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South Korean gamer tells of being bullied in Dallas

By MAY ZHOU in Houston | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-04-13 10:26

A video in which Dallas Fuel player Lee "Fearless" Eui-Seok tells of "terrifying" bullying has caused a stir in the competitive video-gaming community.

The Dallas Fuel's current roster consists of eight players from South Korea. Players compete in the game Overwatch, a shooting game played by teams in the Overwatch League (OWL).

Speaking in Korean on the phone, Lee told an unknown party that "being Asian here is terrifying, seriously. People keep trying to pick fights with us."

Lee said that some Americans will come up to him and his South Korean teammates, take off their masks and deliberately cough on them, harass them and curse them.

"I think Koreans living overseas should be careful. The racism here is no joke," Lee said. "It's been happening basically every day. It's my first time ever experiencing racism. They try to scare us. Lots of them just try to scare us."

Sometimes he wears his esports team jersey as a shield.

"If I have my jersey on, I think they realize we're part of some kind of team, so they don't bother us as much. But if I have my everyday clothes on, they run up to us, harass us, then run away," Lee said.

On Tuesday, Dallas Fuel owner Mike Rufail took to Twitter to post a video condemning racism and encouraging people to speak up when they see it.

"(The players) were confronted by numerous people on numerous occasions who made really racist remarks to them," said Rufail in the video posted to his Twitter account. "No one should ever feel that their safety or their livelihood is in danger. They should never feel threatened. They should never feel bullied just because of their race. This is the most ridiculous thing."

Rufail is the CEO of Envy Gaming Inc, a collective esports and gaming company. The company owns and operates several esports teams, including Team Envy, the Dallas Fuel of the Overwatch League, and the Dallas Empire of the Call of Duty League.

Rufail said that racism has been the topic of a long, strenuous conversation in this country and encouraged people to confront it.

"For our players to get here and only be here for a couple of months and have to deal with this kind of issue is absurd. If you see friends or family members bullying others because of race, gender or skin color, you let them know that's a mistake, that's not right, it's wrong, and you can make a difference. This is the only way we can do this," Rufail said.

Twitter user Danny Lewis commented on Rufail's post: "Honestly this is really upsetting, these players — all young guys living away from home pursuing their dream are being made to feel unwelcome in a city and country which celebrates freedom."

"I also live in Dallas and have experienced a similar issue. Happened most to me when I wasn't with the CDL (Call of Duty shooting game) team. Generally made me stop shopping at the local supermarkets and just get groceries online," Kim Kyoung Ey, general manager of OWL team Paris Eternal said on Reddit.

"Sadly, not a surprise, with how strong anti-China propaganda (is in the) US and with how poorly educated the average US citizen is; they think every Asian is a Chinese, therefore an enemy to the country. Red Scare all over again," one Reddit user commented.

"I'm sorry. I wish it were better here. I honestly grew up thinking we were. But every year we get just a little bit uglier, and I don't see it changing for a long time," another Reddit user said.

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