Written by Toralar | Edited by Denayed
A few weeks ago, G2 Esports came under fire when CEO Carlos “ocelote” Rodriguez tweeted a video of him partying with infamous misogynist and grifter Andrew Tate. Upon seeing the swift backlash, Rodriguez doubled down with a second tweet: “Nobody will ever be able to police my friendships.”
This sparked even more negative feedback from folks in the esports sphere; at the same time, many people jumped to defend Rodriguez and Tate. Shortly after, G2 announced that Rodriguez would be suspended without pay for eight weeks. Meanwhile, the CEO continued to like tweets defending his decisions and Tate.
Unfortunately for Rodriguez, this was the wrong move. On September 23, Rodriguez posted a farewell video on his own account. This was followed by an official statement on the G2 Twitter announcing that he was going to be stepping down as CEO.
While many people tried to paint the backlash as disproportionate and “cancel culture,” it is actually a perfectly reasonable response for someone that chooses to associate with Andrew Tate.
Among other things, Tate has said that if a woman accused him of cheating he would grab her by the neck and hurt her with a machete, believes women bear some responsibility for being raped, tweeted homophobic and racist posts, got kicked off Big Brother for hitting a woman with a belt, and is currently under investigation in Romania for alleged human trafficking and rape.
He also runs Hustler’s University: a network of Discord servers designed to scam disillusioned young men out of their money by promising to teach them how to achieve success, become rich, and get women. For just £39 a month, they can learn how to become a bigot who treats women as property and perpetuates the worst stereotypes of toxic masculinity.
That’s just a small look into the mountain of abuse, misogyny, grifting, and crime that surrounds Tate’s life. With that in mind, the cries of cancel culture seem ridiculous, and any defense of Tate paints the defender, at best, in a very questionable light.
Of course, this isn’t the first misogyny-related controversy in the esports scene. Gaming culture in general has a long and well-deserved reputation for being unfriendly to women, and professional gaming is no different.
One notable instance was the cheating accusation against pro Overwatch player Se-yeon “Geguri” Kim in 2016. The 17-year-old was becoming famous for her mastery of Zarya when two male pro players accused her of using aim assist, claiming that she was too good for a girl. After controlled tests at the Blizzard Korea offices, the allegations were proven false.
The members of Cloud9’s all-women Valorant team C9 White have faced plenty of discrimination and harassment as well. After winning a major $50,000 tournament as an unsigned team, several organizations sent them insulting recruitment offers—some as low as $500 a month. Ultimately, the team signed with C9 because they felt that they had the best chance of being treated as professionals and equals there. Additionally, while they say that reactions have often been positive, they still deal with harassment simply for being women who play Valorant at a professional level.
There’s also the sexual harassment and assault scandals surrounding Riot Games itself. A class-action lawsuit was filed in 2018, alleging multiple instances of sexual harassment and assault against women, as well as discrimination based on gender. The behavior went as high as the executive board, with COO Scott Gelb being placed on unpaid leave for allegedly harassing and groping employees. In 2021, CEO Nicolo Laurent was accused by his former executive assistant Shannon O’Donnell of sexually harassing her and firing her after she refused to have sex with him.
Given this history of misogyny in esports, it’s honestly surprising that there was significant pushback at all when Rodriguez doubled down on befriending Tate. Not only was there outrage from fans, esports org members, and smaller public figures, but well-known casters like Aaron “Medic” Chamberlain and Indiana “Froskurinn” Black spoke out against it too.
This could signal a move in the right direction when it comes to misogyny in gaming, and it’s definitely encouraging to see such a strong response to bigotry coming out of a community that is known for being rife with sexism. Of course, that doesn’t mean everything is all sunshine and rainbows—there’s still a long way to go here.
Cancel culture is often decried as an unjust witch hunt against people who are innocent, or who are simply doing something deemed bad by the “woke internet mob” or “woke liberals.” If you ask me, though, if cancel culture means shutting down people who think that Andrew Tate is a good role model and a great guy to party with, then cancel away.