Denial Esports closing after CEO blasts his own players

Steven Rondina • June 1, 15:00

Embattled organization Denial Esports is dead. Again.

After reports began circulating that Denial was set to close its doors, the news was confirmed by former Denial CEO Zachary Smith. He didn’t stop there, though. Smith delivered a lengthy rant on Twitter, blasting a number of Denial’s players and taking shots at other individuals in the industry.

“We started off trying to do something great with a tainted name and a lot ahead of us,” Smith said. “As we started fixing past mistakes we started creating new ones…I’m not sad that Denial is closing I’m actually happy to see so it fold. It showed me the true colors of a lot of people I called friends.”

The shots weren’t all thinly veiled, and weren’t just directed at team ownership. He went on to state that Call of Duty player Ryan “ZeeK” Lapierre has an “extremely low IQ,” accused PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds player Gavin “DefineLegit” Lawrence of “[getting] in trouble overseas for buying hookers and blow,” and accused defunct COD organization Overtime eSport of committing “international trade fraud.”

In a humorous and baffling end to the organization, he ends the declaration of Denial’s closure with “thank you to everyone and as always…go fuck yourself.”

What Happened to Denial Esports?


Denial Esports first formed in 2013. The organization expanded across multiple titles including Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends, rising to prominence in 2015 when it won that year’s Call of Duty Championship.

Not long after, Denial started popping up in headlines for less desirable reasons.

Denial’s Halo team alleged that the organization had stopped paying salaries to players, with the organization’s staff claiming the same not long after. More and more individuals stated Denial owed them money and by 2018 the organization closed its doors with numerous outstanding debts still standing.

The organization reappeared in January under new ownership, who took an aggressive approach to rebuilding Denial’s good name. The new leadership quickly spread the company across multiple games again, all while paying back many of the players wronged by the previous organizational heads.

Things began to unravel earlier this month as Denial’s new Call of Duty team stated they were owed nearly $100,000 in salary. Others also stepped forward and last week former Denial players began discussing how the payments they had received from the organization began being charged back. This resulted in a tidal wave of bad publicity for the organization, which led to Smith stepping down from his position and Denial closing shop once again.

Smith stated that the organization is currently in the process of releasing its players and paying off their remaining salaries. Whether or not those checks will clear is anyone’s guess.


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