Recently, we reported on yet another sexual harassment accusation against Riot Games employee, and more specifically its CEO Nicolo Laurent. The case took an unexpected turn, as the investigation conducted in order to find evidence of Riot CEO's guilt did not reveal anything that would confirm the version of events presented by the plaintiff - Sharon O'Donnell. Moreover, the company's management decided to file a lawsuit against the alleged harassment victim, claiming that she manipulated witnesses and offered bribes in exchange for testifying in her favor.
A Special Committee of Riot’s Board of Directors hired an indepenedent law firm, Seyfarth Shaw, to investigate. It was to examine whether interactions between the boss and his former assistant were inappropriate or hurtful, or perceived as "harassment, discrimination or retaliation." As I have written above, no circumstantial evidence of Laurent's guilt was found in this area, and the committee recommended in a special statement that no action be taken against him. However, it promises to reopen the investigation if real evidence against Riot Games' CEO comes to light.
As for O'Donnell's accusation of witness tampering, testimonies have emerged from people who confirm that the "victim" offered bribes and that an unspecified person claiming to be her lawyer's secretary may have forced former colleagues to speak in court in favour of Laurent's former assistant. As we can read in one of the testimonies:
"Plaintiff offered to share any proceeds from this lawsuit with the individual in exchange for testimony against Mr. Laurent. Plaintiff also suggested that this individual could financially benefit to the tune of several hundreds of thousands of dollars if this individual filed their own claims against Mr. Laurent"
And for the next one:
"This individual reported recently receiving two calls from a woman purporting to be the assistant to Plaintiff’s lawyer, both from a blocked number. On both occasions, the 'assistant' would not share her name or the name of Plaintiff’s lawyer. The “assistant” demanded that the individual meet with Plaintiff, which the individual declined to do. The “assistant” also said that if this individual were to join Plaintiff’s lawsuit, the individual could 'get money out of' the Laurent family. When the individual objected, the 'assistant' referred to the individual as a 'bitch,' said 'fuck the Laurents,' and again insisted that the individual meet with Plaintiff at an address that the “assistant” would provide. The individual declined and told the 'assistant' to stop calling"
Additionally, witnesses confirm that Sharon likely gave their contact information to the media, resulting in harassment by journalists.
Interestingly, in the aforementioned motion, Riot Games refers to individual arbitration, claiming that O'Donnell signed a contract with the studio, but is unable to take the case to arbitration as of yet, thus preventing an agreement. In the company's previous gender discrimination and sexual harassment cases, victims were offered $10 million in settlements.
- Riot Games Sued For Harassment and Discrimination, Again
- Statement from the Special Committee of Riot’s Board of Directors
- Witness testimony and evidence of Sharon O'Donnell's manipulation