Dota 2: Desk veteran Redeye leaves esports following allegations of abuse and professional misconduct

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Photo by: Helena Kristiansson for ESL

Esports veteran and desk host Paul “Redeye” Chaloner announced Monday he’s stepping down as Managing Director of talent agency Code Red Esports and that he’s leaving the esports industry for good, following serious allegations from caster and host James Banks. 

Initial allegations from James Banks

In a pair of lengthy Google Docs, Banks shared his own experience — as well as those of colleagues — working with Chaloner on various occasions. Banks mentioned several instances of professional misconduct including “verbal abuse, holding other talent back, lies about other talent, and abuse of power”, as well as physical assault. 

“Redeye has done some incredibly horrible and disgusting things to me and others within the esports scene, abusing his position and power for many years. I made the tweet above because even after seeing him again back then, I felt nervous, uncomfortable and physically sick. This is a man who nearly drove me to suicide many years ago.” 

The caster further mentioned that while his intentions were to made this information public for a long time now, he was threatened by Redeye’s colleague and Code Red’s COO Luke Cotton. If he would spill the beans, Cotton would bring up insensitive words from Banks’ past, Banks wrote, which could ruin his esports career and position within the industry. According to Banks, Cotton and Code Red would also approach journalists and used their influence in the scene to block the story for going public. 

Banks added:

“No matter what I felt this needed to be said, Redeye and Code Red have made attempts to damage my career, my life and now taking me back to a dark place I don’t ever want to visit again. I won’t allow these type of people to ruin my life and put me into depression or let me have thoughts of suicide again.” 

James Banks brought up the initial allegations against Redeye. Photo by: WePlay Esports

Redeye and Luke Cotton respond

Chaloner and Cotton both responded to Banks’ allegations, with Cotton publishing 13 pages of screenshots, detailing the conversation he and Banks had after the allegations were made. 

“I have published the conversation I had with James Banks below. I stand by my remarks. Within it I allude to comments I made during this period: I am sure these would be seen as unacceptable. James can publish any of these if he wishes. They were given by someone who was being persecuted based on their sexuality.

To address another of his claims made towards Code Red, we have never attempted to stop any journalists publishing any story about any of us, our business or any talent we work with. Banks says he has screenshots proving otherwise: publish them.”

In his response, Chaloner denied allegations of assault, stating:

“I want it to be very clear: there was NO physical assault, there was no court case between the person I had the argument with, and there was no out of court settlement of any kind. This simply didn’t happen this way. […]

The incident James refers to occurred in late 2015 after a period of a lot of stress for many and some very long days for the team and I – information which I am providing for context, and not as an excuse for my behaviour that day. The incident happened during normal working hours at Gfinity with a managerial level colleague in which we’d argued about something (the subject of which I can’t even recall) and then it got more and more heated until we were nose to nose and shouting at each other. Neither of us punched each other. We both walked away, discussed it with management the following day, apologised to each other and moved on. Here is a screenshot of a conversation with someone who had worked at Gfinity at that time (name redacted for anonymity), commenting on the situation and that no punches had been thrown.”

Chaloner also denied allegations of intervening with journalists’ work and of stopping talent get work. 

Resolution

In a follow-up document, Banks published several more testimonies from esports insiders and their experiences working with Chaloner. Banks also brought up the court case against Chaloner for alleged domestic and child abuse — a case where he was found not guilty. 

This added fuel to the already raging fire against Chaloner. Banks’ documents aired during the still ongoing #MeToo wave happening in esports and gaming, which led to several prominent figures being accused or chased out of the scene, including Dota 2’s Grant “GranDGranT” Harris and Toby “TobiWan” Dawson.

In a Tweet from Monday, June 29, Chaloner confirmed he’ll be leaving esports for good.

“I will no longer be hosting esports eventsw or continuing public life within esports. I have resigned as Managing Director of Code Red with immediate effect.”

Chaloner also mentioned that while he was able to deal with initial allegations, the moment his family was brought into the conversation became the tipping point.

“I might have been able to cope with all the shit being thrown at me (a mix of truths, half truths and falsehoods) but when my children were dragged into this, that went beyond any reasonable attack and became cruel and vicious. I’ll reiterate what I said in the first post I made two days ago: I went to court and was found not guilty. Dredging this up for public consumtpion is not fair to me or my children.”

Redeye’s departure from the industry ends a career spanning almost 20 years. For some fans, Redeye has been the talent that introduced them to Counter-Strike and the host of three CS:GO Majors, while for other he’s the host of four The International tournaments (2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019) as well as six Dota 2 Majors. 

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