Chess streamers for Team Envy Alexandra Botez and her sister Andrea Botez took to Twitch on Tuesday to apologize for some controversial statements that they made during a live stream on Monday, which appeared to defend Dubai's use of slavery. According to Alexandra, she doesn't support slavery and the comment in question was a half-baked, unrelated thought that has been taken out of context.
"Before we get started with stream, I wanted to address some of the comments on lsf that were defending or supporting slavery," Alex stated. "Nothing justifies human rights violations, nothing. We obviously don't support slavery of any kind, for any reason, anywhere. We have said this throughout our streams at the World Chess Championship, but this isn't the part that got clipped."
She continued, "Last time we streamed I made a dumb off-hand comment, that couldn't be further from what I actually think. It was a moment of poor articulation of a half-baked, unrelated thought and out of context I see how that could be interpreted to mean a variety of different things. I am really sorry for that."
She also clarified that she is not being paid by the government of Dubai to be there, and said that they have previously stated that their presence in the UAE doesn't mean they endorse local politics. According to Alexandra, they will be able to address the human rights issues more safely when they return from the trip.
The apology follows significant backlash toward her comments on Monday, in which Alexandra appeared to argue that the use of slavery is justified in the UAE since the US was also built on slavery. Botez did not finish that thought, after realizing she is on a sponsored stream, leaving a lot of her statement open to interpretation, as she stated in her apology. This resulted in a huge backlash online.
The World Chess Federation itself has been criticized for hosting events in places like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, both countries that are under heavy scrutiny for their alleged human rights abuses. This leaves players and chess influencers like the Botez's in a difficult situation, where they face backlash for attending an official tournament and find themselves having to defend their positions on the human rights abuses of their host country, despite having very little control over those decisions.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.