Riot Games has suspended its chief of operations, Scott Gelb, for two unpaid months after an internal investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct against him, according to an internal email confirmed by Riot Games to ESPN on Thursday.
The news was first reported by Kotaku, who initially got the email.
In an interview with ESPN.com, Riot Games co-chiefs Jarred Kennedy and Whalen Rozelle say the company is still making progress in changing its culture in the wake of allegations of a culture of sexism within the company's development arm .
Riot Games, maker of League of Legends, responded to a report on Tuesday by the Kotaku gaming website documenting a culture of sexual harassment and limitations for women working for the multibillion-dollar company.
Gelb's suspension comes after several current and former Riot officials alleged that he repeatedly touched his testicles and made another inappropriate contact for comic effect, according to the report. Gelb, 40, will undergo "unspecified" training, Riot said.
Officials were notified earlier this week of Gelb's suspension in an email sent by Riot Games CEO Nicolo Laurent that Kotaku published a piece, followed by Riot providing Variety with a copy of the entire email on Thursday -market.
In that email, Laurent stated privacy concerns surrounding Riot's employees and the company's investigation. He also cited Gelb's position in the company and a decision by the Riot board's special committee to find out why Riot recognized Gelb's punishment both internally and publicly. This and other investigations into alleged sexual and workplace misconduct at Riot were conducted by Chicago-based law firm Seyfarth Shaw.
"As part of our ongoing commitment to the evolution of our culture, we are thoroughly investigating all claims through our established process," the company said in a statement sent to ESPN on Thursday. "Following the review and careful consideration of the findings, the Special Committee of the Riot Board determined that a two-month unpaid leave, together with training, was the appropriate action, given the allegations that were substantiated. "
In August, Kotaku reported a history of allegations of sexual and workplace misconduct at Riot Games and sexism over several Riot employees. Since that report, Riot has issued several statements saying it is working to resolve the problems.
The company hired Seyfarth Shaw to conduct internal investigations in August, Riot Games confirmed. In November, the company hired Harvard Business School professor Frances Frei to enhance its diversity and inclusion initiatives. Prior to Riot, Frei served as Uber's senior vice president of leadership and was hired by the hitchhiker company after being criticized for allegations of sexual misconduct and in the workplace.