“It’s now the day after Week 7 of the LCS. I’m joined by Doublelift for act two of a Doublelift interview. You reached out to me last night and requested a reshoot of this and maybe we can provide context on why.”
That was Hotline League host Travis Gafford’s first statement on his March 11 interview with Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, an interview that would soon cause a heated debate between well-known journalists in the esports scene.
According to Doublelift, Team Liquid had not asked him to redo the video, but rather he wanted to because he felt the “tone” was wrong.
“The community was owning my coaches and management so hard. I didn’t realize how badly they were being blamed by the community. It just seemed really wrong and didn’t come across the way that I wanted to,” Doublelift said in the second interview.
Even though clips from the original video have since been deleted, Reddit users have pieced together some of the comments Doublelift made that he soon regretted.
This included judging the Team Liquid coaching staff for keeping Edward “Tactical” Wa subbed after they performed well, as well as benching Doublelift without a warning. In the second half of the first video, Doublelift had also said his team was doing “nothing” during his return game. Doublelift had been benched due to a lack of motivation.
On a subsequent Reddit thread on the matter, Doublelift weighed in on the situation with a more level head.
“just coming in here to say the only thing I wanted to say was I wish I got more warning I might be benched,” Doublelift explained. “The coaches and I have a good relationship. I didn’t mean to come off as blaming them for anything. Our team is fine and I’m sure whatever problems we have we can work through, it’s not their fault I didnt have my head in the game.”
After learning that Gafford had allowed Doublelift a reshoot, many in the League of Legends community were not happy with how he handled it. People made it very clear on Twitter that they would have prefered he keept the original interview uploaded.
“I get the desire to see something a little more ‘spicy,’ but also humans are complex. What Doublelift thinks after a bad loss in his first game back may actually not be what Doublelift thinks most of the time,” Gafford tweeted back to one follower.
When ESPN’s esports writer Jacob Wolf caught wind of the deleted interview, he was not in favor of Gafford’s decision.
“It’s okay. I look forward to you taking a vacation paid for by Liquid so you can get unmatched access. Tell me more about ethics,” Wolf tweeted at the fellow journalist.
This didn’t sit well with Gafford, who decided to tweet back something he apparently soon regretted. It was deleted soon after.
“Jacob, I apologize for the comment about ESPN,” Gafford tweeted in its place. “That was unfair of me to do and I did it in a thread where I felt defensive. I also think it’s unfair of you to imply something that isn’t true. People come to you because they know your reporting is accurate.”
Wolf tweeted back that he “appreciated the apology” but was still not satisfied with the situation. He said that it’s possible to be critical while still covering difficult moments in a ethical way.
“I have really good relationships with many of the important figures in our space while simultaneously doing my job. It just takes explaining and respect,” Wolf said.
At this time, the first interview still remains deleted.