Riot Games Executive "No Longer Employed" After Blaming George Floyd's Murder on Criminal Lifestyle [Update]
The executive has been placed on leave while investigations are being carried out.
A spokesperson from Riot Games has reached out to confirm that Ron Johnson is now no longer employed by Riot Games. You can find the statement below.
“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, something that we’re committed to working toward.
“As we shared last week, Riot is taking thoughtful and deliberate action to help combat racism and injustice in the communities where we work and live. To start, we’re committing $1 million to areas where we know we can make an impact, including justice reform, long-term solutions to address racial bias, and support for local Black-owned businesses. We’re also striving to change the face of our industry and create opportunities, including by investing $10 million in founders underrepresented in the games industry and helping create a future pipeline of underrepresented talent for the gaming and tech world.
“We know there is much work to be done, and we vow to do our part.”
Original Story: Yesterday it was reported that the global head of consumer products at Riot Games, Ron Johnson had shared an image on his personal Facebook page along with a statement referencing the late George Floyd who was murdered last month while being restrained by police officers. Johnson is now said to be on leave.
As reported by Vice, Riot Games has started an investigation into Johnson after the screenshot of his personal account was shown to downplay George Floyd’s murder. The image he shared was a picture of George Floyd with the on-picture caption reading, “The media and the left have made George Floyd into a martyr, but who was he really?” with the rest of the text listing a history of criminal activity.
Johnson’s status he wrote with sharing the image reads, “This is no reason to condone his killing by the officer at all, which still needs to be investigated as a potential crime,” he says “It is a learning opportunity for people (and your kids) to teach that this type of criminal lifestyle never results in good things happening to you or those around you.”
As Vice points out, the status shares the sentiment being shared online by those that are excusing the murder, suggesting that Floyd was to blame for his own death because he was previously involved in criminal activity.
“We’ve been made aware of the social media post and have launched an investigation,” a Riot Games representative told Vice, “We’ll say firmly that the sentiment in that image is abhorrent, against our values, and directly counter to our belief that addressing systemic racism requires immediate societal change, which we detailed in the commitments we made Friday. While we don’t discuss the details of our investigations or their outcomes, we’re following our disciplinary process closely and have placed him on leave pending its conclusion.” After going through Johnson’s Facebook, Vice reports that he has shared posts that connect to conservative thinking.
The commitments made by Riot Games last week in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement were shared among employees by Riot Games president, Dylan Jadeja. The statement touched on donations and initiatives the company will be taking going forward.
While Riot Games is currently in the spotlight because of its latest competitive hit, Valorant, the studio had a hell of a ride last year. There were reports of gender discrimination and culture of sexism within the studio. There was also a mass walkout that was done to protest the company’s forced arbitration policy. By the end of 2019, Riot Games agreed to pay $10m in the gender discrimination settlement.