Richard Lewis "initiated physical contact" according to DreamHack

DreamHack Winter CSGO 2015 Benjamin Cotton

Photo credit: Dreamhack/Benjamin Cotton

Since writing yesterday's article about the violent altercation between CS:GO panelist Richard Lewis and Dota 2 pro player Jonathan 'Loda' Berg at DreamHack Winter 2015, I've been contacted by DreamHack offering further comment.

"We can confirm that an incident did occur between both parties" writes DreamHack's Michael Van Driel "and that at Loda's request we contacted the police so an official report could be filed."

"We had two staff members who witnessed the altercation between Richard Lewis and Jonathan Berg. Lewis and Kelly Milkies [Ong Xiao Wei] had been in an argument, Kelly had left the scene extremely upset and our staff were explaining to Richard Lewis how these types of yelling matches are not appropriate behaviour for our events. At this time then Jonathan Berg aggressively approached Richard Lewis and the two began to yell at one another, until Richard grabbed Jonathan's neck and began to strangle it, and then our staff intervened to end the physical confrontation."

DreamHack's witnesses do not believe that Berg touched Lewis before Lewis grabbed him. Van Driel writes:

"From what we witnessed it was Richard who initiated physical contact. Loda could be described as 'in his face' but did not initiate physical contact."

This account differs from what Lewis said on Twitter at the time and what he told me via e-mail yesterday. When asked to clarify exactly what Loda did, Lewis wrote:

“Backstage Loda's girlfriend had come over first and was berating me and I told her in blunt terms to go away and that if her boyfriend approached me I'd tell him the same. I then informed DreamHack about what was happening on Twitter and was talking about the veiled threats of ‘I'll come and see you’ or whatever. He walked over in the middle of that conversation shouting ‘what joke did you make about my girlfriend’ and came and stood as close to me as possible. No one intervened. He moved his head towards me until it was touching my face, so I grabbed him.”

Van Driel states that DreamHack's response was "to separate both individuals and do a full investigation of what occurred and involve both DreamHack security crew, and police. After long discussions and considerations of a lot of different options, our response for the event was going to be that both parties would be asked to leave the event, however both Jonathan and Richard were able to speak to one another and shake hands, in which case it was decided against removing both parties for the time being."

Nonetheless, DreamHack will not be working with Richard Lewis again. "Moving forward DreamHack's very quickly reached the conclusion that we will no longer be hiring or working with Richard Lewis indefinitely," Van Driel writes. "We cannot condone violent behaviour at our events. Jonathan will be welcome at all events in the future, however we would like to reiterate that aggressive behaviour is not acceptable."

Update: around the same time this article was published, DreamHack's Christian Lord posted the following statement on Twitter.

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Chris is the editor of PC Gamer Pro. After many years spent turning beautiful trees into magazines, he now oversees our online coverage of competitive gaming and esports.
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