Bae “Bang” Jun-sik, AD Carry for defending League of Legends world champion SK Telecom T1, has become the center of controversy after a comment he made to one of his viewers on stream resurfaced months after it happened.
Someone in Bang’s stream a couple months ago (the exact date is unclear, but it was somewhere between February and April) left the comment that read “Hey Bang, Faker just got a $1,000 donation. Let’s work hard!” Bang’s response was to ban that viewer, and went on a rant that was saved by multiple viewers as a clip.
“Even if a hundred idiots put their pay together, it wouldn’t be comparable to mine, so work harder guys,” he said, clearly annoyed by the comments. “Why do you want to keep comparing (me to someone else?)”
Although the issue was a comparative blip at the time of the stream, it resurfaced recently in the face of SK Telecom T1’s faltering performance. With community members either heavily criticizing “Bang’s lack of professionalism to his fans,” or defending Bang as he was initially provoked by the viewer’s comment, the debate has raged for the better part of the month.
Bang issued an apology to his viewers on Saturday through Twitter, explaining that comparisons between he and Faker have been frequent, and that it has been a source of frustration for him. He also admitted that he has “a personality that doesn’t know how to keep things in,” and that he needs to express what’s on his mind at the moment.
“I feel like I still have many things I have yet to apologize for,” he wrote. “And I feel like I might have made mistakes in ways that I don’t even realize yet. I want to apologize to the fans who were hurt by my comments.”
Despite the apology, Bang has continued to be criticized, with fans claiming Bang’s tweets weren’t “a real apology.” The incident spawned multiple pieces by Korean esports news outlets, as well as a meme on Inven that attributes whatever Bang does as “worth 100 people” in a sarcastic and demeaning manner, as SKT continues to struggle.
SKT has lost three League Champions Korea matches in a row for the first time since it condensed two sister teams into one, and it seems like a ripe time for fans to criticize just about anything going on with the team. Obviously fans want their athletes to be respectful, but an extreme amount of backlash for a rather innocuous comment seems a bit extreme, no?
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games