Team YouPorn banned from ESL due to the links containing adult content are associated with their eSports organization and their prime business, says ESL.
The tournament organizer has banned Team YP under an existing rule that prohibits sponsors who are “widely known for pornographic … or other adult/mature themes and products,” according to the report. VentureBeat based the information off an email chain allegedly between an ESL representative and Team YP, informing the team of the rule and suspending them from playing at ESL events.
Statement recorded by ESL representative:
“Advertising pornography is not legal in the markets we operate in, and the vast majority of partners we’re working with have strict “no drugs, no alcohol, no pornography” rules that we’ve contractually taken on board. These aren’t new rules, but ones that have been in our rulebooks for a long time. We have spoken to Team YP manager earlier this year and in that conversation we’ve explained the situation and rules in detail, and offered to look for potential alternatives in a bigger group. At the same time, we’re consulting with our legal teams about this. We will inform the team and the management as soon as we have any updates.”
In a statement given to VentureBeat, Team YP esports coordinator Claire Fisher focused on how the ban would impact players on Team YP, including StarCraft 2 gamer Jeon “Dragon” Yong Soo and YP’s women’s CS:GO squad.
“While for some, our participation in esports has been controversial, stopping our players from competing because they are sponsored by us, in spite of Team YP operating as a completely SFW [safe for work] brand, clearly separated from any adult content, seems unfair to say the least,” Fisher wrote.
Team YP has worked to distance its brand from that of its primary sponsor, the pornographic video website YouPorn, by removing the YouPorn name and logo from its logo and merchandise, excluding links to YouPorn.com from the team website, and working to ensure that a user searching for Team YP would not find the sponsor’s site.
This isn’t the first time that an event organizer has tried to limit YP’s participation over their sponsor. In Dec. 2015, Capcom warned Team YP that their players would not be allowed to wear jerseys with the team’s logo for Capcom Cup 2015. In response, YP created an alternate jersey that blurred out the YP portion of the team’s logo, in part to make a statement about censorship.
ESL organizes premier events across most major esports disciplines, including CS:GO, Dota 2, League of Legends and StarCraft 2. A complete ban would prevent YP’s participation in a large number of high-profile tournaments, and could drive the team’s sponsor to move away from supporting esports. YP currently supports a CS:GO women’s roster, YP Ladies, plus Dragon and several Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat players. Until recently the team also fielded a Russian men’s CS:GO roster, but the players ended their relationship with the organization earlier this month, citing differing visions for the future.