British esports journalist Richard Lewis criticised part of the games press at the Esports Awards 2019 this weekend.
Richard was named Esports Journalist of the Year for the second time, having first won the award at the 2016 event.
He used his winner’s speech to call out the likes of Polygon, Kotaku and Waypoint: games media websites that have started covering esports in recent years.
In particular, he criticised their at times inaccurate and damaging coverage of esports, as well as their motives.
“There’s these external media companies, they’re looking at esports and they want to write the history and tell the stories,” Richard said. “You know who I’m talking about: Polygon, Waypoint, the Kotakus… people like that.
“The second thing has been to write hit-pieces and smears, mostly propagated on half-truths or out-and-out lies.
“They write about it because they think if they can get one or two or 12 of you out of the way, they can get their friends and cronies in and gatekeep our industry.”
Richard went on to name-drop some specific articles written by publications like those he mentioned earlier, including Kotaku’s article on a CSGO Major apparently being a Trump rally, “because the journalist mis-read a sign”, as well as when they rallied around to stop abuse of a female Overwatch player, “who didn’t exist – which they would have found if they’d done a cursory fact check”.
“And of course there’s the annual hit piece they write trying to cancel any one of you.”
Two years ago, PCGamesN wrote a hit piece on Richard Lewis and fellow British esports journalist Duncan ‘Thorin’ Shields, painting the pair as racist, misogynist, homophobic and transphobic. PCGamesN later apologised for the ‘ambiguity’ within the article.
There was one exemption at Kotaku. Richard praised senior reporter Cecilia D’anastasio and said she should’ve been in the shortlist for the journalist award. He also welcomed more journalists to cover the industry to report the stories and make things better.
Following his speech, Richard received a standing ovation from many in the audience.
Other previous winners of the Esports Journalist of the Year award include Duncan Shields (2017) and Jacob Wolf (2018).
Other British winners at this year’s event included LittleJem (Cosplay of the Year) and Henry ‘HenryG’ Greer (Caster of the Year). Dexerto – the online publication with its main offices in London – also won Coverage Website of the Year.
More than 3.6m votes were cast by the public for this year’s awards, which took place at Esports Stadium Arlington in the US. Eefje ‘Sjokz’ Depoortere and Alex ‘Golden Boy’ Mendez played hosts for the evening.