eSports.com Allegedly Owes Multiple Employees Months Worth of Pay (Updated)

Nicholas Barth,

March 24, 2018 6:07 AM

The esports news and cryptocurrency website has allegedly not paid multiple employees and freelancers proper compensation for work done with the organization.

Update: 9:56 AM PST - 3/24/2018

The former Chief Esports Officer and Co-Founder of eSports.com, Benjamin Fockersperger, has stated the following in a Facebook comment on a post regarding the situation with eSports.com

"I can just say: I am in a sharholder level fight with the investor on a lawyer level. I am not allowed to to say anything at this point, but yes - I know more about it. As soon as it is solved, I will share my side of the story. I am also also "affected"."

Update: 12:58 PM PST - 3/26/2018

eSports.com has released the following statement concerning their alleged lack of payment to freelancers working with the site.

"Recently, there have been occasional rumours about irregularities in our cooperation with freelancers. To this we explain the following:

We are aware that ambiguities in the assignment of freelancers by former employees of eSports.com may have occurred in some cases until November 2017. To the best of our knowledge, and based on the available documentation, these ambiguities have been completely eliminated. In addition, we have initiated an external audit to investigate all transactions. In case of any remaining uncertainties, please contact billing@esports.com.

Our eSports.com project is well on its way, we were able to finalise great deals recently and will be closing other great deals in the near future. We are delighted about the continuing great confidence of our growing community and are doing our very best to justify this trust in the future as well.

Michael Broda, CEO and Arne Peters, Strategic Adviser" 

Update: 11:02 AM PST - 3/29/2018

Dan Thompson has confirmed to Twin Galaxies that a resolution between himself and eSports.com has been agreed upon regarding the website's lack of payment to Thompson.  


Original Article: 

Dan Thompson is a freelance video producer and writer who has worked with NintendoLife.com, ComicBook.com, Switch Player magazine and is currently under contract with GameRevolution. His very first video review was of the small title Cibele and from there he has leapt into a career in journalism in the video game industry.

After his time with NintendoLife, Thomspon began to pursure other freelance opportunities through networking with other freelance writers in the gaming industry along with interviewing with multiple sites that he had met at E3. With none of these options resulting in employment opportunities, Thompson was contacted by a correspondent for eSports.com after posting his work in various spots. eSports.com is a esports media and cryptocurrency outlet that recently signed a $2,000,000 sponsorship deal with popular Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team Astralis.

"They loved my voice and practically hired me right away," Thompson told Twin Galaxies, "It seemed like a dream come true." Thompson and eSports.com talked about a possible $3000 to $4000 per month contract, but in the meantime Dan's contact had agreed to pay him $25 per hour. 

"I was elated, apparently, they bought the domain name with a 7 figure deal, and had opened up the site for people to donate towards their cryptocurrency which would apparently fund the site. It seemed like someone had finally figured out a way to jumpstart a new gaming website, a niche which had long reached stagnation, and found a way to make it profitable. I had taken weeks off of my call center job, advising my supervisors that I'd be most likely moving to Los Angeles to the new site which I was told was opening shortly, in a call I was told that 'they were just looking for the right office space,'" Said Thompson. 

Soon after, Dan began receiving assignments from eSports.com that included tutorial videos, interviews and profiles. "I had worked tirelessly as if it was a full-time job and I was in a crunch," stated Thompson, "In my first month, I had definitely reached or exceeded the 3,000 dollar mark that was agreed with the $25 an hour." 

Suspicions Arise and Confirmed

Even with an agreed upon wage and a great deal of work assigned to him, Thompson always felt that there was a possibility that he was not going to be compensated for his work. "I edited videos tirelessly, but I always felt like maybe I was possibly being burned. Having had a lot of experience with the industry, I was used to not getting paid for my work sometimes. If "exposure" was a currency, I'd be drowning in wealth," Thompson explained, " However, I thought that a site of such stature that had so much money to set up 7 figure partnership deals with esports teams, would be able to pay their video editor that wage without trouble. Especially for a new site that was just starting and required donations for their Initial Coin Offering (ICO), they wouldn't want negative press like that." 

The first warning sign that alerted Thompson to something potentially being wrong was with the interviews he was assigned to edit, as he could tell that the people he was working with were unfamilar with the video game industry. " It seemed strange, alien almost, I remember showing people the interview and the first thing they noted was how strangely awkward everyone was and how much focus was on their cryptocurrency. My job was to strip out the awkwardness, but a lot of it was still there and there wouldn't really be much of a video without it," stated Thompson. 

eSports.com had hired various production companies to create videos for them, but it became obvious to Thompson that the organization had not done their homework on these companies, as many of Thompson's assignments were "fixing" the videos done by these companies because they did not meet eSports.com's standards.

Thompson's fears about payment became more concrete when he had heard rumors about staff reshuffling in the company. It was at that point that he was unsure about his position with the website and if he was going to get paid for the videos he had created. However, until proven wrong he was holding out hope that he would be compensated. "At this point, I assumed that I'm was going to be paid for the work I did for the site," stated Thompson, "The videos were published (I was asked to sign up for a service called WeTransfer which cost around $20 a month in order to share the video projects I made to him) on their site, so there's no way they'd back out right?" 

The Controversy Makes its Way into the Public Eye

February 19th was the date that Thompson began reaching out to eSports.com regarding his lack of compensation for multiple interview videos he had worked on for the organization. Communication ceased after this initial exchange, until March 22nd when eSports.com replied to a tweet from Thompson, made on March 19th that publicly stated how he had not received any amount of the wages he was owed, with a response you would not expect from a professional media outlet. 

A screenshot of Thompson's providing proof that he had worked on a particular video for eSports.com.
A screenshot of Thompson's providing proof that he had worked on a particular video for eSports.com.

When asked if he was the only creator for eSports.com that was not being compensated for their work Thompson explained that there were other members of eSports.com who had not been compensated for some servives, at least one of which he learned of personally. In addition to Thompson speaking to his own situation, he proceeded to mention Benjamin Kratsch, who has done work for eSports.com in the past as a Global Content Director.

Kratsch has been contacted and declined to comment on this tweet or the situation descibed therein.

Cryptocurrency and its Role in the Controversy

With the majority of the content being produced on eSports.com coming from freelance content creators, the following was the goal of the esports portal in how they were going to pay these content creators and is quoted from the archived explanation of eSports.com's cryptocurrency, Esports Rewards Tokens (ERT), from esportsobserver. 

"This esports content portal will invite the esports community to submit editorial content, curated coaching lessons, stats, streams etc. These users will be paid in the site’s cryptocurrency, pending the popularity of their work. The token pre-sale raised $5 million, though the final total of the ICO itself has not yet been announced."

Thompson explained to Twin Galaxies how these funds were allegedly not being used as advertised. "The money (as far as I know) was not being used to pay content creators, as I myself was definitely not being paid. Over $5,000,000 of the $20,000,000 final goal was given. After that money was provided it seemed like people kept dropping from the company like flies. It seemed like the company was just running with the money, and various production companies and contributors went unpaid for months of work." 

We have reached out to eSports.com for a comment on the situation and will update this story once we have heard back. 

(cover photo courtesy of Medium)



Discussion

You need to be logged in to post a comment.

Join us