T1 doesn’t have a great relationship with its fans these days, and it doesn’t seem like that’s changing any time soon.
The organization stated on Twitter that it is taking legal action against fans that have been harassing members of the team. This continues what has been an ugly second half of the 2020 LCK Summer Split, marred by controversy surrounding the team’s mid lane situation.
Though T1 did not specifically discuss what was prompting the action, the announcement follows the team’s elimination from the 2020 LCK Summer Playoffs after a 2-1 loss from Afreeca Freecs. Afreeca Freecs was eliminated from the playoffs just a few days later, taking a 3-0 loss to Gen.G.
This resulted in harsh criticism from fans, who have taken to blasting the organization at every turn in recent months.
The criticism of T1 stems from the team’s handling of Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok. The star mid laner has been sharing time throughout the split with hot prospect Lee “Clozer” Ju-hyeon, something that hasn’t sat well with the many fans of Faker.
Though Clozer played well throughout the split, fans saw T1 benching Faker as disrespectful to the legendary player. This topic was exacerbated when T1 made a tongue-in-cheek post on Twitter that questioned Faker’s bona fides, something that was met with harsh criticism from fans.
The situation escalated from there as T1 fans began aggressively harassing the players and even making violent threats. This was met by T1 CEO Joe Marsh issuing a statement threatening legal action against anyone that threatened the safety or well-being of the team.
“We can no longer remain silent regarding the rise in online harassment and violent threats directed at our team. T1 does not tolerate harassment of any form between players, coaches, employees, League officials, or fans…recent incidents have threatened our team’s health and safety,” Marsh said.
The controversy is unusual, but T1 is an unusually popular team throughout the world. The side performed well in the 2020 LCK Summer Split despite fan discontent. T1 finished the split with a 13-5 record, good for fourth in the league. While T1 was knocked out of the playoffs by Afreeca Freecs, the team still has the chance to qualify for the 2020 League of Legends World Championship through the regional finals.