League of Legends YouTuber gets banned for hate speech

Sivir, League of Legends

It's well established that Riot does its utmost to choke out League of Legends toxicity, and prominent YouTuber Dunkey learned that the hard way when he was banned for toxic behavior. It's not appropriate to reprint his words here (they're in the embedded video), but they involve lots of swear words and suggestions on how to die.

Dunkey posted a video defending himself against the ban (as spotted by Kotaku), and since it was published at the weekend it has racked up over a million views. Dunkey's position is stubborn: he thinks League of Legends would be boring without trash talking, and adds that Riot should have acknowledged his services to the game–after all, he's been actively promoting it via his videos for years now.

Someone at Riot must acknowledge Dunkey's influence, because a spokesperson for the company has deigned to respond to the YouTuber's video. On Ask.FM, lead game designer of social systems Jeffrey Lin addressed the outrage.

"It's really unfortunate. Many Rioters love Dunkey's content, and I've unloaded my share of 'not even close babyyyyy' jokes around the office," Lin wrote.

"However, we really can't show favoritism to someone just because they are a pro or a known content creator. This isn't really a debate about whether trashtalking is OK or not OK in games; we've talked a lot in the past about how we're OK with players bantering with their friends but you should be careful when interacting with strangers who may not understand your intentions–especially if you're using hate speech or slurs. We have a zero tolerance policy against hate speech, racism, homophobia, and sexism and that policy stands whether you're a random player, a pro player, or a Youtube celebrity."

It's worth reading Lin's full response over here, but the situation drives one point home: it doesn't matter who you are, toxicity will get you banned in League of Legends.

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.