Former Overwatch League general manager Susie Kim ruffled more than a few feathers during a Reddit AMA Monday when she offered up tired and tacitly homophobic criticisms of her former employer’s decision to hold a LGBTQ Pride Day.
When asked by Reddit user Ryan-M-Holt about OWL’s approach as a global league to differing cultural beliefs, Kim said she disagreed with the league’s decision “to officially celebrate [Pride Day] knowing that it would not be accepted in certain parts of the world.”
“I am going to say something that might piss off some people. I felt that, while Pride Day at OWL was really freakin awesome, they should have just let the teams decide to participate in it and perhaps encouraged the teams to do something special. China and Korea definitely have different views when it comes to sexuality/gender choices (as do some other more conservative countries around the world) and I didn’t think that it wasn’t right for OWL, a GLOBAL league, to officially celebrate it knowing that it would not be accepted in certain parts of the world.
Don’t get me wrong ([and] before someone says I’m homophobic and anti-pride, because I’m not) seeing Valiant with their patches, Spitfire with their pins and other teams CHOOSING to be involved to voice their opinions and support was fantastic. LA and London are places where openly supporting gay rights is accepted. I wish the whole world would be as open and accepting but unfortunately, that’s not the case at times.”
The former London Spitfire GM’s points about the differing levels of cultural acceptance of LGBTQ people in Asian countries are accurate. The South Korean broadcast of OWL’s Pride Day festivities was heavily edited to minimize the amount of visible LGBTQ imagery citing “cultural reasons”.
But that doesn’t mean that LGBTQ communities within such conservative nations should be left in the lurch when it comes to representation. LGBTQ OWL fans with roots in Asian nations that stigmatize their community were quick to respond to Kim with those sentiments.
even though I don't even go to OWL anymore, this sums up my main problems with Suzie's comments.— Ginny Woo PAX Aus (@ginnywoes) September 10, 2019
I'm a queer person from a country which censors gay media. we are not invisible. using Asian countries' conservative policies to scapegoat tired homophobic opinions is a No. https://t.co/Jz3eCbYfXC
Non-domestic LGBT representation can be very important and valuable for LGBTQ+ people (and other political minorities) in more conservative countries, bc that LGBT rep will be shielded from domestic political backlash.https://t.co/9eTL5lllJn— Ana’s Tal Mask (@gatamchun) September 10, 2019
Kim continued to poorly explain her position by dragging OWL’s decision to not celebrate “other significant global holidays” in favor of “American holidays.”
“Mother’s and Father’s days are different in the UK as they are in the US (in Korea, they have ‘Parents’ Day’) but the Mother’s day segment was on the US based day,” Kim wrote. “Let’s get Canada Day in there, and Korean Independence day and possibly other Chinese holidays too! We are a GLOBAL league, we should celebrate significant global days.”
This isn’t the first time Kim has come under fire for positions on the struggles of marginalized groups. Her proud assertion that she hasn’t been subject to gender or racial discrimination during her esports career was criticized for being dismissive of similar issues female industry professionals definitely face.
Her comments were also questioned after the revelation that she hid her relationship with problematic OWL caster Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles for five years out of fear of sexist comments from the public.
Fans expecting an apology for Kim’s overall statement remain unsatisfied, though she did offer amends for stating that sexual orientation and gender are “choices.”
“Nah that was poor wording on my part and 100% a mistake. I know very well that it’s not a choice. For that, I apologize,” Kim stated.