Riot Games recently announced the launch of an investigation into racist abuse within the Echo Fox Organization. Echo Fox is an eSports organization that has competed in Riot Games’ League Championship Series for the wildly popular League of Legends game. Echo Fox’s participation in future eSports is uncertain as many find the behavior of the organization’s limited partner irreprehensible.
A Dexerto report released earlier this month detailed the events that lead to Riot Games announcement. With hindsight 20-20, we now know that Echo Fox limited partner, Amit Raizada, was behind the events that lead to the organizational scrutiny. The details of this event were displayed on Echo Fox’s website after the Dextero report was released. Apparently, a limited partner of Echo Fox used, “a racial epithet towards individuals both verbally and via email,” towards Jace Hall, CEO of the Twin Galaxies eSports Organization. Although that incident was not directed towards an employee, officer, member or shareholder of Echo Fox, racial intolerance connected to Echo Fox is entirely unacceptable.” There were other reported incidents surrounding Raizada’s racist behavior towards Echo Fox founder and NBA superstar Rick Fox.
Raizada’s lawyers were quick to deny the allegations about the events surrounding Rick Fox, but noticeable absent from their initial response was any acknowledgment of the email Raizada had sent to Jace Hall. Raizada would shortly release the following statement according to Dextero:
“In a heated and contentious email exchange with Jace Hall several weeks ago, I lost my temper and used a racial epithet directed personally at him. I have apologized to Jace, and I would like to apologize to all. My language was wrong and there is no excuse for it. I have stepped down from all day-to-day decision-making with all entities in which Jace Hall and I were involved.”
With an admittance of the foul behavior established, the question becomes how an industry proactively attempting to promote diversity and inclusion will react. Corrective actions have already begun but it is unclear to what extent he will be professionally punished. Here is what the industry has done so far.
It was reported that Rick Fox, founder of Echo Fox will be selling his shares to the company as a result of the situation. That is if Fox and Echo Fox cannot oust Raizada from the ranks of their board before. But this seems likely for a company that is allegedly a proponent of diversity within its ownership group, leadership, management and gaming community. While marketing aspirations are nice, it is time to find out how Echo Fox exercises it’s principles in times of crisis. According to the Dextero report, that cites a source close to the situation, “since the story came out publicly the shareholders have made it clear that they are behind Rick… It’s a complicated financial situation and Raizada will be hard to get rid of but more than a few people want it now.”
Riot Games has also decided to take the matter into consideration in regard to their code of conduct for the League Championship Series for LoL. LoL Champion Series Commissioner Chris Greeley took to Twitter in late April stating, “The LCS believes in creating a fair and inclusive environment for everyone and the alleged comments are contrary to our values and have no place in our league.” With that tweet came an announcement that Riot Games would be opening up an investigation into the issue.
Upon the results of a preliminary investigation into the issue, Greeley repeated that, “hate speech, threats, and bigotry have no place in the LCS.” The message was accompanied by an announcement that Riot Games would be forcing Echo Fox to “take action by removing any individuals whose actions violate League rules and agreements” within 60 days. If the organization doesn’t remove them, “the League will take formal action that may adversely impact the future of Echo Fox in the LCS.”
To say this is a slap on this wrist would be an understatement as Echo Fox has real chips in the game. Echo Fox entered the League Championship Series in 2017 by buying their way in for $10 million. Echo Fox is involved with other esports but the LCS is without a doubt it’s largest venture, according to the website Polygon.