One of the biggest advertisers for League of Legends esports is cutting ties with Riot Games following allegations of sexual harassment against the company’s CEO, Nicolo Laurent.
Alienware will terminate its global esports partnership more than 10 months early. In discussions with Riot, Alienware cited its concern with the game developer’s public image amid harassment claims and other controversies, sources familiar with those talks told Dot Esports.
The deal between Alienware & Riot was to expire originally in January 2022, according to sources. Riot removed Alienware branding from all of its competitive League broadcasts last weekend.
“Alienware has been a valuable partner to Riot since January 2019,” Riot Games told Dot Esports in a statement. “We can’t comment on our agreement with them at this time due to confidentiality obligations. As we continue discussions with them, we have removed their branding from our broadcasts.”
The deal encompassed sponsorship for the entire global League esports scene—including the LCS, LEC, LCK, LPL, Mid-Season Invitational, and the World Championship.
Alienware, which is owned by Dell, made its decision to terminate the deal after Riot and its CEO were accused of sexual harassment and gender discrimination in a civil lawsuit by former executive assistant Sharon O’Donnell.
Past allegations of sexual harassment at Riot, as well as the public fallout around the LEC’s partnership in July 2020 with NEOM, a Saudi Arabian state-backed city development, also played a role in the decision.
Riot first came under fire