Esports organization Virtus Pro has terminated its relationship with "individuals who've been managing VP social media" following a tweet of an image of its Dota 2 team standing behind an anonymous woman that asked, "Who's gonna 'ride' the Mercedes this year?"
Paul, this was indeed totally unacceptable and the tweet was deleted less than 10 minutes after it was posted. On behalf of @virtuspro I would like to apologise and assure we'll be taking measures to ensure it won't happen again.October 25, 2018
"To follow up to yesterday's incident I'd like to confirm we've ended all relationships with individuals who've been managing VP social media lately. We've also implemented additional internal protocols to ensure things like this never happen again," Virtus Pro general manager Roman Dvoryankin tweeted a day after his initial response. "Once again, apologies for that."
Dvoryankin said in followup tweets (translated from Russian) that the obvious sexism of the image wasn't the only problem: VP also took issue with "the disrespectful attitude towards the sponsor of the tournament." Mercedes-Benz is an ESL sponsor and awards cars to tournament MVPs, but the tweet was clearly intended to imply a different kind of "ride."
Based in Russia, Virtus Pro is a significant force in esports, currently fielding teams in CS:GO, Dota 2, Fortnite, and Paladins. It won the CS:GO title in Katowice in 2014 and finished second at the Eleague Major in Atlanta in 2017, and its Dota 2 team put together a run of five first-place tournament finishes through the end of 2017 and the first half of 2018.
It's not known how many members of the Virtus Pro social media team were let go in the wake of the tweet, or how the org will handle social media going forward. But its reaction to the tweet stands in contrast to that of GOG, which has failed to address problems with its social media team despite repeated recent missteps. I've emailed VP for more information, and will update if I receive a reply.