Overwatch Pro-Gamers In Trouble For Relationships With Female Fans 

This week, reports out of South Korean have two players on esports team Lunatic-Hai at the centre of a scandal.

[Image: Team Liquid Wiki]

According to Inven (via tipster Sang), the whole thing began after a post appeared online, with the writer claiming she had dated a pro-gamer and mentioning Lunatic-Hai player Lee Tae Jun when asked to name names.

Lee reportedly denied anything of the sort, saying there is a line between him and his fans. Only later, after photos of him with female fans surfaced, did he confess. As Dot Esports points out, this has been seen as breaking trust between fans and the team.

Around that same time, it seems, female fans began uploading messages they'd received from Lunatic-Hai's Geum "dean" Dong-geun of him asking to meet up in person.

(Over on r/Competitiveoverwatch, Redditor TISrobin311 has more details about the whole controversy.)

Both Lee and Geum have issued apologies. Here is Lee's (via Sang):

Hello. This is Lee Tae Jun from Lunatic-Hai.

I am writing to you apologise for the incidents that are being discussed on several community websites.

I did contact couple of fans through social media during the past few months.

First of all, I would like to deeply apologise to the people that have exchanged messages with me. My adolecent actions have caused deep hurt, and I truly apologise for them.

I would also like to apologise to my fans who are hurt by my actions. I know my fans have genuinely cheered for me, so no words can describe how sorry I am. I am very sorry.

And I would also like to apologise to my teammates and staff. I am very sorry.

I've learned a lot from this incident. I am going to take time off to reflect and think deeply about this. I promise that this will never happen again and will be cautious with my actions. Once again, I am very sorry.

And Geum's (via Sang):

Hello. This is Geum Dong-geun from Lunatic-Hai.

I contacted my fans and asked them to meet privately and asked for photos. I confess that I did this many times before being caught.

It's an action that was not appropriate as a professional gamer and I am embarrassed and regretting this as I knew contacting fans through social media continuously does not look good for the staff and teammates.

I always thought that I shouldn't do this, and is not appropriate for my position. But I couldn't hold myself back and resulted in this.

I deeply regret contacting fans privately several times and sorry about my actions causing harm to the fans who love us and my teammates.

When I first got caught, I didn't think it was a big deal, but as I am writing this apology, I am realising how naive I was.

I am sorry to realise the wrong things I did while writing this apology. [Note: He is saying worry for realising his fault so late in the written apology.]

I also apologise to the people I caused harm to, such as the fans who believed in me and to the staff and also teammates for the harm I've caused.

Inven, tipster Sang adds, reports that one of the female fans Geum asked to meet was underage. Based on Geum's apology, however, it sounds like he tried asking female fans out and for photos, but never actually met them in person.

Both players have been benched by their teams as punishment. Both Lee and Geum are not allowed to play in the current Overwatch APEX Season 2, which began last month and ends this April. Moreover, neither player can participate in any team activities during the next two months.

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Comments

    Wait what? What's the actual problem? That they hooked up with some fans? It's their personal life, who cares?

      It's about the role power can play in relationships. Similar to teachers and students, or doctors and patients.

      The idea is that you have a position of authority over your fans which can be taken advantage, therefore a lot of teams in all sports have codes of conduct that try to draw a line here.

      I think the point here is these guys contacted their fans as fans, so to speak. They didn't meet them outside or casually, but they used their position to try to hook up.

      Complex moral ground here.

    I don't really understand what they're apologising for, can someone shed some light?

    I understand that dating (or intending to date) an underage person is wrong, and I think soliciting photos is creepy, and that lying about relationships is questionable at best. The Lee's apology, from my reading, is him apologising for dating fans? Or are we using "dating" as a PG way of saying "misleading in to a one night stand"?

    My first thought is to liken it to a rockstar sleeping with their fans. Is there a cultural element I'm missing?

    Also, heads up Brian, your first line reads; "...reports out of South Korean have.."

    Is it just me or is there a lot of FF7 stuff hiding in stories?

    Lunatic Hai (high)? That's a limit break *nerd sounds*

      HAHA YESSSS !!! I was going to say that too, just waiting for team Omnislash or Choas

      So without going to far into it, they can't date fans for what reason???
      I mean yeah if they are underage then of course, bench em, but dating between consenting adults is frowned on for what reason???

        This is going to turn into a HL3 thing....

        Pretty lame they can't fuck. Can't fuck consenting adults... Why?

        Does it pull focus from their gaming duties maybe? Forced abstinence for gamers? COME ON! We already get painted as basement dwelling goblins!

    I'm not seeing the controversy here that a player dates a fan... is it because she was a games journalist? Or maybe because some of the fans he was messaging were underage?

    Soccer, Football and Olympic Athletes date people who are fans of hem without this level of scrutiny?

      Was thinking the same thing, is it like the Japanese idols that arent allowed to date as it lowers there potential to have an obsessed fan base sort of thing?

        my korean is horrible but reading the what has been posted and what's on reddit it seems like a bit of culture difference (like how Japanese idols and dating is huge no) and a breakdown of trust between the pros and fans (Lee actively lied until hard evidence came to light)

        the punishment is being handed out by their team so i can totally see this as an act of appeasement to the fanbase

        The Japanese school idol one is a bit different. They are all of high school student age and one of the things that makes them popular is their perceived 'purity' and innocence. I.e. virgins who haven't dated anyone. Going against that kills their image and results are pretty extreme, like the one group that shaved all their heads as a public apology to their fan base for being seen coming out of a hotel with a guy.

      this is sending the wrong msg to kids that they should pick up a guitar or a football instead of a game controller. just makes me sad

        I think you must have visited the wrong website by accident, grandpa.

          Sorry, sometimes my sarcasm level gets too high and people think I'm serious

      Actually many sports teams have similar codes of conduct. As I mention above the idea (whether you agree or not) is to avoid a situation where a fan agrees to something because of the power relationship that exists between them and their idol.

      Theory goes that if the star asks the fan to do something stupid then they probably will, and then they will regret it later when they are, pressumably, not so enamoured with the star. Thus teams have the policy to avoid potential controversy.

      Sleeping with someone underage would be an example of how this power relationship can be abused, although I don't think that's specifically the circumstances here.

    I don't get it? The only reason I started gaming to begin with was to pick up girls.

    That's a lot of folded arms.

    Nerds finally get access to groupies and it isn't allowed. What a bummer.

    Both kissing and sex is banned in Korea. This team is merely enforcing the law on it's members and making sure that they don't get arrested.
    ;)

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