LEC ends partnership with Saudi Arabian city Neom after massive backlash

LEC ends partnership with Saudi Arabian city Neom after massive backlash

After garnering quite the backlash from within and outside the League of Legends eSports community, the LEC has officially pulled out from its partnership with Neom.

On July 28, Riot Games officially announced that the League of Legends European Championship, or the LEC, has named the Saudi Arabian City Neom as its main partner for the Summer Season.

Unfortunately, this did not sit well for everyone, most especially to those who worked in Riot Games. Many have expressed their sentiments about the bosses’ decision about the LEC-Neom partnership that led to the reversal of it two days later.

The issue with LEC partnership

Based on Polygon’s report, The city of Neom is said to be a “$500 billion futuristic mega-city” which is 33 times bigger the New York City.

The Saudi Arabian government of Neom has reportedly evicted 20,000 members of the Huwaitat tribe who were situated in Neom, to pave the way for its mega-city.

Accordingly, it appears that the same government has a “notorious” track of “poor human rights record,” most especially on women and on the LGBTQ community.

This alone triggered many icons working alongside LEC, as the organization is a home for diverse players, artists, and more. Ironically, the latest LEC logo is painted with the theme of the LGBTQ colors.

Famed LoL commentator, Indiana Black, who happens to be a member of the LGBTQ community, took it to Twitter to air out her frustration about the partnership and how this has somehow silenced her.

Many Riot Games employees, per the media outlet, have expressed that they do not support the said partnership. Mark Yetter, LoL’s gameplay creator also posted on Twitter that, “Sponsors are essential for the esport to thrive, but not at the cost of human life and freedoms.”

LEC reverts decision

Alberto Guerrero, Director of Esports, EMEA, released a follow-up announcement admittedly recognizing the mistake. By ending the partnership, it’s the organization’s way of correcting it.

Per Guerrero, “In an effort to expand our esports ecosystem, we moved too quickly to cement this partnership and caused rifts in the very community we seek to grow.”

“While we missed our own expectations in this instance, we’re committed to reexamining our internal structures to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” he further noted.

Many have commended the LEC’s action for listening to its community. Although, there are quite a few who still feel dejected on the issue happening in the first place.

Featured image courtesy of LEC/Twitter

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