Overwatch pro Josh 'Eqo' Corona fined and suspended for racist gesture (Updated)

Update: The Fusion announced today that Corona will be suspended for three games for the infraction and fined $2000. He's also had his streaming privileges revoked until June 17.   

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Corona issued an apology of his own, and pledged to make a personal donation of $3000 to the Anti-Defamation League's "No Place For Hate" campaign.

"I deeply regret making a mistake that has hurt so many people," he wrote. "My mistake on Saturday night is not indicative of who I am as a person, but it does remind me that I need to be more thoughtful in my words and actions."

"I would like to publicly apologize to my teammates, coaches, management, and most importantly, the Fusion family that has supported me ever since I joined the team. I'd like to channel my disappointment into energy and become a better teammate and have a positive impact on my organization and the Overwatch community."

The original story continues below Corona's tweet.

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Original story:

The recurrence of casual racism among esports pros, and the apparent ease with which it keeps being broadcast, is honestly distressing. Is it really so hard to stream for a couple of hours without doing something racist? The answer, apparently, is yes, which is why the Philadelphia Fusion of the Overwatch League has apologized for the behavior of Josh "Eqo" Corona, who recently made a slant-eyed gesture while talking about Korean players during a livestream. 

"I'm Korean," Corona said during the stream, responding to someone who pointed out that he isn't, after which he used his fingers to pull back the corners of his eyes. The Twitch clip of the moment has been deleted, but remains available on Streamable.

The Fusion has not yet commented on the issue but president Tucker Roberts said on Twitter that the team is "working on a punishment now." Corona also issued an apology, although unsurprisingly it was an "if you were offended" sort of mea culpa rather than an expression of understanding and regret.

"At the time I wasn’t aware that this might offend anyone if u watch my stream you will probably know that I love koreans and all I do is compliment them all the time ... this gesture was never with the intention to mock someone," he tweeted.

"Obviously l apologize to anyone that got offended this clip got is out of context a bit since I was complimenting the Koreans before the clip and after the clip and did the gesture more in a form of wanting to express myself being like them since I admire them not making fun."

The moment passed quickly and without invective, but despite Corona's claims of ignorance and intent, there's no doubt that the gesture is racist. As Kotaku pointed out, Yuli Gurriel of the Houston Astros was suspended for the first five games of the 2018 MLB season after making the same gesture during the 2017 World Series. Shortly after that happened, Colombian soccer player Edwin Cardona landed in trouble for doing the same thing during a game against the South Korean team. (And issued a similarly half-baked "sorry if you took offense" apology.)

As instances of bad behavior by professional streamers and esports players continue to pop up on a weekly basis, hopefully the message will start to sink in. I've reached out to the Overwatch League to ask if it plans any sanctions of its own against Corona, and will update if I receive a reply.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.