Steven R. July 27, 2019
It isn’t just former players that are airing grievances with Ninjas in Pyjamas.
Following accusations of exploitative contracts and lost wages from a number of former Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players, a group of former staff members have opened up on their own ugly dealings with the organization. The individuals worked with the company at different times in various roles, but the accusations are explosive all the same. More importantly, their stories paint an ugly picture of the current NiP ownership group that has been trying to stay out of the spotlight.
The biggest name involved is Kevin Mikkelsen, who worked as Team Operations Manager for Ninjas in Pyjamas’ Overwatch and Dota 2 teams in 2017. According to a Twitter post by Mikkelsen, NiP CEO Hicham Chahine repeatedly lied to him and the teams about their contracts.
NiP controversy extends to former Dota 2 team
“It was a lot of planning and a lot of work in general. I was hired on and was promised a salary until September 2017. Every month, multiple times I had to ask for my contract, which I never got,” Mikkelsen said. “The DOTA Players also struggled on getting a contract from Hicham as he ignored their request. So they started writing to me to ask for help regarding their contracts.”
Mikkelsen describes performing months of work during that time without actually receiving the contract he was promised. When the Overwatch and Dota 2 teams were both released in the months that followed, Mikkelsen sought the money he was owed. Chahine responded by criticizing his work with the Dota 2 team and “vaguely implied” that the team’s lack of success was cause for his not being paid.
Key points of Mikkelsen’s story were echoed in separate statements by former community manager Benji Janssens and a graphic designer who worked with the team. Like him, they discussed being offered work with payments that either came up short of the organization’s promises or never actually materialized.
This adds on to what has already been a rough week for what has historically been one of esports’ most beloved brands.
On Tuesday, former CSGO player Robin "Fifflaren" Johansson discussed his time with NiP and alleged withheld earnings and exploitative practices by the organization. A number of other former players backed up his claims, which sparked renewed discussion on the company’s seedy history.
Fifflaren was kicked off the roster in 2014, years before the current NiP ownership group had full control of operations. After the interview, he suggested that the current boardroom was no better. Though he was not specific in his gripes with those currently running the company, these new stories help to paint a picture of continued turmoil.