One of the world’s top ten esports companies may have just lost its coveted franchise spot in Riot Games’ next pro Valorant league because the CEO defended partying with internet misogynist Andrew Tate. Outside reports and comments from some employees certainly suggest so, insinuating that G2 Esports is now facing a huge loss, all because its boss insisted on “partying with whoever I want”.
Valorant is already one of the most streamed games on Twitch, but Riot plans to revamp its esports scene in 2023 by launch of a new league system similar to League of Legends. There will be two tiers, with the most sought-after and lucrative spots going to partner teams who stay in international leagues year after year and receive a regular allocation from Riot.
G2 Esports was reportedly on the verge of landing one of those partnership spots until its CEO, Carlos “ocelote” Rodriguez, posted a video last weekend that showed him popping champagne with Andrew Tate, who was recently kicked off all major social platforms for hate speech and in general. fostering ugly views on male identity and the treatment of women.
Riot released the official list of partners for the 2023 season on Wednesday, and of course G2 is not on it. The company said one of the things it prioritizes in selecting partners is “organizations that share our values of always putting fans first, celebrate our diverse community, and are committed to supporting the pros.”
According Esports Point, Riot made a U-turn over the weekend and will no longer reserve any of the franchise spots in North America for G2. 1PV journalist neLendirekt said Riot held an “emergency meeting” before deciding to drop the esports company following the recent controversy, with Sports Business Journalis Kevin Hitt to add that the decision was due at least in part to the “recent discussion with the CEO and Andrew Tate”.
[[[[Updated: 9/21/22 2:42 PM ET: The Washington Post reports that while Riot didn’t confirm to anyone in advance which teams would get franchise slots, it provided “blinking green lights” to help organizations start planning. G2 was apparently one of them, offering The Washington Post an interview about membership the north american Valorant league before Riot announces the list of partners.]
Whereas Kotaku has not been able to independently confirm this, several comments from G2 employees on social media seem to confirm this. “Riot’s decisions are theirs, you can agree or disagree, it’s their game and they do what they want with it,” said G2 artist Enelthion. tweeted. “But the repercussions are going to affect many of us who work behind the scenes, the players and the staff, so think about that before you write uplifting tweets.”
An employee of the partnerships and IT department tweeted“I wanted to say something about the current situation of G2 after working in this company for 9 years and 9 months, but it would not make any difference. These are by far the worst 4 days of my professional career and I can not think nothing more than to continue to support my team and my colleagues.
While G2 placed Rodriguez, who co-founded the organization in 2014, on a two-month unpaid leave, many didn’t buy the CEO’s eventual apology. That’s at least in part because of a number of pro-Tate tweets he continued to like throughout the meltdown.
Given Riot history of sexual harassmentand his current campaign for overhaul this corporate cultureit’s no surprise the company is reluctant to award a lucrative contract to an esports team whose boss was partying with someone who has regularly joked on the abuse of women. Now, the stunt could end up hurting other parts of G2 Esports.
“There is only one party I blame in this situation,” tweeted a relatively new recruit to the company’s social media department. “He may not be a misogynist, but he turned out to be an irresponsible and selfish CEO incapable of remorse. Now we have to face the consequences.
Riot declined to comment. G2 Esports did not immediately respond to a request for comment.