Overwatch Player Lee Eui-Seok Speaks Out About Anti-Asian Racism in the US

Lee Eui-Seok, also known as “Fearless”, from the Overwatch team Dallas Fuel opened up about the Anti-Asian racism he’s faced living in the USA.

In his recent Twitch stream, the Overwatch pro player shared his experience as a South Korean person living in Texas during the pandemic.

While the original stream was in Korean, clips from it were translated by Florida Mayhem’s manager, Jade “swingchip” Kim, and put on Twitter. The post also invites the community of the “Overwatch League” (OWL) to spread the word against Asian hate with the #StopAsianHate movement.

Governor Greg Abbott recently eased COVID-19 restrictions in the state, opening up shops and restaurants, and rolling back mask mandates. “It’s pretty scary, people don’t even wear masks around here so it worries me,” Lee said during the stream.

This prompted him to talk more in-depth about his personal encounters with racism while in Texas. “Being Asian here is terrifying,” he said and described incidents where people would come up to him, remove their masks and cough on him.

Lee also shared he sometimes wears his team jersey when he goes out as a form of defence from harassment. “If I have my jersey on I think they realise we’re part of some kind of team, so they don’t bother us as much, but if I have my everyday clothes on, they run up to us, harass us, then run away.”

There has been a significant increase in Anti-Asian hate crime over the past year with a recent report by the Centre for the Study of Hate and Extremism suggesting that the number of incidents has almost tripled across 16 major US cities. This has partly been fuelled by rhetorics around the COVID-19 pandemic, such as former president Donald Trump referring to it as the “Chinese Virus” on multiple occasions.

“They call us Chinese, then harass us. The racism here is unspeakable,” Lee said at one point during his stream.

Dallas Fuel co-owner and former CEO Mike Rufail took to his personal Twitter account to condemn the harassment his players faced in Dallas.

In the video, he posted he said “Nobody should ever feel that their safety or their livelihoods are in danger, they should never feel threatened … just because of their race.” Rufail also said that measures are being taken to ensure the players’ safety when they go out.

Last month Activision Blizzard also issued a statement against Anti-Asian racism. In it, the company said they “condemn racism in the strongest possible terms” and “are working across our organisation” to do their part “to combat hate and ignorance.”

Words by Denitsa Gencheva


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