Riot Games, the studio behind League of Legends, wanted to get the Saudi Crown Prince on board for the professional league, but this deal sparked outrage among employees and the community.
The announcement that Riot Games is partnering with the city of Neom was not only surprising to the community, but also to many of the studio’s employees.
Neom, this is the construction project of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. In the desert this pulls a city for $ 500 billion high. There are said to be flying cars, an artificial moon and many other futuristic things. The city is said to be 33 times larger than New York. The project is expected to be completed by 2025.
The city of Neom should partner with LEC Summer Season the League of Legends European Championship. But the new sponsor triggered a shit storm in the community and employees such as casters and moderators of the league also spoke out clearly against the partnership.
Why the rejection?
The rejection of the partnership, in turn, has with the Rejection of human rights in Saudi Arabia to do. The Saudi Crown Prince himself is suspected of being Murder of the critical journalist Jamal Khashoggi to have commissioned. The country is tough on critics and limits rights wherever it can. This is especially true for women and members of the LGBTQ community.
The Neom construction project itself is also heavily criticized. So the construction should go through Workers who work in slave-like conditions, are accomplished. The Huwaitat tribe had to make room for Neom and 20,000 people lost their homesthe Guardian reports.
That’s what the community says
Even Riot Games employees were surprised by the news. Caster Indiana “Froskurinn” Black tweeted her devastated because she thinks she knows the people behind the decision.
The casters too Daniel Drakos and Trevor “Quickshot” Henry, as well as moderator Eefje “sjokz” Depoortere they said against the deal out. Even LoL lead designer Mark Yetter finds the partnership absolutely wrong.
Riot games with the U-turn
The outcry was obviously big enough, because Riot canceled the deal with Neom. The statement states that Riot Games made a decision too quickly and, after further consideration, found that it had made a mistake. The human rights situation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not mentioned.
The Riot staff and casters are getting a lot of encouragement for their clear stance on the deal with Neom, but they also have to listen to some comments about your employer. Riot Games is 100 percent owned Tencentwhich in turn come from China. A country where government critics are also harsh. According to the critical comments, it is okay to work for this company.