Riot Games Senior Executive Ron Johnson stepped down from his position after an unfavorable George Floyd social media post prompted an investigation.
Ron Johnson—the global head of consumer products over at Riot Games—was recently put on leave following an ill-timed George Floyd Facebook post that landed him in hot waters. The executive faced intense backlash over the post, prompting Riot to launch an internal investigation.
On June 11, a spokesperson announced that Johnson had resigned from the company. According to his LinkedIn profile, Johnson only began working for Riot in December of last year.
— PC Gamer (@pcgamer) June 12, 2020
The controversial Facebook post
The former executive posted an image from his personal Facebook account detailing George Floyd’s criminal background and accusing him of being high on meth when he was apprehended and subsequently murdered.
Johnson even added a personal message pretty much blaming the murder victim’s “criminal lifestyle” for how things played out.
Ron Johnson, Riot's Global Head of Consumer Product, really posted this garbage on Facebook. pic.twitter.com/mPMKnp4wfT
— Spideraxe (@Spideraxe30) June 10, 2020
The developer’s response to the Ron Johnson message
According to a recent statement made by Riot Games to online publication VICE, the League of Legends developer found Johnson’s Facebook post “abhorrent, against our values, and directly counter to our belief that addressing systemic racism requires immediate societal change.”
Riot didn’t want to go into details regarding their investigation process or its result, though judging by the news of Johnson’s resignation, the outcome seems pretty obvious.
Riot Games isn’t new to controversy
This isn’t the first time the Los Angeles-based video game developer made headlines due to controversy. A couple of years ago, Riot was under fire after two female employees took the company to court for violations of the California Equal Pay act.
According to the two women, they were sexually harassed and discriminated against due to their gender on a regular basis.
After a lengthy legal battle, both parties agreed to a settlement where Riot Games would have to shell out a minimum of US$10 million [AU$15 million] to the women who were employed by the video game company during the previous five years.
As of December last year, Riot reportedly had close to 1000 women under their employ.
— Kotaku (@Kotaku) December 2, 2019
Riot Games joins the fight against systemic racism
On June 5, the developer announced that it would be donating $1 million to the ongoing battle against systematic racism. Parts of the donations were given to The Innocence Project and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Riot broke the news of the donation on Twitter, accompanied by a message about their commitment to change stating they “have a part to play and it is on us to do more.”
— Riot Games (@riotgames) June 5, 2020
Riot Games is one of many big names in the video game community who’ve publicly shown support for the George Floyd protests and Black Lives Matter movement.
Featured image courtesy of Chris Yunker/Flicker