Richard Lewis picked up the Esports Journalist of the Year award at the Esports Awards 2019 last weekend, though used his acceptance speech to call out large chunks of the games press. In his speech, Lewis criticized Polygon, Kotaku, and Waypoint for their ventures into esports coverage, accusing them of gatekeeping “our industry.”
The British journalist took to the stage to receive his second Esports Journalist of the Year award, after first being given the honor in 2016. Though he initially began by saying that he was “accepting the award for everyone else in my field,” including Kotaku senior reporter Cecilia D’Anastasio, Lewis went on to heavily criticize esports coverage conducted by Kotaku and other major media outlets.
“There are these external media companies, they’re looking at esports, and they want to write the history and they want to tell the stories,” Lewis said. “And you know who I’m talking about: Polygon, Waypoint, the Kotakus, and their approach to writing about our thing is two-fold. They’ve consistently embarrassed themselves writing pieces that expose their complete ignorance about our scene, lack of sources, and unoriginal opinions on topics we have talked to death for twenty years.
“The second has been to write hit-pieces and smears, mostly propagated on half-truths or out-and-out lies, about some of you in this room. Give them hell. They write about it because they think if they get one or two or 12 of you out of the way, they can get their friends in, get their cronies in, and gatekeep our industry.”
Lewis then went on to describe examples of mainstream games press reporting he disagreed with, including: “the lies they printed about a CS:GO major being a Trump rally because the journalist misread a sign,” “the time they all rallied around to stop the abuse of a female Overwatch player that didn’t exist,” and “that interview they did with the world’s most popular streamer, outside of a toilet, one throwaway quote still haunting him today.”
Lewis was seemingly referencing a Kotaku report from ELeague’s CS:GO major in Boston, which touched upon a fan holding up a pro-Trump sign (there’s no mention of it being a “Trump rally” in-article), the Overwatch League ‘Ellie’ incident, and Ninja’s comments to Polygon that he wouldn’t play with female streamers.
The acceptance speech can be viewed below: