Riot Games Fires Daniel Z. Klein After Twitter Rant Defending Sexism, Discrimination

Riot Games Fires Daniel Klein

Riot Games lost two employees recently, systems designer Daniel Z. Klein, and communications associate Mattias Lehman. We’re unsure if Lehman was actually fired or if he simply chose to depart the company on his own terms, but we do know for a fact that Klein was fired.

According to The Verge, Klein told them that he was let go for breaking the social media policies that Riot has in place, telling them…

“I was fired for violating our social media policy.”

For those of you unfamiliar with what Klein said on social media, on August 31st, 2018 the former Riot developer made a scathing rant towards the Riot Games fandom and League of Legends players after the community made an uproar over the fact that Riot Games was hosting a series of sessions at PAX West that purposefully excluded men.

The sessions were for women and non-binary folk only. Many called this out as discrimination and sexism, but Klein defended Riot’s decision, stating the following on Twitter…

Some felt this stance from Klein was highly hypocritical, especially given some of his past tweets from 2011 and 2012 that insinuated that he was willing to engage in non-consensual activity involving women.

Lehman, on the other hand, publicly defended Klein’s original comments, which some feel may have caught the ire of Riot’s higher-ups, not unlike what happened when Peter Fries was fired by ArenaNet for standing up for Jessica Price after she began to berate and belittle Guild Wars 2 fans.

Riot Games also issued a statement to The Verge, explaining that the departures had no effect on Riot’s current aim to be more “inclusive”, 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 & Inclusion. We will always encourage Rioters to share their perspectives, and we fully support efforts by Rioters to further our Diversity & Inclusion initiatives. We are committed to making real, positive change in Riot’s culture and internal advocates are a crucial part of making that happen.”

The company still never publicly addressed how excluding men from developer sessions and creative panels helps with inclusion, especially when the public act of excluding men from the public event violated multiple laws.

This pendulum swing in policy came after Kotaku did an expose on the company pointing out that it fostered a culture of sexism. The company responded by apologizing and then hiring in a diversity executive as well as instituting more diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Mattias Lehman and Daniel Z. Klein have avoided making any mention about departing Riot Games on their social media accounts.

I attempted to reach out to Klein to ask if he still feels Riot was in the right about their policies, and whether or not he still feels it’s important to get half-naked pictures from real-life girls, but he has me blocked on Twitter.

(Thanks for the news tip Blaugast & Horrorstorm)