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Riot fines TSM $75,000, places TSM CEO Andy Dinh on probation for bullying

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Andy Dinh, CEO and co-founder of the esports organization TSM, has been fined $75,000 and placed on a two-year probation following an investigation by the North America League of Legends Championship Series (LCS), Riot Games announced Wednesday.

The findings of that investigation open with the declaration that “the League believes that there was a pattern and practice of disparaging and bullying behavior exhibited by Andy Dinh toward TSM players and staff members.” The ruling concludes that Dinh broke two LCS rules regarding profanity, hate speech and harassment.

TSM spokesperson Gillian Sheldon said the organization would not be commenting on Riot’s announcement.

Riot Games produces and publishes games such as “League of Legends” and “Valorant,” in which TSM fields rosters; the developer also runs several esports leagues including the LCS. In Wednesday’s competitive ruling, Riot’s head of North American esports Chris Greeley writes that the $75,000 fine is three times the maximum fine for misconduct by an LCS team member, reflecting the league’s belief that the pattern of “abusive and harassing conduct” stretched over the course of several years. The money will be donated to an anti-bullying or mental health charity.

From May: At TSM and Blitz, staff describes toxic workplace and volatile CEO

During the two-year probationary period, an independent monitor will operate a tip line, allowing all TSM employees — not just esports athletes or adjacent staff — to report potential instances of misconduct and rule violations on Dinh’s part. In that same time period, TSM will also be required to issue a notice — approved by the league — to all current employees and new hires, offering access to the tip line and explaining why it was instituted.

“TSM and Dinh have committed themselves to a culture shift within their organization and we want to provide space for that positive shift to occur,” reads the ruling. “However, we also want to ensure that should that shift not occur, the consequences within the Riot ecosystem are clear. Any finding by the LCS, or any other Riot governing body, that Dinh has violated our rules during this probation period will bring severely enhanced penalties.”

In addition, Riot demanded that within 60 days, TSM provide evidence that Dinh has completed sensitivity training and executive coaching from a provider approved by the LCS.

In May, a separate investigation commissioned by TSM and run without Dinh’s input or involvement found “no unlawful conduct” by the CEO. In a conciliatory note released alongside that investigation’s findings, Dinh admitted that in the past, he had taken an “aggressive and harsh tone,” and promised to undergo coaching.

The May results of TSM’s internal inquiry faced some pushback from employees at the organization. During a TSM town hall at which the results were first shared, one employee raised questions about the organization’s commitment to changing its workplace culture given Dinh’s description of the allegations raised against him as “highly exaggerated.”

Some participants in the company’s investigation told The Post they found the narrow focus on unlawful conduct and the legal definition of harassment and protected classes “odd.”

TSM finds ‘no unlawful conduct’ in investigation of CEO Andy Dinh

The Players Association for the North American League Championship Series, which kick-started the investigation, heralded Riot’s results as a historic step forward for esports.

“Never before has an association of esports players called for an independent misconduct investigation, never before has a developer conducted such an investigation with collaboration from a PA, and never before have outcomes been imposed on a partner team that pointed toward real change to a toxic workplace,” wrote Phil Aram, executive director of the players association for the North American League Championship Series, in a statement to The Post. “The findings and associated consequences announced today have the potential to ensure a lasting impact on the workplace at TSM that will benefit all their players and staff. We are pleased to see strong action from Riot and the LCS team on this matter.”

This is a developing story, and will be updated.


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