Riot Games is investigating allegations of mistreatment of League of Legends star Kyle ‘Danny’ Sakamaki by Evil Geniuses, an LCS spokesperson has confirmed to Dexerto.
A spokesperson for the LCS told Dexerto that the company is “aware of the allegations surrounding the treatment of Evil Geniuses player Kyle “Danny” Sakamaki”. They added that, “in late 2022, the LCS enlisted a third-party law firm to investigate the matter, which is ongoing.”
“We have no further comment at this time,” the spokesperson said. “The health, safety, and privacy of our players remain our top priority.”
In the past two weeks, Evil Geniuses have found themselves at the center of a storm following reports that the organization mistreated Danny, who stepped down from their LCS team in September 2022 due to mental health issues.
A report published on Dexerto by veteran journalist Richard Lewis detailed how the EG organization failed to care for Danny’s mental and physical health despite multiple staff and players “raising their concerns” about his struggles for a long period of time.
The article also revealed that EG were not receptive to the idea of letting Danny take a break, leading to him considering retirement from the game, and that they still hoped to “earn a return on the player by selling him to another team if such a deal could be brokered.”
In a scathing video posted on his YouTube channel, veteran journalist Duncan ‘Thorin’ Shields also shed light on Danny’s struggles and the lack of care from the Evil Geniuses organization. He criticized EG’s decision not to register a substitute AD Carry for the playoffs despite knowing about Danny’s deteriorating mental and physical situation. The team eventually called in academy player Muhammed ‘Kaori’ Hasan Şentürk to fill in for Danny during the LCS Championship.
“Kaori was already in the academy team, they could have done it [register him as a sub],” Thorin said. “They chose not to. This is the key detail. They chose not to register Kaori as one of the subs for the playoffs.
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“It was presented like that [an emergency sub] but it doesn’t seem like it was. And it makes it seem like Riot themselves, the LCS, made a corrupt decision, which is something I wondered about and speculated about in that video. It seems they had no business making that decision. It wasn’t a good-faith decision because the information wasn’t given to them seemingly in good faith.”
Thorin added that Danny was kept on EG’s payroll as a way “to make up for what happened” to him because of the management’s actions, or inactions. “You’re paying him off, basically,” he noted.
According to a separate story, published by Arsh Goyal a few days later and widely shared on Twitter and discussed on Reddit, EG’s LCS staff was “woefully ill-equipped to handle mental health crises”. Among the allegations outlined in the article is that EG’s upper management pushed for Danny to play the LCS Summer Playoffs match against Team Liquid despite him being “in no state” to compete after the “highly traumatic” series against TSM, even going as far as attempting to “exploit” head coach Peter Dun’s friendship with Danny to convince him to play.
Goyal’s article also alleged that EG “was accused of intimidation in an attempt to prevent Danny’s family from reaching out to the [LCS] players association.”
In a statement to Dexerto for Richard Lewis’ article, the association said that it had “no comment regarding any ongoing investigations at this time.”
Danny is currently a content creator for Evil Geniuses as part of the organization’s Creator Collective initiative. He announced his new role in a statement posted on Twitter on February 28, a few hours after Thorin’s video was released, in which he also rejected allegations of mistreatment. According to Goyal, Danny did not write the statement and only tweeted it “because EG had him do so.”
March 9: This article has been updated to include information shared by journalist Duncan ‘Thorin’ Shields in his YouTube video.