Overwatch Esports Pro shares stories of ‘terrifying’ anti-Asian racism

A professional Overwatch player shared his experiences of anti-Asian racism on a Twitch stream earlier this week, describing life in America as an Asian person at the moment as “ terrifying. ” Eui-Sok Lee, aka Fearless, is currently a pro with the Dallas Fuel Overwatch League team. Although from South Korea, Lee currently lives in Dallas, Texas at Fuel’s training center.

Professional esports players like Lee occasionally host streams on Twitch, where Lee shared his experience in the United States during the pandemic with his audience. During the stream, Lee shared what it’s like to live in Texas at this time. The state has recently relaxed Covid restrictions, opened up the city and at the same time reversed mask mandates.

“It’s pretty scary; people don’t even wear masks here, so I’m worried about it, ”said Lee during his stream.

This led to Lee talking about his encounters with racism while in Texas. “Being Asian here is scary,” said Lee, who described incidents where people came up to him, took off their masks, and coughed on him.

Lee says he sometimes wears his team jersey when he goes out as a form of intimidation deterrent. “When I’m wearing my jersey, I think they realize we’re part of some team, so they don’t bother us that much, but when I’m wearing my everyday clothes, they run to us, they bother us. . Walk away.”

There has been an increasing focus on anti-Asian racism, especially in the past year, where rhetoric surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, such as when former President Donald Trump called it the “ Chinese virus. ”

‘They call us Chinese and then they bother us. The racism is ineffable here, ”Lee said at one point during his stream.

Incidents of anti-Asian racism have escalated in the United States, ranging from attacks on the elderly to a shooting in Georgia that killed 8 people, six of whom were women of Asian descent.

Team Envy CEO Mike Rufail took to his personal Twitter account to denounce the harassment of his players in Dallas. “This is a great city in a proud state. This is not something we should be proud of and we should all go in to change it, ”writes Rufail.

Rufail says measures are being taken to ensure players’ safety when they go out, but no specific details were provided during Rufail’s video.

In a statement to IGN, an Activision Blizzard spokesperson also denounced the harassment. “At Activision Blizzard, we condemn racism in the strongest possible terms. We stand behind the Asian community, our employees and our players and work across our organization, including esports, to do our part to fight hatred and ignorance. “

Matt TM Kim is IGN’s news editor.

Photo by Robert Paul via Blizzard Entertainment