The Fortnite World Cup was one of the biggest esports events in history. It had over 2.3 million viewers and the largest prize pool in the entirety of the industry.
But not every participant received their chunk of the event’s promised earnings.
Chinese esports organization Newbee has been accused of stealing over $100,000 of prize money from the two players the organization had compete at the Fortnite World Cup in 2019. The money includes the $50,000 both players received for qualifying, as well as additional prizes they earned during the tournament and in events that followed.
Newbee isn’t the only esports organization to be accused of withholding prize money and wages from their players.
Fortnite coach Rhidax decided to discuss the situation on Twitter on July 21. He stated that the organization has been accused of “trapping their players in contracts” and “stealing all Fortnite prize money since the World Cup.”
“Please please read through all your contracts so you’re not stuck in a situation as bad as this. They are now a bunch of young helpless teens,” Rhidax urged, noting that this is probably why the duo, XXM and xMende, quit competitive Fortnite soon after the major event.
This also explains the whole “why did 2 World Cup qualifiers quit the game immediately” situation, I wouldn’t play if I just had 50k stolen from me.
Reminder, these are literal TEENAGERS. pic.twitter.com/1GKuEx3eQQ
— Rhidax (@rhidax_) July 21, 2020
Rhidax then shared screenshots of conversations he had with various sources about the situation. One person even said that XXM and xMende had their money “swallowed by the organization” and probably wouldn’t even be able to get it back with a lawsuit.
Newbee has yet to speak out on the topic and the accusations remain unproven.
Newbee is an organization that’s most well known for their success in Dota 2. They won The International in 2014.
More recently, the organization was banned indefinitely from ImbaTV and CDA events after they found themselves under investigation for match-fixing. Their Dota 2 team disbanded soon after.
It’s been rumored that Newbee has been having money problems since 2018. In October of that year, an investor at Vici Gaming, Cheng Qing, noted that Newbee owner Yue Wang was not answering his WeChat messages. Soon after, Invictus Gaming’s owner reached out Qing to share that Wang owed him money as well. He also wrote on WeChat that Wang allegedly owes money to a lot of other people, including members of organized crime in China.
“Even if he promises you that he will give back the money tomorrow, he still won’t pay. He doesn’t have any money right now, and other creditors are looking for him, and trust me, they have priority,” Invictus Gaming’s owner Sicong Wang told Qing.
Around the same time, Wang was being accused of not paying employees’ salaries either on time or at all.