‘James Is An Ass’: Gabe Newell Explains Why Valve Fired Dota 2 Commentator

‘James Is An Ass’: Gabe Newell Explains Why Valve Fired Dota 2 Commentator

This week’s DOTA 2 Shanghai major has been a bit of a disaster. Streams dropping, cameras getting stuck, awkward or non-existent commentary, dead air — it’s been a comedy of errors. On the back of it all, Valve let go of one commentator, James Harding, to a storm of backlash.

Harding has a reputation for being pretty irreverent on air, making him something of a divisive figure. Some fans love him for the way he gives people shit, others think he goes too far. He was a DOTA 2 eSports mainstay up until 2015, but he didn’t appear at The International 2015 or the Frankfurt Major.

Shanghai was his comeback… until it wasn’t. He was let go by Valve after a day and a half of the tournament, which has seen some excellent play from teams involved amidst a backdrop of production woes. Oddly, there was no particular incident that prompted Valve to can Harding. Or at least, there wasn’t anything public that people could point to as an “oh shit” moment.

After a day of speculation and outcry, Gabe Newell personally took to Reddit to explain Valve’s point of view. He was, um, perhaps a little peeved:

Two things:

1) James. We’ve had issues with James at previous events. Some Valve people lobbied to bring him back for Shanghai, feeling that he deserved another chance. That was a mistake. James is an ass, and we won’t be working with him again.

2) As long as we’re firing people, we are also firing the production company that we’ve been working with on the Shanghai Major. They will be replaced, and we hope to get this turned around before the main event.

Damn.

It’s worth noting that Harding has stated that he’s preparing a statement (oh, English) about his side of the story, so we’ll see what he has to say. Regardless, it doesn’t sound like he’ll be hosting another DOTA 2 major again any time soon.

Comments

  • Oddly, there was no particular incident that prompted Valve to can Harding. Or at least, there wasn’t anything public that people could point to as an “oh shit” moment.

    He was using language such as C***, F*** as well as talking about masturbation, porn and mocking teams, players and the event itself while on stream.

    He may have been told to “be himself” but that doesn’t mean you have a licence to run rampant. Valve obviously didn’t want their game and tournament to be associated it.

    • This. If Esports wants to be taken seriously then its hosts should do the same and some professionalism applied. Can you imagine the outcry if Richie Benaud had of called someone a whiney faggot? Yet this douche has said far worse.

    • Good riddance. There’s a time and place for gaming language to engage your audience, naturally, but what he was saying was inappropriate in any sort of professional environment, let alone something that’s being broadcast to who knows what sort of viewers.

      • Seems like @Lesscot is rather fond of James. There are things called professionalism. As an event host, constant swearing, mocking teams and literally mocking the event that he is hired to host for is not only stupid, but makes you wonder how the hell did he become a host to begin with. Is his role model Jeremy Clarkson or something?

        • I had a chuckle when I saw the down vote hah. At first I thought maybe I had said something incorrect or not based on facts but yeah, perhaps the guy hit the wrong button or something lol. I was reading the subreddit after Harding released his statement and a lot of people seem to be confused between professionalism and sterile presentation (eg ESPN style casting), pretty much equating the two. It’s going to be an interesting couple of months towards TI this year that’s for sure.

  • As soon as i watched a game hosted by James Harding, his joke about Swedish genetics caused twitch users to make racial chants which went on for the longest time. Valve isn’t looking for casters who made inappropriate jokes every chance they get. And i hope valve doesn’t hire this caster again. Gaben did the right thing especially if dota is to be hosted on T.V in a professional manner.

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