Last week, Chinese esports organization Edward Gaming (EDG) suffered backlash after sexual harassment allegations by a former female employee came to light on Chinese social media platform Weibo. The company’s response to the claims fueled the backlash even further and attracted widespread discussions on women’s rights and organization management issues in the community.
EDG is one of the biggest organizations in China’s esports industry. The organization competes in League of Legends Pro League (LPL), Honor of Kings’ King Pro League (KPL), CrossFire, and PUBG.
The victim’s name was not released to the public, so we will refer to her as Ms. X in this article. The company only released the last name of the employee who is the target of the allegations, “Mr. Cai,” and the supervisor X says she reported the behavior to, referred to as “Mr. Chen.”.
On Sept.12, X posted an article on Weibo, alleging EDG failed its duty to protect its employees from sexual harassment, and forced her to resign. She wrote that Cai sexually harassed her over a one-year period, and that she reported his behavior to EDG for nine months. Both X and Cai were official employees of EDG during the period, Cai was in charge of shooting and filming, and X was in charge of producing and editing.
In X’s article, she says she reported Cai’s behavior to Chen, the operations manager of EDG on Jan. 3. However, she says, Chen said the company needed more evidence and even asked her to “seduce Cai” to get solid proof.
“Without solid proof of Cai’s behavior, EDG would pay more compensation for directly firing him,” X stated in her article.
On April 3, Mr. He, content director of EDG, arranged Cai’s working station next to X. X asked Chen for the reason why the company ignored her report and wanted to get more feedback from EDG. Meanwhile, at 3 p.m. the same day, X claimed that Cai inappropriately touched her during work, and the behavior was recorded by the camera control.
X posted the video on Weibo.
Video Link: 实锤1：以下视频是文章中提到的，4月3日的… 来自威武路C位出道- 微博
In this 18-second video, It appears that Cai tried to reach his hand behind X’s body during work, and X tried to avoid physical contact.
“I feel extremely humiliated and mentally harmed, and there were almost 10 colleagues next to him,” X stated in her article. She later showed this video to her supervisor. However, the company still didn’t do anything, according to X.
“Now, Cai has left EDG but [is] still working in League of Legends Pro League,” X concluded in her article.
EDG later posted a statement on Weibo claiming that X was spreading rumors, and denied the allegations that “EDG condones sexual harassment in work,” as well as “EDG shows low supports in this case.” Meanwhile, the company didn’t think the video on April 3 was solid enough to prove sexual harassment, but will cooperate with the local police office.
“After receiving X’s report, she can not prove any solid pieces of evidence. Even though she insisted on demanding EDG fire Cai, and threatened the company for unreasonable compensation,” EDG stated, “EDG will retain its right to investigate X for legal responsibility.”
In EDG’s statement, the company also hinted that X and Cai had a close relationship in January 2019, and X showed a lack of efficiency at work.
After EDG posted its first statement on social media and X posted the video, the company’s stance received massive criticism from the community. Jin “Abu” Xing, EDG’s League of Legends team manager, called the incident “nonsense,” during a public live stream.
However, the story started to gain more attention after prominent esports organizations and Chinese gaming outlets supported X on Weibo and WeChat, forcing the company to change its position. On Sept.13, Edward Zhu, founder of EDG, issued a statement on Weibo, acknowledging a lack of careful consideration and efficiency from EDG in this case, and apologized to X, saying, “EDG will deeply investigate the case-related department, and offer support and care to X.”
On Sept.14, EDG’s official Weibo account deleted the Sept.12 statement and released a new statement that the company has reached an agreement with X.
In the new statement, EDG said that it would cooperate with local law enforcement, and do its best to protect X’s legal rights. It also promised to start a “deep internal investigation” of its own, and offer counseling to X.
The Esports Observer has reached out to EDG and will update this article if we receive a response.
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