T1 is under fire once again. This time, the controversy comes from their CEO, Joe Marsh, as it was revealed that he leaked information with regards to their ‘T1 Membership’ program, which is exclusive to those that pay roughly 70,000 KRW [~53.48 USD], within a fan Discord channel called ‘T1 Happy House’. The CEO not only shared some unreleased player photos, but also information on some of the players’ personal lives within a private Discord channel, consisting of a number of T1 employees and a handful of fans that were invited.
Shortly after such issues came to light, T1 released a statement apologizing for such actions. Furthermore, they’ve stated that all the employees have left the Discord channel in question, and promised exclusive content & events for those that paid for T1’s membership program.
Screenshots of the 'T1 Happy House'
However, the controversy did not end there, as it was also revealed via screenshots of the Discord channel in question that the CEO and a certain T1 employee not only shared private information with regards to the jungler for T1, Moon “Oner” Hyeon-jun, but the two individuals also made inappropriate remarks about him. According to the screenshots, the employee in question shared that Oner wants to do a “Calvin Klein style body profile photoshoot at the end of the season.”. Joe added, “Who is gonna spray the oil on him?” and added, “Oh, for the thirst trap.”
Furthermore, the leaked screenshots revealed that there were also racist comments made towards the Korean fans by those in the channel, yet the T1 employees disregarded such actions. One person commented, “Those trucks better be kimchis for DK”, referring to the protest trucks that a handful of T1 fans sent to LoL Park, with the word ‘kimchis’ being a racist remark towards Korean nationals. Yet, T1’s CEO and the employees failed to take any action towards such comments.
The Korean esports community was livid. Many were in consensus that Joe’s actions were way out of line, and there needs to be appropriate action to protect the players’ privacy. He was also criticized for the paradox of releasing personal information with regards to the players, as it was not long ago when T1 released a statement urging the fans that are waiting outside the players’ team house and HQ to respect their privacy.
On Aug 16, Joe Marsh released a Twitlonger on his personal Twitter account, apologizing to the fans for his actions. The statement was released in Korean, Mandarin, and in English; the following is his English statement.
Dear T1 fans,
I would like to apologize from the bottom of my heart to all the T1 fans for causing this confusing and disappointing turn of events. It is true that several of T1 employees including myself were involved in the Discord server that has been causing controversy. I acknowledge and would like to ask forgiveness for my wrongdoings as admitted below.
First, on the Discord server in point, I along with some T1 employees have disclosed sensitive information and posted pictures that were shared or known only internally. It was an inappropriate move to share such information and pictures externally, especially through an unofficial outlet. This incident is inexcusable and unfair to all our fans. It was an error in my judgment. I undermined the trust of the T1.fan membership by wrongly thinking that it was okay for me to post some of the photos since they were not going to be used.
Second, I have made inappropriate comments about ‘Oner’ on the Discord server. I am proud of the hard work he has put into working out, and I made a joke about spraying oil on him for a photoshoot and used the phrase ‘thirst trap.' My actions have caused unnecessary distraction to ‘Oner,’ who is busy with the ongoing season, and I gave my sincere apology to him directly. I consider the players to be another family for me, and I only wish them the best of the best now as well as in the future. And I will make sure nothing like this happens again.
Third, it has come to my attention that racist remarks were made on the Discord channel against T1's Korean fans, but neither I nor the other T1 employees that were on the server filed a complaint or took action. I would have done something right away if I had known about this at the time. However, it is not an excuse. I should have been more mindful because a similar incident has happened in the past on the official T1 Discord server. It was a clear mistake of mine not to realize what was going on. Furthermore, it was wrong for me to remain on the server. T1 does not tolerate any form of racism and will fight together against it - especially any racism towards T1 fans.
I have made the decision to take a six-month salary cut and not to speak out about any personal details about the team on any channels, following an internal discussion with the company. Additionally, the T1 employees that were on the server will be sent to the disciplinary committee.
Once again, I would like to sincerely apologize to the players and the fans for the recent events - especially since the team is busy preparing for the playoffs and working towards a spot in Worlds.
Striving for perfection to achieve excellence in esports