UPDATE (10/3): It seems that Rutledge no longer works for Riot Games. His personal Facebook page states as much and his LinkedIn profile states that his employment at the company ended in October 2017 (Source).
The conversation regarding toxicity toward game developers has intensified lately, starting with a Twitter thread (summarized here) and echoed by many in the gaming community. Less frequent is toxicity from devs to players, but it does happen occasionally, including this past weekend.
Late Friday night, Lead Experience Designer Aaron “RiotSanjuro” Rutledge went off in League of Legends‘ public Discord on a streamer who has been banned from the game multiple times. You can see his comments on this series of images on imgur, in which he states that Tyler1 “looks like a damn humumculus” and says “he’ll die from a coke overdose or testicular cancer from all the steroids.” He seems to justify his comments later by saying “u know how much bullshit he’s caused me? personally?” and “ive spent many hours of my workday dealing with his bullshit.”
The drama was called to people’s attention via Reddit, which is also where Rutledge later apologized for his comments. That response hasn’t been taken very sincerely; as of this writing, it has over 5,000 negative karma. Meanwhile, Riot’s Ryan “Cactopus” Rigney has also issued a statement on behalf of Riot Games, stating that Rutledge’s comments were “NOT okay” and that the company “will be taking action internally to address this.”
For his part, Tyler1 says that he’s “changed” and “has no hard feelings” toward Rutledge.
When I did community management, I certainly ran across my share of toxic troublemakers. I might complain about them to co-workers, but never on a forum open to the public. Sometimes, when a game does something that seems contrary to the interests of its players — questionable design decisions or cash shop practices — we hear the reminder that “the company isn’t your friend, it’s a business.” Rutledge probably should have taken similar advice to heart and not mistaken Riot’s customers for sympathetic friends.