April 13, 2021

Partnership between Alienware and Riot Games Comes to an End due to Sexism Controversy

Partnership between Alienware and Riot Games Comes to an End due to Sexism Controversy

It’s not all good news in the gaming world as Riot Games CEO faces allegations of sexual harassment. This report against Nicolo Laurent has resulted in Alienware ending its partnership with Riot Games, which is 10 months earlier than what was expected. This is a tough loss for Riot Games and in this segment, we’ll be taking a closer look at what had allegedly happened and the reasoning behind Alienware ending its partnership with Riot Games.

Alienware’s Concern

The main issue that Alienware has with Riot Gaming is its public image since these harassment allegations have been made along with a few lingering controversies of a similar nature. The deal between the two was set to expire in January 2022; however, Alienware has chosen to cut the deal short.

Riot Games has viewed Alienware as a valuable partner since the deal commenced in January 2019. Riot Games has also failed to comment on anything regarding the agreement with Alienware due to obligations linked to confidentiality. Since then, Riot Games has removed all of Alienware’s branding from their broadcasts and has ceased any type of work with them, except for a few discussions regarding the situation.

The Accusations

Nicolo Laurent, CEO of Riot Games, has been accused of alleged gender discrimination and sexual harassment by a former employee of Riot Games, Sharon O’Donnell. O’Donnel claims that she was unfairly removed from her position at Riot after she had reported Laurent’s behaviour to the human resources department. However, this isn’t the first time that this had happened at Riot, as a range of allegations had popped up at Riot in August 2018, as Kotaku had reported various counts of sexual abuse and sexism allegations at Riot.

This happened again in December 2018 after the COO, Scott Gelb, had been suspended after a report had surfaced specifying accusations of unsuitable conduct. Furthermore, there has been another report of suspicious activity coming from Riot as it had made a deal worth around $500 billion with the city of Neom, Saudi Arabia. The reason why this was viewed in a negative light is that the country is known for a range of human rights violations. The deal was terminated shortly after it had been announced.

What’s Next for Riot?

There seems to be a serious problem at Riot Games and now that Alienware has pulled out of the deal, there might be some issues with it regarding League of Legends, as Alienware sponsors the entire eSports scene. Furthermore, this could make it difficult for Riot Games to strike up more partnerships in the future as it could be a PR nightmare for companies that are seen working with the company.

However, there is a chance that this gets sorted out internally and that the whole thing blows over. If the allegations are true, they will likely have to sack Laurent, which could be something that no company wants to do due to how difficult the process can be.

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