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Esports • May 04, 2019

Amit Raizada on PR push to bury admission of racist abuse

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Amit Raizada on PR push to bury admission of racist abuse
Credit: Vision Global Foundation

Following a Dexerto exclusive report that Rick Fox was looking to exit Echo Fox due to one of the shareholders having engaged in racist abuse we revealed the offending party to be Amit Raizada.

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A founding partner at the Vision Venture Partners group that invested $38 million into Echo Fox under the name Vision Esports, he admitted to Dexerto he had sent an email containing a racial epithet to Jace Hall, the organisation’s former CEO, but continued to deny he had ever been racist towards Rick Fox.

“First, Mr. Raizada has never used or made a racial epithet or statement towards Mr. Fox or anyone in his family” wrote Raizada’s PR firm. “Moreover, Mr. Raizada has never threatened Mr. Fox or anyone in his family. Any allegations or suggestions to the contrary are simply false.  In fact, Mr. Fox and Mr. Raizada had previously enjoyed a 20 year long deep personal friendship and have been and are currently involved in several business dealings together.”

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They then included the following statement from Raizada himself:

“In a heated and contentious email exchange with Jace Hall several weeks ago, I lost my temper and used a racial epithet directed personally at him. I have apologized to Jace, and I would like to apologize to all. My language was wrong and there is no excuse for it. I have stepped down from all day-to-day decision-making with all entities in which Jace Hall and I were involved.”

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The story has been one of the most discussed in esports since the revelations came to light, with some speculating that there is more to the internal dispute than this but with most commending Rick Fox on taking a stand against the use of racial epithets. 

With Raizada’s confession now public it seems that he has attempted to obfuscate the negative publicity by having some positive press releases, published on multiple outlets including Associated Press, that praises his “entrepreneurial spirit” and his success in esports. Beyond that the press releases seems to have little purpose.

Credit: Vision Global Foundation

One published on Globenewswire says that “Amit Raizada is the perfect example of the entrepreneurial spirit as his ability to diversify his interests and skills in the world of financial investment and growth has brought success to his company and life” It later adds, seemingly without any trace of irony, “Raizada's time spent working and investing in a number of industries has allowed him to grow as a successful businessman and a diplomatic well-rounded individual.”

A similarly full of praise press release also made its way to Associated Press, sourced to Raizada himself. “Amit Raizada continues to lead VVP in the right direction to become one of the outright leaders in the esports genre” it reads. “Since there is so much still being discovered about the sport in general, the company continues to learn and make smart (and bad) decisions along the way. With Raizada, and the additional three [partners including Rick Fox], relying on past success, there is a strong chance things work out well for VVP.”

Having spoken with a PR strategist they informed Dexerto that such tactics aren’t unusual when someone who employs their services has a spate of negative publicity. By putting out press statements such as these, even ones that say little and contain no new information, you can change what comes up first when the person in question’s name is put into a search engine.

The Player's Tribune

Unfortunately for Mr. Raizada it seems that story is unlikely to go away any time soon. As the internal struggles continue between Rick Fox, Raizada and the other shareholders, Fox spoke to celebrity gossip publication TMZ to tell them he had no plans to leave provided Raizada was ousted. 

In a video he said “I have amazing partners, investors, sponsors that don’t stand for this type of behaviour, I have the best players in the world… This has been my life. This has been my passion. I am not looking to go anywhere, but I will not stay in business with a racist, I just won’t.”

He went on to add that he didn’t necessarily see the situation being resolved quickly or even in the way he would prefer. "The unfortunate thing is being a racist in America is not illegal unfortunately” he said. “He has his own economic interests and his own rights. So, no one is going to trample on his rights."

Dexerto shall bring you more on this story in the coming days.