Overwatch Esports Pro Shares Stories of ‘Terrifying’ Anti-Asian Racism | IGN

A professional Overwatch player shared their experiences with anti-Asian racism on a Twitch stream earlier this week, describing living in America as an Asian person right now as “terrifying.”

Eui-Sok Lee, also known as Fearless, is currently a pro signed with the Dallas Fuel Overwatch League team. Although he is from South Korea, Lee is currently residing in Dallas, Texas at the Fuel’s training center.

Professional esports players like Lee occasionally hosts streams on Twitch, which is where Lee shared with his audience his experience in the United States during the pandemic. During the stream, Lee talked about what it’s like living in Texas during this time. The state recently eased Covid restrictions, opening up the city while simultaneously rolling back mask mandates.

“It’s pretty scary; people don’t even wear masks around here so it worries me,” Lee says during his stream.

This segued to Lee talking about his encounters with racism while in Texas. “Being Asian here is terrifying,” Lee says who described incidents where people would come up to him, remove their masks, and cough on him

Lee says he sometimes wears his team jersey when he goes out as a form of a deterrent from harassment. “If I have my jersey on I think they realize 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.”

There has been an increase in attention to anti-Asian racism, especially in the past year where rhetoric around the Covid-19 pandemic such as when former president Donald Trump referred to it as the “Chinese Virus.”

“They call us Chinese, then harass us. The racism here is unspeakable,” Lee says at one point during his stream.

Incidents of anti-Asian racism have escalated in the United States ranging from attacks on the elderly to a shooting in Georgia that killed 8 people, six of whom were women of Asian descent.

Team Envy CEO Mike Rufail took to his personal Twitter account to decry the harassment his players faced while in Dallas. “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,” Rufail writes.

Rufail says measures are being taken to ensure the players’ safety when they go out, but no specific details were provided during Rufail’s video.

In a statement to IGN, an Activision Blizzard spokesperson also denounced the harassment. “At Activision Blizzard, we condemn racism in the strongest possible terms. 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.”

[poilib element=”accentDivider”]

Matt T.M. Kim is IGN’s News Editor.

Photo by Robert Paul via Blizzard Entertainment
Read More

Leave a Reply