Management at Riot Games who were responsible for the controversial deal between the League of Legends European Champions (LEC) and Saudi Arabia smart-city NEOM have been "reassured they did nothing wrong except maybe the communication process", according to a report by Richard Lewis for Dexerto. According to Lewis' sources, there has been no disciplinary action taken and "no jobs were under threat".
"So far nothing has changed," Lewis' sources said.
The partnership deal between LEC and Neom drew major backlash from the wide League of Legends community, including LCS and LEC talent, team staff, and community members. Infamous for its disregard of human rights and its cruel and unjust treatment of women and homosexuals, Saudi Arabia was seen as a very unsuitable partner to the LEC, to say the least, which itself has been a league that's actively promoted LGBTQ+ rights.
"This is disappointing because this is the LEC. It's my team, my product, my managers, my office," wrote LEC caster and analyst Indiana "Froskurinn" Black. "My family. My home. This isn't someone far away in HQ that I don't know. This is devastating because I know who made these choices and I feel silenced."
After the initial backlash from LEC on July 29, Rioters worldwide joined later the same day to denounce the deal. According to Inven Global sources, some Rioters were ready to walk, saying that "if this isn't reversed, it will be hard to continue working here".
These sentiments were later confirmed as a number of LEC talent, including Trevor "Quickshot" Henry, Eefje "Sjokz" Depoortere, and Froskurinn tweeted they "were prepared to refuse to work the show this weekend [July 31 - August 1] to demonstrate how strongly we felt on the topic".
Richard Lewis' report also confirmed further, that the LEC crew was blindsided by the deal, as Riot Games had timed the announcement to coincide with Berlin Pride Week, hoping to sneak it past the community's eye. Inven Global's own sources confirmed on the day of the announcement that “it sounds like there was a conscious effort not to tell people, but they just told people they had to tell right before it was announced".
The deal was eventually torn up the same day, just 14 hours after it was made public.
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