Business business business. Numbers.
Forgetting it’s not April Fool’s Day, Riot Games just announced that two-time Grammy award-winning artist Lil Nas X is the president of League of Legends.
Although the publisher announced this via a genuine press release, in reality, Riot Games didn’t, of course, actually hire the pop music icon as its president. While the publicity stunt didn’t stop Riot Games and “Lil Nas Xecutive” from having some fun in a goofy YouTube announcement video and redubbing League’s official Twitter account as “LoLNasX,” the pop star will in fact be heavily involved with League of Legends’ approaching 2022 League World Championship.
League of Legends
According to the press release, Lil Nas X’s upcoming song, “STAR WALKIN’,” which he’s scheduled to perform live at the Worlds opening ceremony on November 5, will serve as the event’s official anthem. In addition to lending League his music, Lil Nas X helped co-design a prestige skin for the game’s newest character K’Sante, the Pride of Nazumah. The skin will release worldwide on November 3 and be unlockable until November 14.
Riot Games’ YouTube vid with Lil Nas X is pretty entertaining, with scenes depicting the pop star sitting on a gold throne, workers distributing telephones that play his new track, and underlings gawking at how apparently, by simply saying you are something— like the president of League—it can automatically come true. But don’t get it twisted, the video game company’s attempt at satire ignores its actual, harrowing business practices.
— LoLNasX (@LeagueOfLegends) September 15, 2022
Read More: Inside The Culture Of Sexism At Riot Games
In December of 2021, Riot Games agreed to pay a $100 million settlement in a gender discrimination lawsuit levied against the company back in 2018, in which a former employee alleged the company of fostering a “men-first” environment.
This past April, an employee at Riot likened working there to “Russian roulette” when the company decided to drop not just its vaccine and mask mandates but also the requirement that unvaccinated employees undergo regular covid testing. This, at a time when case numbers for covid-19 continued to rise
And, of course, it’s the company where an executive actually had to resign after making abhorrent comments about George Floyd, whose murder by Minneapolis police sparked 2020’s renewed BLM protests.
While it’s all fun and games, quite literally, for Riot Games to promote its upcoming esports extravaganza with a music and social media icon of Lil Nas X’s renown, its promotional YouTube video is tone-deaf to the actual work conditions that the company has cultivated.