“James is an ass”–Gabe Newell

6 min read
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After Friday’s chaos over the immediate removal of James “2GD” Harding as the host of the Shanghai Major, Valve CEO Gabe Newell made a post on Reddit offering a short summary of the decision. The only problem was this was not a statement, but rather an extremely disconnected response on the current matter. Harding responded in turn calling Gabe an ass, and of course the community was up in arms.

Fortunately Gabe’s opinion of James was not the only announcement he made. He also told Reddit that the entire production crew had been fired after continuous problems with the production, which essentially was extremely poor for a $3 million tournament. Harding took the mature response and slept on it before releasing his 16 page statement entering an extremely personal account of Dota 2, Valve and hosting previous events.

Before we get into the thick of things, allow me to take some time to explain a few important details which began with the firing of James Harding, and ended with the entire production team being fired. The production was an absolute mess from internet drops, sound issues and just general production mishaps. In the video below you can in fact hear one of the production managers, we can only assume, screaming at an employee in the background.

It’s rather inaudible but a few Chinese speaking Redditor’s offered a brief translation:

‘Bujiao you wenti, lingzhen. [2x]. ni thingbudong? LINGZHEN, BUJIAO!! [times many]’

“In english it means ‘I dont want any issues (any more) lingzhen (given name in china), do you understand/hear me?. LINGZHEN, DON’T (DO THAT).”

Other’s transcribed the screaming at the end to be along the lines of “ANSWER ME, ANSWER ME,” but as I mentioned it is rather unclear. If it wasn’t clear yet that the production team was a major issue, Chinese translator Bonnie put out a Tweet detailing her experience. It’s an extremely long Tweet, but to sum it up: Bonnie was hired as the translator but instead was used as a middle man and in turn took over production acting as the direct link between the production team and the hosts/casters.

My Job Scope
I was approached by KeyTV a week ago to come to the event as a translator. Their staff were entirely Chinese and I was to be the conduit to relay messages from the director to the English talent.
After the first BO3 broadcast, we realized that the time taken to translate messages from the director and to take cues from him was causing big delays and rocky transitions. Everyone was talking over me (I was the lowest tier in the hierarchy) during the broadcast. So from the 2nd bo3 onwards I had a much wider job scope:
– Run between analyst room and broadcast room to confirm names and sequence of analysts.
– Supervise editing of all CG (names of casters, analysts, next match team images, etc)
– Communicate with analysts and casters to do sound checks
– Take lead over ENTIRE production crew and cue transitions, switcher, highlights recorder (This involves monitoring and listening to the talent so I know when to change scenes)
If you have experience in production this is actually the role of a “director”.

Inevitably this is what lead to the production team being fired, and the Major in turn went to shambles.

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James Harding responds

As I mentioned above, James Harding took his time and delivered a 16 page statement after being asked by Valve to “put it on ice.” The statement is an extremely detailed account of Harding’s past experiences with Valve, and the experience at the Shanghai Major. This is apparently the segment which got Harding fired.

“So, The segment finishes. I go to production room to ask Bonni the producer when she thinks we will start again. She doesn’t know but tells me she will come get us from the dining room when she knows. Then rushing around the corner comes Bruno.

Bruno: James… You’re fired

James: What?

I peer at his phone he is holding, He has an email open, I can quickly read The mail is  from Gabe Newell, That much I saw. I cannot read it, but it appears to be about 3-4 sentences. I looked at his phone because for a brief moment he was just staring at it in disbelief. So.. I joined in.

I ask why?

Bruno: Bottom Bitch Joke, Disrespectful towards players…”

For clarity it was Bruno (James’ best friend) who lobbied for him to get the job as host after refusing to another Dota 2 event after The International 4 (which he explains in the statement). Being notified by your best friend that you’d been fired was a surreal feeling, which I’m sure you can understand on James’ behalf.

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Throughout the statement Harding expressed his opinion and feelings towards how it was handled, but my favourite part of the entire statement had to be this:

“So, If I’m wrong Gabe, and you just fired me because i’m not your cup of tea as a host. That sucks, you [email protected]#$% up.”

As unprofessional as that may sounds, he did, and the community are up in arms and they’re not stopping there.

Last Updated: February 27, 2016

Kyle Wolmarans

Critical Hit’s esports guy. I talk about esports and drink whiskey. I also write and cast for elsewhere – but my work here is independent of that.

  • what world are we living in when commentators are being seen as more important than the players and sponsors…

    I don’t get it? The guy got fired by the people who pay him because they didn’t like the way he worked,,., why is this news?

    • Luca Tucconi

      The CEO of the contracting company ended up publicly defaming him. Could be compared to the Gareth Cliff saga.

      • Luca Tucconi

        I am sure its ok to fire him, but to call him an ass on one of the largest public forums is a bit rough haha

    • xeRa

      Except that he was fired for what he was asked to do, and what he’s always done at valve (the employer) events.

      Or maybe just read the transcript if you don’t get it? Not that difficult.

      • I know why he was fired.. I’m saying I find it strange that casters are the hero’s in eSports and not the actual players.

        • BakedBagel

          Well i can see why, hosts/casters are the gateway to the players, at an event, Fans get addicted to a personality. Hence why James was so loved. Anyway 🙂

      • RustedFaith

        Valve asking him to be himseelf doesnt mean his got Carte Blanche on what is allowed or not. He was a dickhead on the panel he even belittled his fellow panellists with over a million viewers watching ? Because Valve said he must be himself would it be ok if he killed someone because he is him self ??? That’s a very weak argument that gets used by 10 year old primary school kids. He is grown up and should be able to think for himself, unfortunately he failed at that and now have to live with it.
        .
        He made dodgy jokes about disabled porn that was in his hotel room on the telly and made the Bottom Bitch or similar crude “jokes”. You can say he was just joking but a insult with a smile is still a insult …. especially with millions watching …

        Im very open minded myself and dont like things being overly professional but this was fucking cringe worthy.

        “Just be yourself” doesnt mean he could go of making jokes about disabled porn, rape, insulting players and basically being a dick to everyone.

        He deserves it and I agree fully with Gabe after doing my own research.

    • Robin Stuart Pretorius

      In all aspects of watching people play games, the host of the video is what keeps many entertained. He became a face for watching Dota events, many people would’ve just tuned in to be entertained by him. Even in post rugby match breakdowns, many people stay tuned because they like to see some of their old favorite players break down the match, if it was people they didn’t know, would they even bother watching and rather skip to another channel? He just earned a fandom as people enjoyed his hosting, now hes gone, the fandom rages on.

  • DeWet Lombard-Bovéy

    Is that 16 pager the reason why he got fired? It looks like he posted that after he got fired? Other sources also say that he posted that after he got fired? Just wondering if I understood wrong?

    • DeWet Lombard-Bovéy

      I take it you are referring to a segment in the doc? Sorry it read like the doc was the reason. 😛

      • Haha my head was doing gymnastics there trying to figure out what you were saying. He released that doc after he took some time to think it over. It was very professionally stated, bar the grammar and spelling.

  • Shamz

    Time to end Valve. Shut it down for good. Nobody wants drm in their life anyway.

  • Dane

    Gabes of Our Lives
    The Bold and the Newell

    Pls don’t turn eSports into a platform of behind the scenes drama kthx bye. <3

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