Veteran Esports Host Redeye Retires Following Accusations
If you’ve been watching esports for any length of time, surely you are familiar with the voice of Paul “Redeye” Chaloner. The host of multiple iterations of Dota 2’s The International, as well as the author of a recent book on the history of esports, he’s been in and around the industry for over 15 years. This has all come to an end, however, as Redeye announced his retirement from esports after accusations of his mistreatment of coworkers such as James Banks have gone viral.
As one of the veteran voices of the space, he will surely be missed, but this is just the latest example of the esports industry maturing and attempting to police itself from bad actors. In recent weeks, the industry as a whole has seen something of a reckoning with several coming out with accusations of sexual assault, harrassment, and more. While these accusations from James Banks are not directly tied into the situation, so many voices coming forward clearly gave James Banks the courage to release his accusations.
What Exactly Did James Banks Accuse Redeye Of?
James Banks, a veteran caster in his own right, accused Redeye of several instances of mistreatment towards his colleagues, including Banks himself. Not only that, but he also accused Redeye of physical altercations with members of Gfinity staff, something that Chaloner went on to deny, vehemently. Lastly, Banks accused Chaloner of picking his friends over talented members of the industry for various broadcasts that he was a part of, and it was this part of Banks’ statement that Chaloner took the most issue with.
“When it comes to choosing broadcast talent for events, I’ve always picked the people I felt could make the show better or fit a certain style of broadcast, and yes, sometimes I didn’t get that right,” Chaloner said. “Semmler is a great example of someone I did not pick for the shows I worked on in the early parts of his CSGO career and I am happy he proved me utterly wrong and went on to have a great career. I’ve spoken to Semmler about it too as it was something he was upset with me about, but again I did not pick him for the show because I believed I had got the right team for the show we produced, it was not to block him in any way and I believe he accepted that explanation when we spoke about it later.”
Either way, Chaloner went on to deny all of the accusations with varying levels of proof against Banks’ statement. He did admit to sometimes being stressed out at events, but never to the levels that Banks said of Redeye in his accusations.
Why Is Redeye Retiring?
Despite all of this, Redeye has decided he is done with esports, at least for the time being. This is due in large part to the attacks made on his character by people in the industry.
“I might have been able to cope with all the shit being thrown at me,” Redeye said. “But when my children were dragged into this, that went beyond any reasonable attack and became cruel and vicious. I’ll reiterate what I said in the first post made two days ago: I went to court and was found not guilty. Like many, my mental health has not been great during lockdown but the onslaught towards my character and the unwarranted accusations towards my character and the unwarranted involvement of my family have talen this to new depths.”
Redeye goes on to state that he has come close to committing suicide as a result of the accusations and the attacks on his character. He will be resigning from his post at Code Red Esports and discontinuing his involvement with esports as a whole.
James Banks made a follow up statement on the situation, as well.
“I knew coming forward would make me a target, regardless of Paul’s response,” Banks said. “ I’m glad to have empowered others to come forward so we could address and change Paul’s impact on those who work in this space. I also know I’ve lost supporters and possibly work. I knew this was a risk when I decided to collect and share evidence in pursuit of the truth. This was not a personal vendetta. Making myself a target of the most widely known and arguably the most powerful on-screen talent in esports would not make sense. I spoke up and helped others to do so because Paul threatened safe and fair workplaces within esports, and he would continue to do so unless forced to confront his repeated and ongoing abuses.”
As such, Banks will also be taking a break from social media, but will continue to work esports events for the time being, as allowed by COVID-19.
Redeye’s Legacy as a Host
Redeye has been in the spotlight for so long that his voice, despite the accusations, will be a part of esports history for as long as esports is a popular thing. Especially for the moments in Dota history that he was a part of, as The International has been the premier event in that game for quite some time, and that’s unlikely to change.
“I’ve dedicated my life to esports over the last two decades and made some huge sacrifices along the way,” Redeye said in a statement. “I know I haven’t always got it right, but I’d like to think I’ve contributed (even in a small way) to the place it sits in currently. I am disappointed in myself that this is tarnished by the occasions that I have behaved badly and by the false accusations made against me.”
His style has been imitated by esports hosts around the industry for years and will undoubtedly continue to inspire copycats to incorporate not only a professional voice, but one dripping with enthusiasm for the game and the culture around it. And that’s in far from just Dota, as he’s hosted events across the industry including several Dreamhack events, the Esports World Cup, Unreal Tournament, CS:GO, Quake, and many others. He also was one of the first esports broadcasters in the industry as a whole, shoutcasting matches back in 2002 via Clanbase. This alone makes him among the most veteran voices in the space, with over 18 years of experience that’s suddenly been lost. While a new generation of hosts and casters has risen up, that much experience leaving the industry will surely be a blow that’s continued to be felt for quite some time.