UPDATE (6:00 p.m.): Misfits owner Ben Spoont responded with the following statement:
“You have noted that Hollywood.com did not disclose the relationship between us. We agree that was an oversight and have asked that Hollywood.com disclose that in future Misfits-related news.”
Remember seeing the “exclusive” story about a three-team Overwatch trade between Rogue, Luminosity and Misfits on the recently-launched Hollywood.com Esports website? Well, it turns out the site has an undocumented affiliation with the Misfits organization.
Misfits was purchased in June by an organization called eSports Now, LLC, which ESPN reported was financially backed by Mitchell Rubenstein, a communications attorney and CEO of Hollywood Media Company. Ben Rubenstein-Spoont, owner of Misfits, is listed as the founder and CEO of eSports Now.
Hollywod.com Esports launched on Medium at the beginning of November without much fanfare but has lately been publishing a handful of stories — including Monday’s exclusive — about Misfits. Mitchell Rubenstein just happens to be listed as the co-CEO of Hollywood.com.
Nowhere is the relationship between Hollywood Media Company, Hollywood.com and Misfits listed on the Hollywood.com Esports website. When asked, Spoon told Slingshot Hollywood.com does not own Misfits but is an affiliate.
The only evidence of any relationship between the organizations is at the very bottom of the Misfits (currently under construction) website.
It’s not illegal for such a relationship to exist, but it creates a direct conflict of interest if a team has a media affiliate that isn’t explicitly stated anywhere by either organization. It calls into question the integrity of any story published on the website, especially when promoting “exclusive” stories without acknowledging the relationship between the outlet and the team.
Further, the site’s esports editor, Anthony Backowski, is also the manager for Selfless’ Overwatch team, which presents another conflict of interest.
Let this be a kind reminder to anyone reading Hollywood.com’s esports content: They are an affiliate of Misfits.
Cover photo: Screenshot