Carlos Rodriguez, the CEO of esports organization G2, has apologized and taken eight weeks of unpaid leave from his position after sharing a video (opens in new tab) of himself partying with right wing social media personality Andrew Tate.
Tate is under investigation by Romanian police in connection to rape and human trafficking charges. According to Romanian newspaper Gândul (opens in new tab), Andrew Tate and his brother Tristan's villa was raided by Romanian police in April. Police for the county of Ilfov were notified by the American Embassy that a US citizen may have been detained by the brothers. No arrests have been made, and Tate claims that the raid was a swatting incident. The case seems to remain open, and the Romanian police do not appear to have corroborated the swatting claim.
Tate is perhaps more famous for his "manosphere" social media presence, which was recently moderated off most social media platforms, as well as "Hustler's University," a paid collection of online courses on making money. According to The Guardian (opens in new tab), one piece of advice included in a Hustler's University class on social media advised: "What you ideally want is a mix of 60-70% fans and 40-30% haters. You want arguments, you want war."
On September 17, Rodriguez shared a phone camera video to Twitter of a celebration for G2's League of Legends team qualifying for worlds. A circle of individuals can be seen passing champagne bottles and sparklers, including Tate, clearly visible in the center of the group.
The post drew attention and controversy. Rodriguez initially doubled down, tweeting (opens in new tab): "Nobody will ever be able to police my friendships, I draw my line here. I party with whoever the fuck I want."
That attitude did not last. On September 18, Rodriguez shared a two-part apology (opens in new tab) on Twitter, claiming that he wishes to stand for "absolute equality of opportunity regardless of who you are or where you come from," and that these ideals are "what gaming is all about." The executive went on to say that he "failed to read this room right."
A half hour later, the official G2 Esports Twitter account put out an apology (opens in new tab) addressed to the "G2 Army." The organization revealed that it would have Rodriguez take eight weeks of unpaid leave in response to the controversy.
It's unclear how the move substantially addresses the situation, but it will give online communities time to cool off and get mad about something else in the intervening weeks. Rodriguez, who Forbes estimates to be worth $105 million, seems to be getting a two-month vacation. After that time, the highly successful esports organization will once again be led by someone willing to associate with an alleged human trafficker, noted misogynist, and someone who, according to the Daily Beast (opens in new tab), publicly stated that "40%" of the reason he relocated to Romania was because he believed the Romanian police were less likely to pursue accusations of sexual assault.