Professional eSports players in South Korea often enjoy rockstar-like levels of fame.
They are adored by hundreds of thousands of fans, are instantly recognizable, and earn incredible sums of money. However, that kind of fame also comes with a certain set of responsibilities.
Because of their status, the most famous of eSports players are expected to always behave in a professional manner. After all, they are considered as role models by the wider community. People look up to them not only due to their expertise in any given game but also due to their status as athletes, albeit in an online game.
Because of all that, it should not come as a surprise that Lunatic-Hai has decide to suspend two of its players due to unprofessional behaviors towards female fans. Geum ‘dean’ Dong-geun and Lee ‘Leetaejun’ Tae-jun were both suspended by their organization two days ago. Following that, dean decided to retire from the eSports scene entirely.
As an organization, Lunatic-Hai has to protect its carefully maintained image.
Though it would definitely protect its players against personal attacks if they were not at fault, it stands to reason that the organization would distance itself from any player they deemed immoral. Originally, both dean and Leetaejun were barred from participating in OGN’s Overwatch Apex Season 2.
Both players seemingly approached female fans via Twitter and Kakaotalk, who came forward with multiple screenshots of the shared texts and photos. Apparently, the players sent messages of a provocative nature and asked female fans to meet up with them.
Though it is doubtful that flirting by itself would have been considered unprofessional, some of the shared messages show that the fans were uncomfortable with the nature of the conversations.
Once this controversy became public, the Overwatch community in South Korea was seemingly outraged. Leetaejun attempted to hide his mistake by lying on his own stream and denying the accusations, going as far as to say that his high moral standards would never allow him to behave in such a manner.
Further than that, Leetaejun has often mentioned similar statements during his streams. For instance, he has repeatedly stated that he always deletes any photos he gets from fans and that he believes professionals who fraternize with fans are always in the wrong.
As for dean’s case, an official statement from Lunatic-Hai regarding his swift retirement states that he is willing to apologize directly to the fans and that, after consulting with the organization, has decided to retire from the scene.
Whether this controversy has been blown out of proportion or not is irrelevant right now as Lunatic-Hai will continue to participate in the tournament despite this setback. The team had already secured a roster of eight players and has already selected the substitutes for dean and Leetaejun.
Reserve players Lee ‘Whoru’ Seung Joon and Kim ‘zunba’ Joon Hyuk, both of which signed up with Lunatic-Hai in January, will now be a part of the main team. The team will certainly have to change its approach somewhat but the current meta suits both players well which means that Lunatic-Hai still has a good chance of making it through.
Of course, everything will be decided on February 3rd as Lunatic-Hai will face off against Luxury Watch Blue. All eyes are now on Kim ‘EscA’ In-jae and Gong ‘Miro’ Jun-hyuk who will most likely have to carry their team to victory.
Lunatic-Hai’s current roster follows:
- Kim ‘EscA’ In-jae
- Gong ‘Miro’ Jin-hyuk
- Ryu ‘Ryujehong’ Je-hong
- Yang ‘tobi’ Jin-mo
- Lee ‘WhoRU’ Seung Joon
- Kim ‘zunba’ Joon Hyuk