Another racism controversy has hit Dota 2’s professional scene.
OG offlaner Sébastien "7ckngMad" Debs is under fire for insensitive remarks made during a recent pub game. During a losing effort, Ceb went on a lengthy rant about a pair of Russian teammates through the in-game chat as well as in the post-game menu. Among other insults, he refers to the players as “animals from Russia,” “third world dogs,” and “Russian whores,” and stated that they would “sell their mothers for MMR.”
Screenshots from the entire exchange can be found on Reddit. Ceb was quick to respond to the situation himself, and stated that he was not making generalizations about Russians but was arguing with two specific Russian teammates. He went on to acknowledge that he lost his temper during the game and apologized for setting a bad standard.
Though Ceb expressed regret, the situation provoked a response from Virtus.pro’s Alexei "Solo" Berezin. The Russian player criticized Ceb and stated he would sit out of the upcoming Epicenter Major if Valve refused to acknowledge the incident. “I won’t be participating at the upcoming Epicenter Major that will be played in my home country unless Valve openly speaks about this case and ensures consistency and transparency when it comes to treating racism in our game,” Solo said in a statement.
This is the third racist incident among professional Dota 2 players during the 2018-2019 season. During the DreamLeague Minor in 2018, CompLexity Gaming carry Rolen "Skemberlu" Ong made a racist remark while competing with Chinese players on Royal Never Give Up. Shortly after, a similar scandal erupted surrounding TNC Predator offlaner Carlo “Kuku” Palad.
Valve refused to take action on either player until weeks later, when it banned Kuku from competing in the Chongqing Major as rumors swirled that Kuku had been banned from the event by the local Chinese government. This was proven to be a lie months later, when word broke that Kuku had been banned from attending a different event in Chongqing.
The inaction from Valve stands in harsh contrast to publishers like Blizzard and Riot Games. While Dota 2 players fear no repercussions for their behavior, Overwatch and League of Legends pros have faced fines and suspensions for insensitive actions both in and out of competition. Though Solo did not specifically call for Ceb to be punished, he is pushing for an approach that more closely resembles.
Ceb has apologized but Valve has remained silent on Solo’s ultimatum to this point. The Epicenter Major begins on June 22.