Alienware, one of Riot Games’ biggest advertisers, is ending the companies’ business relationship following allegations of harassment by Riot CEO Nicolo Laurent that came to light last month. Dot Esports reports that the agreement was set to expire in January 2022, but Alienware has pulled the plug due to its “concern with the game developer’s public image amid harassment claims and other controversies.”
Riot has removed Alienware’s branding from its League of Legends esports events during talks between the two companies. A Riot spokesperson told Dot Esports, “We can’t comment on our agreement with them at this time due to confidentiality obligations.”
The two companies had been working together since January 2019. As part of the deal, Alienware would “deploy a massive fleet of Aurora R8 computers and 240Hz monitors across the globe, delivering a consistent playing experience for teams and players in a manner similar to how traditional sports have standardized equipment for competitive play.”
The termination of the deal makes Alienware, which is owned by Dell, the first sponsor to withdraw its support from Riot during its recent tumultuous years, which started with Kotaku’s exposé in 2018.
A third-party investigation commissioned by Riot’s board of directors made its findings known yesterday, suggesting no action be taken against Laurent. Riot shared the results of that investigation, saying that “there was no evidence that Laurent harassed, discriminated, or retaliated against the plaintiff.” The committee would request Riot re-open the investigation “if any additional material evidence of inappropriate conduct on the part of Laurent were to come to light.”
Laurent offered his full cooperation in the investigation. In a personal statement, he denied the accusations, saying that “Nothing of that nature, or even remotely close to it, ever happened.” While he admitted that he can sometimes “stick my foot in my mouth” and that there are “moments I continue to reflect on and learn from,” he and the company “remain deeply committed to making sure we can all feel proud of the culture we have at Riot — one that’s inclusive, where everyone can thrive and do their best work.”