Fans concerned with EDG response to sexual harassment claims

Olivia R. September 12, 2020

Some League of Legends fans are not happy with how EDward Gaming is responding to sexual harassment allegations against an employee. 

A former EDG employee came forward with sexual harassment allegations against the organization's official photographer. According to the previous employee, EDG had attempted to pay her off to keep her from going public with the story. Eventually, they "forced her out of the organization." 

The "Fight Back" series editor recently wrote on Weibo that an EDG cameraman, Cai Mou, had repeatedly harassed her, leading to a "nine-month tug of war."

At work and in private, the camera operator would find ways to touch the former employee. She soon became fearful of losing her job if their relationship was further strained, leading her to remain silent about the ongoing harassment. 

In January 2020, she finally came forward and reported the unwelcome touching to EDG. Even though she hoped the company would get rid of the offender in response, they seemed to ignore her concerns. Her temporary solution was to simply avoid being around him, but the esports organization seemed to always find ways for them to be in close contact with each other. 

In the post, the former employee also noted that the organization had given her money as compensation, which she then sent back. They also reportedly told her to "seduce" Mou in order to catch him in the act. The employee also alleged that EDG started to give her tough deadlines and hefty workloads after she began to speak out. 

"I don't understand why there will always be so many unashamed perpetrators," the former EDG employee stated. "Nor do I understand why those who clearly have a wife and children, have sisters, can be accomplices of their own free will. I don't understand why the perpetrators can live a life at ease while the victims live under pressure and in the shadows." 

EDG responds to sexual harassment allegations

EDG put out a statement of their own when the former employee came forward with her story. In a Weibo post, the esports organization outlined the timeline of events from its perspective. 

According to EDG, the former employee couldn't provide evidence to "prove the occurrence of harassment" when she initially came forward on January 3. They told her to gather evidence in case a similar situation happened again in the future. 

The woman brought up the problem again in April. This time she also sent a short video. The organization felt that the video "did not directly show that the parties were sexually harassed." As a result, they were unable to determine if the cameraman had indeed harassed her again. 

EDward Gaming also accused the woman of being "passive and slow" at work. This resulted in postponed video projects. There was also three days in which the woman was "absent from work." This "seriously hindered" the team's video production and distribution plan, EDG claimed. 

On May 19, EDG alleges that the woman filed "unreasonable compensation claims" against them without supportive evidence. She reportedly threatened to leave the organization if they didn't pay. She ended up resigning on May 22. EDG also noted that the "hush fee" was actually a bonus for the video team's 2019 work. All of the team members received that bonus, EDG explained. 

"Regarding the parties’ so-called 'EDG condoning sexual harassment of employees' and 'club management omissions,' the information is false, and the company has repeatedly intervened to communicate. I would like to reiterate that the company has always had strict requirements for internal work. The employee manual and rules and regulations have been notified to all employees and accept everyone's supervision, but they will not tolerate discredit," EDG stated.

The organization noted once again that the woman never produced "clear evidence" of the sexual harassment and touching, without going into what exactly the organization would have accepted as evidence of the harassment.

EDG concluded that the organization was going to sue the woman for "false information and rumor information." It is currently "cooperating with the police" to investigate the incident. 

The response by EDG has concerned many fans. Community members generally felt that the organization was refusing to take responsibility or to hold anyone accountable for what happened to the former employee. For many fans, it seemed as though EDG didn't care at all about the former employee's experience with the organization. Others wondered why the video evidence provided was deemed insufficient. 

It's been reported that EDG is having posts related to the incident deleted off of Reddit. The "Fight Back" videos the former employee worked on are also "not available" on YouTube. 

This story comes after hundreds of other victims have come forward with their stories of sexual harassment, rape, and abuse within the esports, streaming, and gaming industries.