I’m writing again for two reasons. The first is that I’ve gotten responses from all three of the above companies since Monday and would like to share them for people who are interested — as well as to respond clearly to them.
The second reason is that I would like to stress something that I didn’t focus enough on in my original article. The treatment I’ve received from these companies is not exceptional. I am not unique in being exploited in this space. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people who are going through and have gone through similar things. I’m personally aware of over a dozen people with stories to tell.
But nobody is telling their stories. Even the general statement that was released regarding unpaid dues from GESC notably did not mention individual names! Some people questioned why it was Cyborgmatt who shared that statement — I can’t say for sure as I wasn’t part of it, but I’d expect that the reason is simply that he was the one willing to do it.
If anything, my article has acted as something of a reminder to me about how afraid people generally are to share these kinds of experiences. I’ve had plenty of people message me private support, while making it clear they will not be doing so publicly. This applies to both fellow victims of abuse, and just friends and colleagues of mine in the industry who are afraid to compromise their potential future employment relationships.
I want to stress this now for the simple purpose of reminding everyone who is reading that the way you receive and react to this kind of content is very very important. There are a lot of people paying attention to how the public, and how those in positions of power, respond to this sort of news. Depending on the reactions, we might see more people emboldened to speak out in the future. Or, we might see less. So, I implore anyone reading this to think carefully about what you want to do with the stories being shared with you.
Entity were the first to respond to my article. In fact, less than an hour after publishing it, I received a message from a third party letting me know that my ex colleague, Sid Joshi, manager of Entity Gaming, wanted me to know that he intended to sue me. I heard through a separate third party, that Entity wanted me to respond to questions about an NDA I’d supposedly signed. I’ll respond to both by saying — good luck suing somebody for breaching a contract that you’re already in breach of yourself.
Following these informal interactions, Sid took to Reddit, sharing a most marvelous tale about how I’d actually been some kind of awful villain, and that he’d bravely fired me to protect his team. I have three comments to make here. First, his story is full of lies, some of which are easily disputable. He spends a lot of time discussing one particular incident for which he was not even present in the building — meanwhile, others were, including one player who has already corroborated in the same thread that Sid is lying.
Second, even if his story were true, it does nothing to explain why all of my players were fired. So the entire attempt to discredit me is just incoherent. It would be very strange to fire the players for my bad behaviour.
Third, I feel obliged to point out that Sid is also misleading the audience into believing him to be a lot more important than he is in the context of Entity. He speaks as though he was the one making decisions, saying he decided to let me go. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Sid was in no way my superior in Entity — in fact, for most of the time I was there, I was practically doing his job for him while doing my own as well. The directors of Entity Gaming are Neerav Rukhana and Varun Bhavnani. I didn’t feel any need to mention them by name in my original post, but since they seem to be making an explicit effort to distance themselves from this, I can’t see why their identities should be hidden.
Aside from Sid’s main post, judging by the overall impression I got from his replies in the thread, his position seems to be something like “But we did nice things for you!” It’s true. They did some nice things. I don’t think I ever suggested that they were evil incarnate. But, firstly, they also did plenty of awful things that I’ve not bothered to discuss because they don’t pertain to the breach of contract. For example, on the day I was departing India, I was robbed of $1400 that they’d insisted on paying me in cash — by Entity’s housekeeper. When I brought it to their attention, their first response was to insist that it was not their responsibility. Subsequently, they had me strip down all my belongings three times in a row in front of them to be “totally sure” it wasn’t my fault. I’m not someone who easily accuses, but in this case there had been nobody in the house during the time the money was in my bag except for myself, players, management, and the housekeeper. Ultimately, the housekeeper was called in and questioned. He confessed, and most of my money was recovered. But their initial reactions were extremely telling.
Aside from that, it’s just hilarious to imagine they might think that ‘doing some nice things’ might remove their moral or legal responsibilities to compensate their employees appropriately when firing them without notice. One of my players declined an offer to join a team — who subsequently qualified for the Kuala Lumpur Major — out of loyalty to Entity. Imagine a player sacrificing an opportunity in a tier 1 team for you, and then just casually kicking them to the curb.
I have been in contact with Oskar a few times since Monday. He made it clear to me he wasn’t angry about my article, and agreed that everything I said about him was true. He still intends to take responsibility for his mistakes, and is still adamant that he will continue trying to raise the money that he owes. I believe him.
Of course, my belief in his intentions doesn’t make it any more likely that any of us will actually see the money. But I guess we can live in hope.
Mineski posted an ‘official statement’ earlier today. To me, the most important thing about their statement is that they don’t explicitly deny anything that I’ve said. Based on this, and the fact that they took a few days drafting it, I assume they got some professional advice before reacting. Their statement essentially tries to come off as ‘reasonable’ or ‘moderate’, despite not denying any of the allegations. I hope that anyone reading it will see it for what it is: a smokescreen. I would like to respond to a few details in it.
First, they try to explain away their attempts to control the social habits of employees with reference to confidential information. This is obviously nonsense. If you want someone not to share confidential information, you get them to sign an NDA. It’s insanely disproportionate to try restrict who your employees can even be friends with for this purpose. It’s also just obscene to think that any employer can reasonably have that kind of power over their employees.
Second, I don’t have any idea why they’ve discussed my change from coaching Mineski to Happyfeet. That’s not something I took issue with in my article, and the reason for the change was pretty clear at the time.
Third, there’s a weird discussion about how myself and Mineski continued to act in good faith, fulfilling the terms of a previous contract, despite not having renewed it. This makes sense right up until the point where they fired me three months before the date that had always been verbally agreed upon. So no, that’s not acting in good faith.
Last, regarding living conditions, they’ve outright dodged engaging with any of my specific complaints. Probably because the complaints are based in fact and verifiable by other parties. Mineski write:
“Though we may not have been able to afford top tier accomodation for our non-Filipino talents…”
This statement is incredibly misleading. Of course they could afford flushing toilets, drinkable water, basic kitchenware, and pest control. And this isn’t a standard above what any Filipino would expect. I resent the implication that I was being a ‘demanding foreigner’, as they previously told me, because at the time I was told that, I was far too generous with them about it — I tried pretty hard to convince myself that it might be true, that maybe the problem was me, that maybe I wasn’t being culturally sensitive. This just isn’t true, and that Mineski want to dig in their heels about it is frankly fucking offensive to both myself, and to any ordinary Filipino whose identity they are using as a cheap tool to try discredit my experience.
To conclude, I want to just reiterate that these kinds of things happen a lot. They’re happening all the time, in fact. And the people most vulnerable to this kind of treatment are always those with the least power to resist it. But, depending on how the community and its leaders engage with these problems, we could see more people encouraged to share their truths … or, we could not. Read carefully, and think about what you are reading and what it means for yourself, those around you, and those whose careers you follow. Consider both what is being said and what is not being said.