Four Gears of War 5 professional players have been banned indefinitely from the game, and by extension competing in its Pro League, after “multiple instances of sexual harassment” were recorded on stream.
On April 20, the official Gears of War Esports account announced on Twitter that they had to postpone some of the matches for the week due to “an incident concerning some of our players, which needs to be investigated.”
A day later, they came out with a press release stating that pro players Sam ‘Vital‘ Salmani, Noah ‘Noey‘ White, Alec ‘ShocK‘ Collins and ‘Reptilian‘ had all been banned indefinitely for “multiple instances of sexual harassment” of a smaller streamer.
“On the evening of April 19, 2021, several active Pro League players joined the live broadcast of a female Gears 5 streamer and proceeded to inundate the chat with offensive language directed at the streamer for over 90 minutes,” the ruling from Gears Esports read. “Eventually leading to the streamer ending her broadcast early.”
The streamer in question is named ThatLadyTho, a smaller Twitch streamer with roughly 570 followers at the time of writing. Looking at the chat logs, it’s not hard to see why some of the stuff said by the players could cause this type of reaction from Gears Esports.
The streamer did abruptly end the broadcast just as the report said, and since then, it happened she doesn’t seem to have streamed on Twitch at all.
After the new of the bans broke on the 21st, Vital and Shock both put out tweets about the incident, while Noey and Reptillian’s known Twitter accounts seem to have been deleted.
Esports org Elevate, who Shock played for before his suspension, said they would be placing the pro on the bench to “dispute” the ruling, even with the pro banned for the foreseeable future.
I didn’t expect my gears career to end like this. I’m glad for all the memories and the fact I was able to get one 🏆. Not sure where to go from here but thanks for supporting the journey 💔
— S (@VitalTheOne) April 23, 2021
Finally, Vanquish, Hive, Noble and Elevate — the four Gears Pro League teams who lost players to this ruling — will be allowed to promote their substitute player and/or pick up one Challenger player to complete their rosters going forward.
Despite this, losing these four players out of the blue like this does seem to have the potential to shake up some of the top teams in Gears esports going forward.