After less than one week on air, the Brazilian broadcast TV channel Loading, dedicated to pop culture and esports, lost its whole esports journalism department, including Barbara Gutierrez and Chandy Teixeira, anchors of its daily esports news show Metagaming. The Esports Observer spoke with sources familiar with the story, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about the backstage happenings of the channel.
As TEO learned a few weeks ago, the TV channel was bought by the business group Kalunga in a public auction. The group then hired known local esports journalists to set up a daily esports news show, but that’s where the problems started: although they were correctly registered as employees, their employment contract never arrived, and agreed-upon benefits were never granted, such as healthcare insurance.
Besides that, the structure acquired by Loading was outdated, as the building and the equipment were previously owned by the Brazilian branch of MTV in the 2000s. Sources say that it was extremely challenging to produce the material to go on air, trying to deliver a 2020 product with technology from 20 years ago and not relying even on basic software for TV production, all while dealing with pressure from the management even with the lack of a formal employment contract. Allegedly some employees were in tears prior to the airing of the first episode of Metagaming on Monday.
But staff reached their limit when there were complaints regarding some reports aired on Metagaming. As the team was composed of experienced journalists, it was creating a mix of content for the show that was not only positive news. On Monday, during the premiere episode of the show, Chandy Teixeira conducted an investigative report on a possible fraud scheme related to a fundraising campaign led by a player on Twitch. Sources say that management of Loading did not like that report, saying that the purpose of the channel was to be a happy place, without controversial subjects.
Nevertheless, on Tuesday, in the last Metagaming to be aired, a report focusing on Vivo Keyd being left out of the Brazilian League of Legends Championship (CBLoL) franchise was part of the program. The report was not very positive for Riot Games, due to the bad timing on announcing the telecom company Oi, a direct competitor of Vivo, as a sponsor was mentioned – a story first covered by The Esports Observer.
This was the last straw for Loading management, who fired the esports Editor-in-Chief Vicenzzo Mandetta on the following morning, according to sources. Once again the journalists were ordered to produce only positive news, following a “positive agenda” of the channel, and forbidding approaches to controversial stories or even reports that would denounce and discuss sexism or discrimination in esports.
After this, the Metagaming crew, alleging they were hired to do proper journalism and were being censored, made a list of demands to management, requesting freedom of speech and to produce their reports with the seriousness the situations required. It is fair to point out that Metagaming was not a show full of negative news, quite the opposite, it was mainly positive, but the few reports deemed negative were deeply felt by Loading management.
The list of demands was rejected by Loading management, allegedly without any consideration or negotiation, on Thursday. It was already planned that Metagaming would not go on air due to the Loading League of Esports (LLE), a League of Legends (LoL) tournament organized by the channel, and on that evening the whole team decided to resign the next morning. But when they got to the office on Friday, Loading turned the tables and fired all 12 Metagaming team members.
The information provided by sources is in line with the official statement issued by Loading to The Esports Observer:
“Due to the misalignment between Loading’s positioning, focused on entertainment, and the Metagaming program’s editorial team, we decided to restructure the attraction.
It is important to note that Loading’s core is entertainment and a positive agenda. Thus, we will seek to deliver content that further enhances Esports, but with an editorial line focused on entertainment.
We publicly thank the entire Metagaming team that has shared with us these past few months, including the incredible debut. We followed different paths, but with the certainty of competence and success for all of you. Thank you for being part of our history.”
Sources say that Loading is not seeking the best for the esports scene, but simply seeks to use the community to generate an audience and profit from it. The sources also reported that the employment contract was finally presented to them at that moment, together with another document with the resignation terms. The team then refused to sign anything.
Later, the former Metagaming team started posting on Twitter informing the community that they were out of the channel and making a clear reference to the censorship in Brazil during the authoritarian military regime from 1964-1985, attaching recipes on their posts as those were used by the censors of the regime to cover unapproved articles.
The local esports community is with the journalists, expressing their regret on social media for what happened. Even the casters featured by Loading in its tournament Diego “Toboco” Pereira and Ravena Dutra, both widely known and popular with the LoL fans, announced that in solidarity with the journalists they would not be casting the LLE games anymore.
Published at Sat, 12 Dec 2020 00:39:28 +0000
Wisconsin-based education and computing furniture manufacturer Spectrum Industries has partnered with the Milwaukee Bucks’ Bucks Gaming NBA 2K League franchise to provide equipment to area nonprofits and high schools, and to develop and test the company’s line of esports-related furniture.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Nonprofits and local schools interested in starting an esports program are invited to apply for a chance to win gaming systems and furniture to jumpstart their esports program. One submission will be selected, according to the announcement.
The organizations will also collaborate on esports furniture and product designs, with Bucks Gaming players and staff working “closely with Spectrum Industries to develop and enhance its current esports product lines.” They will also help with testing and the “group sampling process.” The collaboration will be documented through a “season-long video series.”
Published at Sat, 12 Dec 2020 00:38:45 +0000