The fact that LEC partners with Neom for it’s summer tournament might not strike you as a big deal initially, but it should. The announcement from LoL Esports today has faced huge backlash, and here’s why.
Firstly, let’s just clarify a few things. LEC stands for League Of Legends European Championship. So, it’s a pretty big deal in the competitive scene of League of Legends. But what is NEOM? Well, NEOM is the “next chapter for humanity”. Apparently.
NEOM is Saudi Arabia’s Megacity that is frankly outrageous. There are reports of an artificial moon, drone-operated taxis, and a better society. However, it has faced a lot of criticism since its announcement. Most recently, a Guardian article discusses how the megacity is being built on the “blood” and “bones” of the Huwaitat tribe.
NEOM has boasted it’s being built on virgin land, but this is land that partly belongs to the Huwaitat tribe. At least 20,000 members of the tribe are facing eviction due to NEOM. This is already horrific, but what’s worse is that it appears that this eviction is being lethally enforced. Abdul Rahim al-Huwaiti’s death in April is being described as an “extrajudicial killing”, with many expressing their belief that his shooting is the Saudi authorities setting an example. Anyone who speaks out will be shot.
Please, click here to see the full article: NEOM Guardian Article
What Are The LEC Thinking?
Honestly, it’s hard to imagine why they thought this would be a good idea. In an unprecedented time for the advocacy of civil rights around the world, the LEC partners with a nation that is sadly known for its lack of concern for these. In addition to this, the LEC tweeted the announcement while sporting a pride flag version of their logo! This is contradictory at the best of times, and very-much not good every other time.
Several Twitter users have expressed their concern. You can see this in the tweets below:
In addition to this, a number of Esports Casters and Riot Staff are speaking out against the announcement. See below:
LEC Partners With NEOM Official Statement
The official word from LoL Esports is tone-deaf, and exactly what you expect. It starts as follows:
NEOM is a new community that will be the home and workplace for more than a million citizens from around the world who want to be part of building a new model for sustainable living, working, and prospering in Saudi Arabia. It will include towns and cities, ports and enterprise zones, research centers, sports and entertainment venues, and tourist destinations all designed to play a leading role in global development – and will be championing the development of esports across the world.
For the full announcement article, please see here:
LEC Welcomes NEOM As Main Partner For The Summer Season