “[it] never results in good things happening to you.”

The social media post had far-reaching consequences immediately, allegedly threatening a planned deal between Riot and Verizon for the latter to sponsor the LCS. The deal was supposed to be announced on Thursday morning, but Verizon refused to move forward with the deal unless the matter with Johnson was resolved decisively.

In an internal note obtained by ESPN, Riot Games CEO Nicolo Laurent said he wouldn’t comment on the political views espoused by Johnson, but believed he had “exercised really poor judgement… [resulting] in a post that was harmful to many of us and our broader community.”

Johnson is said to have understood his position and how he would have been an ineffective leader as a result of his social media post. He agreed with the decision to remove him, tendering his resignation effective today.