Riot Games has officially launched an independent investigation into Team SoloMid’s (TSM) CEO and owner, Andy Dinh, over alleged verbal abuse and bullying.
In an email to Wired, Riot Games – the video game developer, which operates the “League of Legends” Championship Series where TSM competes – stated that it was aware of the allegations against Dinh. Riot Games also said it hired the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers LLP to “conduct an independent investigation into claims of misconduct made against the leader of this team, in accordance with standard league process.”
According to the allegations, Dinh has mocked employees and yelled at both players and employees for “minor mistakes.” He was also known for verbally abusing employees by calling them “stupid” or “worthless,” two sources told the publication.
Another employee claimed Dinh has “yelled at employees in front of assembled colleagues as part of an ‘exhibition.’”
“A normal boss who thought you were doing a bad job would give you feedback. [At TSM], it was like, ‘This is trash’ or ‘You’re awful,’” a current TSM employee said.
Some employees claimed Dinh’s way of handling his business has “contributed to attrition and stunted careers.” Others said they “were held back or held themselves back from pursuing promotions” for fear of working closely with the CEO.
“It’s hard to really see a long-term future at TSM, because that’s what you have to look forward to,” one employee said. “Long-term employees understand that eventually there will come a time when Andy wants to fire them and it’ll be about something really small.”
TSM has also reportedly tapped outside legal counsel to investigate the allegations against Dinh, a spokesperson for the company said.
“After our independent investigation had already begun, Riot contacted us and requested our cooperation in their own independent investigation regarding the complaints related to League of Legends players,” the company said in a statement. “Andy and TSM leadership have been in touch with Riot and we are fully cooperating with them as well.”
The investigation of the two organizations reportedly started right after “League of Legends” player and former TSM streamer Yiliang “Peter” Peng, also known in the online gaming community as Doublelift, publicly called out Dinh during a Twitch livestream in November 2021.
“He’s like a bully who gets away with being a bad person because he’s powerful, because people are afraid to stand up to him,” Peng said. “I’m sick of someone who’s basically just a bully getting away with it because it’s in everyone’s best interest to not get in his way.”
In a tweet that same month, Peng claimed that Dinh “harassed and abused people at TSM,” adding that “so many people experienced public humiliation, mental breakdowns, crying at work, and still people will play it off in whatever way they can. People in power can get away with anything it seems.”
I’m not talking about hand-waveable things like being a dick or being rude, so many people experienced public humiliation, mental breakdowns, crying at work, and still people will play it off in whatever way they can. People in power can get away with anything it seems
— Yiliang Peng (@Doublelift1) November 12, 2021
Dinh has allegedly targeted other “League of Legends” professional players as well. Twitch streamer Marcus “Dyrus” Hill, for example, claimed that the TSM CEO once called him a “little b*tch” and a “f*cking brat.”
Speaking about the issue, Dinh told Wired in an email that he has “zero tolerance for underperformance” while describing himself as an “intense, passionate, driven, and relentless” person always “in the pursuit of winning.”
“I set an extremely high bar, and when I feel that someone is not delivering, I directly and bluntly share that feedback,” he added. Dinh admitted, however, that upon reflection, his “vocabulary was at times too harsh and ineffective.” “I support and am fully cooperating with the independent investigations that are already underway and will gladly embrace any recommendations from the investigators,” he said.
TSM, officially known as Team SoloMid FTX (TSM FTX), is an esports organization based in Southern California with 51 full-time employees. The organization manages esports teams and streamers who play titles such as “League of Legends,” “Apex Legends,” “Fortnite” and “Valorant,” among others.
Forbes named TSM as the most valuable esports company in 2020 with an estimated value of $410 million, beating other well-known companies such as Cloud9, Team Liquid, FaZe Clan and G2 Esports.
Featured Image via Logitech G