Founder of G2 Esports, Carlos Rodriguez, has announced his departure as CEO of the organization. Rodriguez, who created G2 Esports in 2014 together with investor Jens Hilgers, announced his departure on Twitter.
“I can’t believe what I’m about to say now,” Rodriguez says in his video. “My time in G2 has come to an end, which means that I will be stepping down from my CEO position. I know it might be a shocker for many of you. Trust me, this is a very hard ending to what has otherwise been a very deeply meaningful and joyful experience.” The entrepreneur continues his statement by thanking his colleagues and the fans while reminiscing about his time as the leader of the company.
Partying with pariah Tate
Rodriguez’s resignation follows after a turbulent weekend on social media. On Sept. 17, he posted a Tweet reading, “Yesterday we celebrated G2’s world championship.” In the video attached to the Tweet, Rodriguez was seen partying with a large group of people. One of the people in the video, celebrating with Rodriguez, was former kickboxer Andrew Tate.
It is the appearance of Tate in Rodriguez’s video that put the former CEO in hot water. Tate, who now runs an online course called “Hustler’s University” in which he shares his thoughts on how to become a financially successful and independent person, has been at the center of widespread criticism recently. Multiple clips of the American show him expressing controversial and misogynistic views regarding women’s places in society. Tate is also the subject of an ongoing human trafficking investigation.
As criticism of Rodriguez mounted on social media for partying with Tate, the G2 founder doubled down. “Nobody will ever be able to police my friendships,” he wrote. “I draw my line here. I party with whoever the fuck I want.”
The backlash intensified drastically after this Tweet. Not only had Rodriguez felt comfortable sharing a video of him partying with Tate, but in the eyes of the public the frontman was also implying that he considered Tate to be among his friends despite the slew of allegations.
Actions conflicting with statements
One day later, on Sept. 18, Rodriguez posted a statement in which he clarified his position, “Many G2 fans were let down this weekend which created confusion about what I stand for. It has always been my consistent target to stand for absolute equality of opportunity regardless of who you are or where you come from, which is what gaming is all about.”
A follow-up Tweet, which has since been deleted, read, “Make no mistake, my life was full of learnings and I had my fair share of situations I got into in the past. I failed to read this room right, feel terrible about the discussions it created and will step up and accept the consequences in full.”
Meanwhile, however, Twitter users noted that Rodriguez was actively liking Tweets that supported his initial actions. Some of the Tweets Rodriguez’s liked even openly supported Tate’s teachings, which contradicted the “absolute equality” Rodriguez said to believe in.
Moments later, G2 Esports announced that they would be putting their CEO on eight weeks of unpaid leave.
The final nail in the coffin
As the storm started to subside slightly, another hurricane arrived. Earlier this year, Riot Games had announced franchisement plans for its competitive shooter VALORANT. That weekend, the company was on the verge of announcing its thirty franchise partners. G2 had been at the forefront ever since a VALORANT esports circuit was created and had invested many resources into building its VALORANT division.
When Riot Games announced its partner teams, G2 Esports was not on the list.
Though reports varied about the impact of Rodriguez’s behavior on Riot’s decision, the consensus was that at the very least the controversy was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Riot to decide to deny G2 a VALORANT spot. Rodriguez’s party with Tate and the subsequent behavior on social media had cost G2 a huge amount of marketing potential and future revenue.
Although specifics of Rodriguez’s resignation as CEO are unknown, it appears that he has severed himself completely from all business relating to G2.