The European League of Legends (LEC) has canceled a sponsorship deal with a city in Saudi Arabia after a fan reaction.
Video game developer Riot has been criticized for taking big money from a country that has poor human rights results.
Now the company says it realizes that the deal “has caused fractures in the same community in which we seek to grow.”
The LEC is one of the most famous esports championships in the world.
As soon as the deal with the megalopolis Neom was announced, people started kicking off, including those working for Riot.
Some people pointed out that the LEC had changed its logo to reflect the rainbow colors of Pride – and yet had signed an agreement with a county that executed people for homosexual relationships.
And the city of Neom is also controversial. It is a huge multi-billion dollar project that intends to create a futuristic city.
Its promotional blurb promises an “idyllic lifestyle combined with excellent economic opportunities that surpasses that of any other metropolis.”
Early ideas included flying taxis and a fake moon.
But a recent report on The Guardian indicated that up to 20,000 members of a local tribe were forcibly evicted from their land to make way for the city.
And it seems that LEC immediately understood how badly the sponsorship agreement went.
Now there is a new statement that says: “As a company and as a league, we know it is important to recognize when we make mistakes and work quickly to correct them.”
Although LEC states that “it is firmly committed to all of our players and fans around the world, including those living in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East,” he concluded the deal and admitted that he moved “too quickly” in the attempt to expand sports.
Some fans say it shows how important it is to defend what you believe in.
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