Valve axes Dota 2 eSports host and production company

Gabe Newell branded James "2GD" Harding "an ass" on Reddit following problematic broadcast

Valve has fired the host of its Shanghai Master Dota 2 event, James "2GD" Harding, with Gabe Newell taking to Reddit to publicly call him "an ass" by way of explanation.

Harding was hosting the English language stream for the event, which has a prize pool of $3 million to be split among 16 participating teams. The issues with Harding's approach to hosting were evident almost immediately, with The Verge noting the use of a highly provocative word beginning with the letter "C" in his introduction, as well as a lamentation of the lack of pornography on his hotel's television service.

Valve's Gabe Newell addressed the matter on Reddit, where he confirmed that the company had taken issue with Harding at previous eSports events. "Some Valve people lobbied to bring him back for Shanghai, feeling that he deserved another chance," Newell said. "That was a mistake. James is an ass, and we won't be working with him again."

Newell also said that Valve had decided to axe the production company responsible for the streaming of the Shanghai Major, which had suffered from a number of technical and production issues. "They will be replaced, and we hope to get this turned around before the main event," Newell added.

Speaking to his 58,000 Twitter followers in the aftermath of Valve's decision, Harding expressed his surprise.

Harding remained somewhat diplomatic on Reddit, where he directly addressed the "more personal than professional" tone of Newell's comments. "Just for the record gabe [sic], I don't think you are an ass," Harding said. "But I don't think you are right about me (well maybe you are a bit of an ass for calling me an ass, but let's find out what others think shall we?)"

In the full statement that followed, Harding claimed that Valve had asked him to put any public comment "on ice." He complied, only to discover Newell's comments on Reddit the following day. The 18 pages of Harding's statement are too much to summarise, but you can read it in full here.

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Latest comments (3)

Michael Harrell Studying CS, University of UtahA year ago
You mean Valve was paying him to hype up their game/event, and not lament the lackluster porn options on his free trip to China? I guess Valve should have been more clear.
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Anthony ChanA year ago
I don't get this guy... Seriously, the industry is trying to put eSports on the map in terms of real TV airtime, trying to legitimize the events as true sports, and we still have these commentators. Harding actually tries to justify with this in response to his pornography and masturbation comments: “I agreed and explained I had to open with something strong due to [the fact] I haven’t been hosting for some time and my fan base expect this. And I just needed to do something high-brow once, to appease my fans and loosen up the panel. And now we can continue onwards.”

The world doesn't need fan service. It needs smart, experienced, and knowledgeable commentators who can call the plays and run up the strategies. It doesn't need commentators who belittle players. NFL has Super Bowl, and FIFA has World Cup and I have yet to see a commentator who makes comments like this to his "fans" - even though arguably both NFL and FIFA have male fans with the same immature desires watching the sport.

It may be a stretch, to say the least, to compare Super Televised Sports to DOTA championships; but it is still a dream for the industry to realize that eSports has the potential to become that grand and large-scale in the medium future.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! A year ago
Free speech doesn't include freedom from responsibility when one says stupid things that get one into trouble with one's employer. That and "being yourself" doesn't mean ALWAYS being "on" and only catering to your base that wants you to say outrageous things all the damn time.

Well, I guess Harding can run for office here in the US as we have a few people who think this sort of thing is just fine for a candidate for the highest office in the land to do. Yuck.
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