Riot Games is investigating global head of consumer products Ron Johnson for a Facebook post that attributes George Floyd’s “criminal lifestyle” to his death at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis, according to VICE.
Though Johnson believes Floyd’s death should be investigated as a “potential crime,” he claimed this is a “learning opportunity” that proves a “criminal lifestyle never results in good things happening.” The Riot employee then attached an image that lists Floyd’s criminal record.
Riot claims these sentiments go against the company’s values and the commitment it made to drive change.
“We’ll say firmly that the sentiment is abhorrent, against our values, and directly counter to our belief that addressing systemic racism requires immediate societal change,” Riot told VICE. “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.”
Floyd’s unwarranted death fueled nationwide protests for racial equality, highlighting the systemic racism that severely impacts the black community. Floyd is only one of many deaths caused by police brutality and excessive use of force.
The New York Times found that Minneapolis police use force against the black community at seven times the rate of white people, for example.
Derek Chauvin, the office who knelt on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes, was fired, arrested, and charged with murder.
Riot was previously in the center of a major controversy over its treatment of female employees. Kotaku unveiled the culture of sexism at Riot in August 2018, which later led to an employee walkout when action from leadership didn’t suffice.
Riot has since announced a “First Steps Forward” initiative in which it apologized to current, former, and prospective employees for not being “the place we promised.” The company began by expanding cultural diversity and inclusion, rebuilding culture through third-party help, and creating an improved investigation process.
Update June 12 9:00am CT: Ron Johnson “is no longer employed at Riot Games,” according to a company spokesperson.