All-women Rainbow Six league Project Eris saw the community raise over $1,600 in less than an hour after cutting ties with their parent organization following tweets made by the org’s co-founder and COO.
Project Eris was designed to be an inclusive space for women to play competitive Rainbow Six Siege. It is backed by big-name sponsors, such as Razer and popular caster and community figure Jessica ‘JessGOAT’ Bolden.
However, they were left on the backfoot after cutting ties with their major sponsor SH Esports over anti-abortion and transphobic tweets made by the organization’s co-founder and COO. SH ESports subsequently withheld their $1,500 sponsorship of the tournament.
The Rainbow Six community stepped up in the league’s hour of need, crowdfunding over $1,600 in just 45 minutes to cover the withheld funds, which were earmarked to cover caster and production costs, and ensure that the event’s inaugural season could continue unimpeded.
What is Project Eris?
Project Eris is a Rainbow Six Siege league open to players who self-identify as women. Announced in early 2021 as a project operated by Slaughter House (SH) Esports, Project Eris became a separate entity when co-founder Kyndal ‘Astraea’ Brizendine left her position in the organization and took the Project Eris concept with her. SH Esports remained in possession of all Project Eris funds, however, while Astraea and co-founder Chantelle ‘Ginger’ Marshall set up an LLC for the league.
Other sponsors included tech company Razer and Rainbow Six Siege caster and former coach Jessica ‘JessGOAT’ Bolden.
The league’s inaugural season began on August 26, with SH Esports among the teams taking part. SH Esports had announced on August 1 that they would be ceasing operations in November 2021 but acquired a roster to compete in the league they had helped found.
Cutting ties with SH Esports
On September 18, four weeks into the season, Project Eris announced on Twitter that they would be parting ways with SH Esports and removing the org’s branding from Project Eris graphics on Twitter and Twitch.
This was due to comments made by SH Esports co-founder and COO Beau ‘TEXN’ Davies on Twitter. In emails to Dexerto, both Astraea and JessGOAT confirmed that the tweets in question were ones related to TEXN’s support of the recently-passed Texas abortion ban as well as transphobic comments that have been verified by Dexerto.
“My team and I felt it was best if we parted ways due to our morals & values tied to who we are as an entity,” Astraea said. “Not only are we a league owned by women, but we are a safe haven for women & LGBTQIA+.
“Having a brand/entity/org tied to us that doesn’t align with the same mindset/morals isn’t what we’d like to be associated with. Not only are there players who are not cis-gender, but we also have talent, mods, admins, and talent who fall under the LGBTQIA+ they are our family and community – we will stand by and with them.”
In response to Project Eris’ announcement, SH Esports told the Project Eris leadership that they would not be paying the $1,500 sponsorship agreed upon by the two parties. JessGOAT confirmed to Dexerto that SH Esports did agree to release all other held funds. However, that transaction is yet to take place and Project Eris is still waiting to receive those funds.
The withholding of this sum, which was to be used to cover production costs, left Project Eris with three choices.
“It was either reduce the prize pool, subsidize the missing investment (of which I would have done out of my pocket) or attempt to recoup it through crowdfunding,” JessGOAT said.
Project Eris announced a GoFundMe campaign on September 19 and raised nearly $1,700 within an hour. JessGOAT posted a video to Twitter thanking fans for their support.
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU. I cannot thank the community and all my colleagues over at @Project_Eris for helping pick our league straight back up and running. I cannot even begin to form words of gratitude to you all. Just know I'll have a cry later 😭♥️ https://t.co/vmGYpLz8Bn pic.twitter.com/VdPBOpse7w
— Jess 'JessGOAT🐐' Bolden (@JessGOAT) September 18, 2021
Astraea also thanked the community in her conversation with Dexerto.
“Everyone on staff is insanely thankful for the community outreach and those who have stepped forward to assist us in recovering funds promised by SH,” she said. “We will continue to stand with and by not only our team but those who look to us for a home.
“Eris was and is meant to be a pillar in the community we lacked that focused on celebrating women & LGBTQIA+. We won’t allow this to set us back and we can’t wait to show you what we have planned for the next year.”
The roster SH Esports had acquired for the Project Eris season cut ties with the org, renaming themselves ‘Jarrison Fan Club’ ahead of the season’s week five, which takes place on September 23.
With the money raised, the league will continue towards its October 31 grand final.