Former Overwatch League star Jehong ‘Ryujehong’ Ryu has been suspended from the Gen.G organization after reportedly making sexist comments on stream.
Widely regarded as one of the best Ana and flex support players around, Ryujehong is a familiar name to any Overwatch esports fan. He was one of the most popular players in OWL before stepping away from the competitive scene after the Vancouver Titans nuked their roster back in May 2020.
On January 11, 2021, Gen.G announced that RJH would be joining their org as a content creator, which makes sense, as he was a figurehead for the org’s Seoul Dynasty squad during the League’s first two seasons.
Following what was a very short honeymoon period, the Korean-based org has now suspended Ryu for sexist comments he made on stream that quickly caught the attention of social media, as you can see below:
@GenG_KR @arnoldwh Is this really the type of behavior GenG tolerates? I will translate what he said on his stream, might not deliver what the meaning conveys 100% but you can still see how misogynist or outright sexist he is. #ryujehong https://t.co/hAP716HEzh pic.twitter.com/ZNnmGpLuGR
— 김탄산소중이 (@whodoijohnburr) January 17, 2021
On January 16, Jehong streamed alongside a female streamer named Haegi, and reportedly made a number of sexist comments towards her multiple times, and even called her out for interrupting him, claiming that women shouldn’t interrupt men.
Since the stream happened the VOD has been deleted, but this is the internet, and the comments were quickly translated into English, kicking off the storm of social media backlash.
On January 19, Gen.G’s Chief Operating Officer Arnold Hur announced that the org was suspending Ryujehong “indefinitely” due to his on stream-comments.
“I’m personally very disappointed in the language used during the stream by Jehong. He was wrong, and I find it uncharacteristic of the person I knew who has always been a considerate, kind-hearted teammate,” Hur wrote. “Our belief is that whether you are a player or streamer, anybody with a platform should understand the responsibility of the higher standards that come with it. As such, we have suspended all of Jehong’s team-related activities indefinitely.”
Response on ryujehong pic.twitter.com/os64Nna1RG
— Arnold (@arnoldwh) January 19, 2021
Like Hur mentioned, Jehong did put out an apology of his own after the firestorm started, where he apologized for what he said, and promised to watch how he speaks in the future, but added he won’t be censoring himself either, according to a translation provided by @hannahhycho on Twitter.
“I am trying to move my streams towards the streamer Ryujehong. I know there are many people who used to watch my old streams who are struggling to adjust to the chat and are confused by the fact I will be using ‘streamer memes’ but I hope you can understand,” RJH wrote, according to the translation. “From now on, I will listen to feedback for my streams and chat to develop them further… I saw some messages from people who aren’t my fans and I want to tell them to stop fanning the flames.”
rough translation to ryujehong’s response to his stream pic.twitter.com/3Y3a2BrX4U
— hannah (@hannahhycho) January 17, 2021
Just in case there weren’t enough wrinkles to this story, Haegi, the female streamer who was broadcasting with Ryujehong when the incident took place, has come out and defended him according to translations by Reddit user Great-Reno, saying they were bantering back and forth and what happened wasn’t what it seemed.
“Why RJH gets all the blame when I made sexist jokes with him either? This is a bit undeserved,” Haegi said in a YouTube video posted after the outrage began, according to the translation. “I’m cool with it. Why does it matter when the person involved with the matter feels okay? I don’t see why people get offended by this. Live in comfort please.”
Now, even if it just was some friendly banter back and forth, the kind of language Ryujehong apparently used just doesn’t fly when you’re signed to a major esports org like Gen.G, and is also a huge disappointment to the greater Overwatch community who saw him as a role model, and just a genuine, stand-up dude.
i can’t believe i looked up to ryujehong as an ana player :/
— FRAN (@FRANA_OW) January 18, 2021
It remains to be seen when or if RJH will return from his suspension to being an active member of Gen.G.