T1 will begin taking legal action against so-called fans who have sent death threats to the players and staff members of the organisation, as well as some of the players’ families.
The death threats appear to have started in early August, when the organisation benched its legendary mid laner Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-hyeok ahead of the LCK Summer Playoffs for Worlds. Faker was eventually recalled for the final game of the Playoffs, but could not steer T1 to victory against Afreeca Freecs. T1 now faces the prospect of playing two or three best-of-five series rounds in the regional playoffs, and would still only enter Worlds at the Play-in stage.
This failure to qualify through the LCK Summer Playoffs has apparently increased the level of death threats being sent to the team, and has led to T1’s announcement of legal action.
“If the onslaught of violent virtual attacks continues, we will explore legal action to put an end to it,” T1’s CEO Joe Marsh said back at the beginning of August. However, since the attacks have not abated, T1 has moved forward with their promise of legal action.
After some personal reflection and talking with our staff, I realize the importance of being public about T1’s stance on this matter. Please keep supporting our players and coaches. https://t.co/2KN98johlc
— Joe Marsh (@JoeMar) August 9, 2020
“We asked nicely a few weeks back. We said we would take action. We said we would do anything to protect our players, coaches and staff. We say what we mean and we mean what we say,” Marsh says in the most recent statement.
We asked nicely a few weeks back. We said we would take action. We said we would do anything to protect our players, coaches and staff. We say what we mean and we mean what we say. https://t.co/aHKsLemgPX
— Joe Marsh (@JoeMar) September 3, 2020
We do not yet know what the specific legal action will be, but clearly T1 is sending a message here. This is one of the first cases ever of an esports organisation tackling hostility and toxicity with legal action, and could be a landmark case for the industry.