A Korean professional gamer based in Dallas, Texas has opened up about his team’s daily brush with “unspeakable” racism, from people who cuss to those who cough on them.
Lee Eui-seok, who goes by the moniker “Fearless,” plays in the Overwatch League for the Dallas Fuel, whose eight active members are all Korean.
In a Twitch stream on Sunday, Lee said it is scary that some people around him are still not wearing masks, but he is more terrified of the racism he and his teammates have to endure.
“Being Asian here is terrifying, seriously. People keep trying to pick fights with us,” Lee said, according to a translation by Jade Kim, manager of Florida Mayhem, another Overwatch League team. “And there’s even people who cough on us … cuss us the f*ck out while laughing.”
Lee said people who are actually wearing masks deliberately remove them just to cough on him and his teammates. He also recalled some attackers referring to them as “f*cking Chinese.”
“The racism here is unspeakable,” he said. “It’s been happening basically every day.”
The gamer also pointed out how things were different three years ago.
“I don’t think we had issues back then, for me at least. That was around 2018, so it’s three years ago. Back then, I was just peacefully living in the U.S.,” Lee said.
It’s unclear whether Lee or any of his teammates have reported at least one of their experiences to the police.
In the meantime, Lee tries to deter potential attackers by wearing his team jersey.
“If I have my jersey on, I think they realize we’re part of some kind of team, so they don’t bother us much. But if I have my everyday clothes on, they run up to us, harass us and then run away,” Lee said.
Mike Rufail, founder and chief gaming officer of Dallas Fuel, confirmed that several members of the team have indeed experienced racist incidents.
“I am deeply saddened by the situations some of our @DallasFuel players have been put in while walking the streets here in Dallas, TX. This is a great city in a proud state,” Rufail wrote in a tweet.
“This isn't something we should be proud of at all and should all pitch in to change it.”
Kim, who goes by the username @swingchip930, explained her motivation for translating Lee’s experience in an interview with the Washington Post.
“Yes, I’m not a Dallas staff member, and yeah, I don’t know Fearless personally, but I’m Korean, too. I’m Asian, too,” Kim told the outlet. “I felt like that gave me enough reason to speak up and spread the word about it.”
Twitter users are writing messages of support.
“It’s ridiculous they are going through this and the fact Americans are so dumb to think every Asian person is Chinese is even more mind-blowing to me,” one user commented.
Another shared, “As a Korean American in Dallas, I know that racism is here and I have experienced myself growing up. It breaks my heart that they're experiencing this as newcomers to our city. I can only imagine the added level of fear when English isn't their primary language. #StopAsianHate.”
Caster Mitch Leslie also chimed in, “I wanna come to Dallas and protecc [sic] these guys all the time and stomp a** on anyone that gives them trouble.”
In a statement to Polygon, Activision Blizzard, which created "Overwatch" and oversees the League, said it stands with the Asian community against hate.
"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."
Feature Image Screenshots via @swingchip930
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