Valve breaks silence on Dota 2’s recent racism issue, expects teams to hold players responsible

Dota 2 publisher Valve Corporation has broken its silence on the recent cases of racist and derogatory remarks coming from all over the community, saying that such actions will not be condoned and that teams should hold their players responsible.

“The language used by multiple players over the last week has caused many of our fans a lot of pain and is not behavior that we condone,” Valve said in a statement.

The fiasco started back in November 2 when Filipino player Andrei “skem” Ong used racist language against his team’s Chinese opponents, Royal Never Give Up, during the DreamLeague Season 10 tournament.

The incident has divided the Dota 2 community, with some condemning Skem’s actions and how it harms the integrity of the scene, while others have defended him and even followed his example through continued use of racist language.

“We think it is really damaging to the entire Dota community whenever even a single professional player uses discriminatory language. It pits fans against each other, belittles and demeans entire groups and makes them feel like they are not as important,” added Valve.

Skem has since been chastised by most of the community, especially the Chinese scene. While his team, compLexity Gaming, has since dealt his punishment internally, there have also been talks that Skem may be booted off the team for his actions.

In line with this, Valve continued that they “expect all teams who participate in our tournaments to hold its players accountable, and be prepared to follow up with strong punishments when players represent Dota and its community poorly.”

Valve has mostly been hands-off when it came to the affairs of the Dota 2 community, reasoning that the players, teams, organizers, and fans could always deal with matters by themselves. However, it seems that the recent spats of racism was too much for them to leave to the community’s hands.

“We’ve always had an approach of letting the players be themselves, and to express themselves freely. That’s how it’s always been for a long time. However, we also expect pro players to understand that they represent the Dota community regardless of where they are,” said Valve.

The incident has been looming over the ongoing Kuala Lumpur Major tournament, where teams from all around the world are competing for a $1 million dollar prize pool and 15,000 Dota Pro Circuit points. Tensions have been running high, especially between the Chinese and Westerns teams.

Valve continued in their statement that they “hope that players and the community around the world will become better educated and more respectful as a result of the recent incidents.”

“Words carry a lot of meaning. Some people may not agree or understand why certain words are harmful, but it doesn’t make it any less so to those on the receiving end,” they added.