Freelancers and esports broadcasters are speaking out against GRIDesports talent manager Kieran Cullinan who reportedly threatened to fire those who discussed their pay, sparking a bigger conversation of fair wages.
The Snow Sweet Snow event organized by Relog Media and sponsored by GRID invited teams like Cloud9, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Gambit, and many more to compete in a $100,000 CSGO event that spanned an entire month.
But CSGO analyst and host ‘Pr0nogo’ slammed the TO’s of these events for the pay that they were reportedly offering for Tier 2 and Tier 3 events.
Then, matters were made much worse after a leaked message from Cullinan showed him advising his Snow Sweet Snow talent to keep their agreed payment undisclosed to the public.
35 euros a best of 3.
12.5 euros a best of 1.
100 euros for playoffs.
Don't talk about these things or you'll get fired.
Who the fuck does this guy think he is?
— Pr0nogo (@pr0nogo) March 10, 2021
“GRID Talent: for anyone sharing [Snow Sweet Snow] payment rates outside of this group, I advise you go and read Section 6.1 of the contract you all signed with us, headed ‘Confidentiality, Sata Protection.’ Any further news I hear of this will result in immediate dismissal,” Cullinan’s message read.
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Firing employees for discussing wages is illegal in the United States under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) with similar protections in place for the EU, making many question Cullinan’s threat.
Contracts obtained by Pr0nogo revealed the low wages that Snow Sweet Snow talent were working under.
- Best of 1: €12.5 (about $14.91)
- Best of 3: €35 (about $41)
- Playoffs: €100 (about $119.27)
“Atrocious,” popular esports host Alex ‘MACHINE’ Richardson said after seeing the reported wages. “When I was first starting to cast for ESL UK [in 2014] I was working on £200 day rate if that’s helpful info.”
— MACHINE /// (@MACHINEgg) March 10, 2021
In 2012-2013 I was getting between €0 – 300 for 3 day events. Occasionally I would get flight covered but not accommodation.
I like to think the industry has moved on a lot since, but these stories are cropping up now and then.
— Xavier Dhorne (@ThisisZoot) March 10, 2021
This instantly created a larger conversation among esports talent and broadcasters about discussing wages, where more people had unpleasant run-ins with Cullinan.
As esports grows in both size and financial standing, broadcasters are showing an initiative to educate each other in proper practices and previously earned wages to give rising talent a better understanding of fair pay.