Former League of Legends shoutcaster and current ESL head of talent Joe Miller was accused of sexual assault Thursday by a former Riot Games employee.
Criss Fowler alleged that Miller sexually assaulted her April 6, 2014, while he was still a shoutcaster for the European branch of League of Legends esports, and she was about to start her job as a social media specialist at Riot Games.
Fowler detailed her alleged experience with Miller in a TwitLonger post in which she did not initially name her assaulter. Several other individuals came forward to corroborate Fowler's account, leading her to name Miller in a follow-up tweet.
After the initial encounter, Miller continued to pursue Fowler for several months despite Fowler's attempts to remain professional.
"Again, I tried to be the 'cool' girl, trying to shift the topic to work/life when he got thirsty or alternating to silence when he hit me up with a 'hey yous' for the third time in a row," Fowler wrote. "I spent my first month at Riot scared I'd accidentally run into him, or worse, that he would gossip about me to colleagues and give people reasons to take me less seriously."
Miller left Riot Games for ESL in November 2014. Fowler stayed on at the League of Legends developer until 2016.
Neither Miller nor ESL initially responded to requests for comment. [UPDATE: ESL issued a statement Friday afternoon. See it at the bottom of this story.]
Fowler's TwitLonger post described a second assault by an unnamed executive not at Riot Games, and a sexist rumor spread at the developer that initially undermined her credibility, claiming she had dated a Riot Games employee purely to get a job at the developer.
Fowler's accusations come amid a wave of similar stories across the gaming industry that began earlier this week. Dozens of women have shared accounts of alleged gender-based discrimination, harassment and abuse from dozens of men, and of slow or nonexistent responses from the institutions to which they reported these events.
Kotaku first reported on Riot Games' culture of toxic masculinity in 2018, revealing a studio where sexist jokes and gender-based discrimination frequently took place. Riot Games has since taken steps to improve its culture, though a follow-up report from Kotaku indicated employees say progress is slow.
UPDATE 5/26/20 at 2:34 p.m. ET: ESL provided the following statement:
"We are aware of the very serious sexual abuse and harassment allegations made against an ESL employee that have recently been made public. While we refrain from commenting on individual cases, we can say that we have a zero-tolerance policy towards such offenses both within our company or by anyone representing us. We are taking all necessary steps to investigate each instance, taking each very seriously, and will take appropriate action based on the outcome of these investigations. Those sharing their stories have shown exceptional courage and strength to make our community a better place. We encourage anyone who has experienced any kind of harassment to report it and commit to treating every instance with urgency, confidentiality, and respect for all parties involved."