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Two Riot employees depart after defending controversial PAX panel

Two Riot employees depart after defending controversial PAX panel

September 7, 2018 | By Emma Kidwell

Systems designer Daniel Klein and communications associate Mattias Lehman were let go from Riot Games yesterday after defending League of Legends PAX West panels which were open only to women and non-binary individuals. 

As The Verge reports, Klein and Lehman, who were known to publicly defend diversity efforts, left company yesterday in response to apparent controversy around that PAX session.

The private panel, led by women from Riot, was intended to help women and non-binary participants enter the games industry; men were prohibited from attending.

While men were barred from physically attending the panel, they could still rewatch the panels from Riot’s Instagram account, but the policy was met with anger by League of Legends players on Reddit.

After Klein spoke up in defense of the PAX West decision and explained it to Reddit users who voiced their criticisms, he confirmed to The Verge that he was “fired for violating our social media policy." It currently isn't clear what those policies are.

Their departures come a month after several current and former Riot employees discussed the toxic workplace environment which ultimately drove women out of the studio, leading the studio to issue a public apology and plans to correct the company culture that has enabled those past wrongs.

Riot responded in a statement to The Verge, saying "these departures are independent from our efforts to evolve our culture. Our culture remains our top priority, and we remain committed to taking the steps that we need to become a leader in Diversity and Inclusion."

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