Former Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO) professional Chris "ChrisJ" de Jong created controversy today with his complaints about PGL’s vaccination rules for the upcoming CSGO Major. ChrisJ’s initial complaint appeared to be that the organizers are requiring all attendees to be vaccinated. When challenged on his views, the Dutchman then resorted to Holocaust comparisons, using a meme from Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds".
The initial tweet, critical of PGL’s position, drew mainly negative feedback, before ChrisJ decided to double down on and compare PGL’s "discrimination" against unvaccinated people to how Jewish people were treated in Nazi Germany. To clarify, PGL are not in fact discriminating, as vaccination status is a personal choice — unlike ethnicity or race — making it the unvaccinated player’s choice to not attend the event if they choose not to protect themselves and others.
ChrisJ is currently listed as a board member of the Counter-Strike Professional Players Association, a group ostensibly set up as a union to represent professional players, which has come under significant fire since its inception. His membership of the board was technically for 2021, meaning he may not be a part of that group in 2022, but the CSPPA are yet to announce any changes to the board, and still feature ChrisJ heavily on their site.
The ex-Mousesports player did attempt to clarify his position again, by stating that the "Holocaust was worse", but his position led to significant condemnation from the esports community. Unsurprisingly to anyone who has dealt with the anti vaxx movement online, this is not the first example of ChrisJ taking a controversial position on the topic, to his reputational detriment.
ChrisJ and his history of antivaxx rhetoric
As recently as two days ago, ChrisJ was tweeting his support for protests against vaccination mandates, praising public diners in Italy for resisting measures brought in to curb COVID in that country. Italy is currently eighth worldwide for the highest number of recorded cases to date, with 150K deaths to date and over 11M cases recorded, despite being 23rd worldwide in terms of population size.
He has also tweeted his support for Joe Rogan in the last few days, after the podcast host came under fire for spreading misinformation about COVID on his Spotify show. His timeline is in fact awash with "anti-vaxx/mandate" information, with his statements on vaccination beginning back in 2021, when he was questioning why he should be vaccinated as a ‘healthy person’ and questioning expert advice in his home nation of the Netherlands.
ChrisJ is far from the only esports pro to have taken this sort of position, but his place within the professional players union does make this more noteworthy, especially when you consider his public statements began in the middle of 2021 and have continued for over six months. In terms of the PGL Major itself, his stance is unlikely to have any impact on the matches, with the player having been inactive since his release from Mousesports in 2021.