Two Latin American casters have provoked a public uproar from the League of Legends community, after making racist remarks during the Riot Games LAS Broadcast of the All-Star 2016 event. During the official broadcast, former pro player Diego “Vendetta” Ramirez and caster Bastian Guzman mocked Chinese speech patterns whilst discussing the result of the 1v1 match between former SK Telecom T1 jungler Bae “Bengi” Seong-woong and Flash Wolves Huang “Maple” Yi-Tang.
Despite being an entirely Spanish stream, it doesn’t take any level of bilingualism to pick-up on the racist remarks made by two of Riot Games’ Latin American broadcast team. Analyst and ex-pro player Diego ‘Vendetta’ Ramirez instigated the racist episode, mocking Bengi’s thought process using phonics commonly used to mock Chinese speech… for the record, Bengi is South Korean.
The Chilean’s remarks were reinforced by caster Bastian Guzman, who then parroted and extended the mockery while the two other casters sat in a stunned silence.
To their credit, Riot Games took swift action against the Latin American casters – the duo were immediately removed from the remainder of the League of Legends All-Star 2016 event, though whether the two broadcasters will receive a permanent ban has not yet been clarified.
Riot have always imposed a historically firm stance towards racist issues – the case of current Team SoloMid Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen during his SK Gaming days set the precedent. The Jungler was suspended for four matches during the 2015 League of Legends World Championship after changing his Summoner name to mock the Taiwanese user-base.
“We’d like to apologise for the comments made on the LAS broadcast earlier today,
“We’re extremely disappointed in the behaviour of those two casters, and have removed them from the remainder of the broadcast. This kind of language is unacceptable, and we apologise to all of our fans, players, and teams.”
Riot Games Official Announcement
Working towards damage limitation, Riot Games has since taken down as much of the incriminating footage as they can lay their hands on. The official broadcast Twitch VOD of the day’s coverage has since been made private and only those with existing links can share it.
The racism row has once again flagged up issues with the LAS broadcast. Naturally, the budget restrictions placed on the alternative streams have resulted in a number of mishaps in recent years – the viewership figures for the LAS stream are generally very poor.
With so few Spanish speakers opting to watch the alternative stream, and yet another community outcry, appalled at the racist remarks made towards one of the game’s greatest players, perhaps it’s time for Riot to stop patching up the harmful LAS broadcast and amputate it from their production.