Former OWL Pro Ryujehong Suspended Over Sexist Twitch Rant
Jehong “Ryujehong” Ryu, former Overwatch League pro turned content creator and streamer, has been suspended from team-related activities with Gen.G Esports after sexist comments about female fans made on his stream went viral in the Overwatch community.
This comes as something of a shock as Jehong has commonly been known as a wholesome individual in the Overwatch scene, and was a beacon of professionalism during his time as a pro player in the Overwatch League. He was so prolific in this regard that upon his retirement from pro play for the Vancouver Titans, his former parent organization Gen.G Esports decided to bring him on as a content creator.
What Did Ryujehong Say to Get Suspended?
The comments that got Ryujehong suspended were anything but wholesome, however, calling out some female fans as “fake.”
After a streamer called him “oppa,” a common Twitch meme, RJH went off on a tirade about being played by “fox bitches.”
“You know that pushovers live their whole lives being played, right?” he said. “You have to protect me because I’m a fucking pushover. I’ve been played by so many fox bitches and the only way I can save myself from these fucking fox bitches is through you. These fox bitches are trying to look good for the fucking stream. They need to be taught a lesson. These fox bitches are all kimchi.”
Of course, a lot of this could be viewed through the lens of a streamer attempting to be entertaining for his audience, but many in the Overwatch community were understandably a bit confused and enraged at the behavior from the normally well mannered Jehong. He has since apologized to the community, issuing the following statement as translated by noted translator KoreanEdelweiss on Reddit:
“I would like to talk about a recent stream. First, I would like to apologize to the viewers that felt discomfort from the strong level of language I used along with the overuse of profanity on the day of the problematic stream. Going forwards, I will try to adjust the level (of language) and endeavor to stream within the lines where many people can enjoy (the stream). I would like everyone watching my stream to understand that I am guiding my stream as Ryujehong the streamer. I know that there are viewers who watched my streams regularly in the past that are struggling to adjust to the changed chat atmosphere as many new viewers started joining, and I know that there are those that are quite confused of me using Twitch memes, but I think (those viewers) need to understand. Going forward, the stream and the chat atmosphere will be developed bit by bit and stabilized using the feedback of various viewers, but I would like to progress with a free feeling that is like me. I will hire bots and managers to thoroughly manage (my stream/chat) so that I can make a stream that anyone can enjoyably view. Finally, I read and saw various comments, and if you’re not a fan of me, stop with the incitement.”
How Did Gen.G Respond to the Situation?
Ryujehong’s team, Gen.G, did not take the situation surrounding the sexist comments lightly at all, immediately responding to the outcry by suspending the former pro.
“I’m personally very disappointed at the language used during the stream by Jehong,” Arnold Hur, Co-President and COO of Seoul Dynasty/Gen.G Esports said. “He was wrong, and I find it uncharacteristic of the person I know who has always been a considerate, kind-hearted teammates. He has expressed to us his insincere regret for betraying the trust of his community, takes responsibility for his poor decisions, and commits to changing his words and deeds going forward. However, our belief is that whether you are a player or a streamer, anybody with a platform should understand the responsibility of the higher standards that come with it. As such we have suspended all of Jehong’s team-related activities indefinitely until further notice.”
Streamers are constantly taught through positive reinforcement from the community that being shocking, controversial, and otherwise “entertaining” is a great way to gain viewership and noteriety, especially in a game like Overwatch that’s been on the decline for some time. There are numerous examples of this behavior in Overwatch alone, none perhaps more so than the notorious Felix “xQc” Lengyel, who turned his behavior into fame after being suspended out of his Overwatch League existence. He’s gone on to be one of Twitch’s biggest streamers, likely off the back of this behavior, in addition to his off-the-wall rants as well as his willingness to adapt to Twitch trends and not just stick with Overwatch as some of his peers have done.