League of Legends Championship Series under fire for using TSM player abuse saga to hype up esports match
The segment made light of abuses faced by Doublelift and other TSM staff
The League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) has been in a tight spot since they aired a segment about 100 Thieves AD Carry “Doublelift” Peng and his long history with his former organisation TSM on Saturday (4 February).
Many players in the community said the segment was “unprofessional,” “missed the mark,” and quite “tone-deaf”.
Esports caster Gabriella “LeTigress” Devia-Allen, who delivered the segment in a monologue, received most of the backlash.
She has since issued an apology, although some fans called out the LCS for seemingly leaving the caster on her own after a long silence.
The official LCS Twitter account finally issued a statement on Wednesday (7 February), a full three days after the controversy, and apologised to the current and former TSM staff and players as well as the LoL community.
Statement from the #LCS pic.twitter.com/Rl0edfgeQL
— LCS (@LCSOfficial) February 7, 2023
“We hoped the piece would highlight a key narrative of the match (Doublelift’s first match against his old team after returning from retirement) in an engaging way for fans,” it read.
The statement went on to say that “the segment did not meet our own standards for content", and went on to apologise to TSM, Doublelift and the LoL community.
On top of the apology, the LCS also promised a “sharper filter” for these editorial pieces. They also emphasised that the broadcast was a “team effort” and it was “not the fault of one person.”
“Ultimately, we are the ones accountable for the content of our shows. As a valued member of the LCS team, LeTigress continues to have our full support, and we sincerely regret the negative impact our misstep has had on her.”
Why was the 100 Thieves vs TSM segment controversial?
Before the match between 100 Thieves and TSM on Saturday (4 February), LeTigress narrated Doublift’s history and accolades in the LCS and with TSM on the official LCS stream.
However, the monologue took a downturn after it highlighted the drama between Doublelift and the organisation, when he accused TSM CEO Andy "Reginald" Dinh of bullying and abusing TSM players in November 2021.
This also led to the player deciding to leave the organisation.
And after an investigation by Riot Games on the case against Reginald, the TSM CEO was ultimately fined US$75,000 and was put on a 2-year probation in 2022.
In the LCS segment, legal documents, accusations, and tweets from the time between Doublelift and TSM, specifically Reginald, were revived and highlighted.
Players and fans alike took to Reddit and Twitter to express their disappointment with how the broadcast was handled.
One of those who spoke up on the TSM subreddit was TSM senior team manager Austin “SmaK” Haggett.
“Anyone that knows me can tell you I’m a big advocate for our players across all games,” he said.
“This is the primary reason I was shocked and saddened by this segment”.
He added that the team and the players pour out their heart into every game and that “they did nothing to deserve to be disrespected like this right before one of their most important matches.”
TSM Head of Global Social “Dunc” also responded to the thread, saying that the conversation with Riot was “well underway”, and expressed his frustrations on Twitter.
The things I wanna tweet right now. Holy shit.
— TSM DUNC (@followdunc) February 4, 2023
Even former members like former TSM executive Leena Xu, and Doubelift himself, were unhappy with how it was handled.
Kind of weird for you to turn a traumatic experience that 25+ people went through into a “both sides” drama piece
— Leena Xu (@leena_xu) February 6, 2023
Xu said that the “traumatic experience that 25+ people went through” turned into a “both sides” drama piece.
Doublelift, on the other hand, expressed his thoughts in a stream, where he said he was reminded of “over-top theatricals but for entertainment and comedy.”
“This is not funny, this is not entertaining,” he said.
“I mean, it’s workplace harassment, it’s like legality is involved, there’s like actual lawsuits involved… this is like a deeply traumatic series of events that happened to a lot of people, not just me,” he said.
“Apologize to everyone who experienced verbal abuse and workplace harassment,” Doubelift also tweeted and called out LeTigress for allegedly still seeing herself as the victim.
LeTigress has apologised via a Twitlonger, saying the piece “was meant to tee up the history between [Doublelift] and his former team ahead of their first meeting back in the LCS.”
“Clearly, we missed the mark,” she added.
LCS commissioner Jackie Felling took the time to post on the LoL subreddit on the same day to assure that they were addressing the matter internally.
“We do feel like this was a miss and not in the direction we have been wanting to take LCS in terms of lifting up our teams and our new fun/entertaining approach,” Felling said in her statement before the LCS shared their apology three days later.
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.
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