Dallas Fuel Overwatch League Player Says Being Asian In The US Right Now Is ‘Terrifying’

Dallas Fuel Overwatch League Player Says Being Asian In The US Right Now Is ‘Terrifying’

Following a huge rise in hate crimes targeting Asian communities in the US, South Korean Overwatch League pro Lee ‘Fearless’ Eui-seok has spoken out about the racism he and his teammates have endured.

Lee, who plays main tank for Dallas Fuel, moved to Texas with the rest of his team a few months ago, and has experienced some pretty traumatic stuff since he arrived.

“Being Asian here is terrifying, seriously,” Lee said during a Twitch stream earlier this week, according to a translation by Florida Mayhem manager Jade Kim. “People keep trying to pick fights with us… It’s really serious. I think Koreans living overseas should be careful.”

“The racism here is no joke,” he said in the clip.

Lee also explained how strangers in the street will approach him, often without a mask, and “pretend to fucking cough” on him and his teammates.

“The racism here is unspeakable,” he said.  “People keep harassing us. It’s been happening basically every day. It’s my first time ever experiencing racism, it’s pretty severe.”

Lee, who is 22, also said that he’s begun regularly wearing his Dallas Fuel team uniform as it appears to alleviate the abuse he receives: “If I have my jersey on, I think they realise we’re part of some kind of team, so they don’t bother us as much. But if I have my everyday clothes on, they run up to us, harass us then run away.”

Sadly, Lee explained that the racial abuse is relentless, and is happening on a daily basis for him and his teammates in Texas.

“People keep harassing us. It’s been happening basically every day,” he said. “And it’s always pretty severe.”

Following his speech, Dallas Fuel owner Mike Rufail took to social media to express his deep sadness.

“This is a great city in a proud state. This isn’t something we should be proud of at all and should all pitch in to change it,” he wrote on Twitter.

Dallas Fuel assistant manager Helen “Dear” Jang also commented on the ordeal, condeming the racist behaviour and pointing out that Rufail has offered to accompany players in public if needed.

“He has emphasized that the players’ safety is our top priority since day 1. This org truly cares about the players,” she wrote.

“We cannot control how others behave, but there will be a solution to ensure that the players are protected. I just hope that this incident brings meaningful and positive changes to the community.”

Activision Blizzard, which operates the Overwatch League, responded in a statement late Tuesday. “At Activision Blizzard, we condemn racism in the strongest possible terms,” the statement read. “We stand with the Asian community, our employees, and our players and are working across our organization, including esports, to do our part to combat hate and ignorance.”

Kotaku has reached out to Blizzard and Dallas Fuel for comment.


    • America in 2020/2021. Dallas didn’t seem to be like that when I lived there back in 2010. Workplaces prided themselves on diversity, and it was basically where a lot of the Silicon Valley companies had moved out to at that time (they’ve got to love ‘right to work’ states, which really means ‘right to fire’). Outer suburbs like Galveston might have been bad enough to get a mention in Zombieland due to the general threat of violence, but Dallas itself?

      Its really a nation tearing itself apart with hate.

      • It’s not that the hate wasn’t there, it’s that it was directed elsewhere. The 00s to 10s and a bit beyond saw anyone openly Muslim, or just brown or ‘swarthy’ enough, getting accused of being rag-head terrorists. It spawned an entire institution of normalized racism by way of ‘random’ searches in airports and stop-and-searches for pedestrians. Citizens felt bold enough then to engage in the kind of harassment that is now being directed towards anyone who looks Asian.

        Before 9/11 that same harassment was normalized for anyone who dared to display homosexual affection in public, or dared to be black in the wrong places (like the rural South/mid-west). If you went rural enough, the same was true for anyone who seemed or admitted to being Jewish.

        This is America. The flavour of the month might change every decade or two, but the hate and harassment of out-groups has always been there.

  • Normally I’d have some doubts about stories like these, but I’ve heard and seen so much shit from Asian friends over in America (especially the ones in minimum wage jobs) that I can easily believe people would be that disgusting. That country is beyond saving.

  • Sadly, it isn’t just the US. A friend of mine who’s Malaysian Chinese has been on the receiving end of more random abuse than usual here in Australia recently.

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