Lunatic-Hai, a pro-gaming team for OGN’s Overwatch Apex second season, suspended two of its members for misconduct for the duration of the event. The team is certainly lucky they’re made up of eight players instead of the usual six! The misconduct involved team members Geum “dean” Dong-geun and Lee “Leetaejun” Tae-jun and accused them of fan fraternization. It was said that these two young men were developing online relationships with multiple female fans. The leak apparently came after a few of these lucky ladies decided to kiss and tell, unfortunately for the popular pro-gamers.
As a result, both team members posted extensive apologies at the behest of Lunatic-Hai. The organization states on the team's website that “both players have done something they should not be doing as esports professionals. [Lunatic-Hai] has taken steps to prevent recurrence.”
Weird, right? Why is this a “scandal” at all? Well, that is actually a good question, but it's far more complicated than just a pro-gamer fooling around with his fans. There is a breach of trust between fans and celebrity/idol here, and it is a very scandalous issue in Korea and Japan. Some companies in those countries have dating bans, which may or may not be voluntary. These restrict celebrities - mostly female pop stars it seems - from dating “for their own good” to “protect” their image. It is often a part of the contract for some celebrities under the age of around 23, be they music idols or eSports players. If they must date, it is done very secretly. No one, sometimes not even family, is to know about it.
The idea here, is to keep young celebrities virtuous and “available” to participate in the fantasies of fans. As you might guess, some people believe this is unhealthy for both celebrities and fans. On the part of the celebrity, it confines their personal life to career and public image during one of the most sexually active years of our lives. It's when they're growing up and figuring out who we are as a person.
On the part of the fan, it's not healthy to think that your fantasies can be turned into real life expectations and limits on someone you might never even meet. This isn't a good foundation for the real relationships these fans might form. Now, we all have fantasies about our favorite actors, artists, and musicians. If you want proof, there's an entire tab dedicated to it on almost every decent porn site. Such fantasies are not always sexual of course, but often the mere possibility that you could be the one lucky fan that they fall in love/lust with is extremely enticing. So much so that, if you find out they're dating, you might feel a desperate jealousy. For some people this is strong enough to justify all sorts of actions, from no longer investing in the artist to even breaking the law. As you can see, these gamers' actions are scandalous regardless of what side of the debate you're on.
As you might guess, there is also the line of thinking that uses this “no dating” issue as a mirror to how Western society treats their celebrities. There are definitely North American people out there who fall into all of the above criteria. So yes, a scandal it is. It makes you think about what consequences such actions might have on the celebrity's career and personal life, as well as fans' lives.
Personally, no matter how in love you might be with a celebrity, I think it's very important to understand where the line between fantasy and reality is. You cannot live your life vicariously through someone else, and you should not be so driven to jealousy as to risk someone's career as a professional Overwatch gamer and tell the world they dated you.
Image Credit: Yaushie