Should esports professionals be prevented from sleeping with fans? The issue remains a taboo topic of discussion in industry circles.

Jung’s Wednesday Rant: Sleeping with Fans

Mar 15, 2017

While certain topics in esports draw considerable controversy–substance abuse, collusion, infighting–few are more taboo than the concept of ‘fansleeping.’ It’s rarely talked about, and remains almost completely uncovered. Before talking about why it’s overlooked, however, let’s talk about what it is.

‘Fansleeping’ refers to an individual of considerable influence and popularity leveraging their identity and status to engage in sexual relations with a fan. When it comes to esports, this isn’t limited to players. Various media personalities and even corporate individuals are guilty of fansleeping. It’s a disturbing use of one’s pseudo-celebrity status, often resulting in short-term relationships characterized by deceit and manipulation from both parties.

Why does this even matter?

The idea of desiring someone who is on a pedestal is common from your middle school years onward. Almost everyone has seen examples of this–star athletes in high school, or administrators with powerful positions. The “pedestal” that I’m referring to can exist for anyone who has achieved any level of mastery in a subject or activity. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with simply being recognized for one’s success. Where it becomes problematic, however, is when people with dubious intentions are in these advantageous positions and use information and power imbalances to coerce or manipulate potential victims.

People on the other side of these relationships get hurt. Fansleeping actively reinforces and normalizes disgusting societal norms towards the destructive relationships that are all too common in the entertainment industry. In the aftermath of a manipulative sexual encounter with a celebrity, people are more prone to depression, anxiety, and general distrust of others.

If you want a community loaded with drama and bursting with poor role models for younger generations, then fansleeping might be for you.

But worse yet, it enforces ‘gaming. I’m not talking about playing video games. I mean gaming every single intimate relationship. Building friendships and romantic pursuits shouldn’t be a 1 v 1 competition to see who can squeeze out the most juice. In order to be healthy, these relationships should be collaborative. As a result, esports celebrities who choose not to partake in predatory behavior can easily become victims of manipulation themselves. Fans can be just as lacking in character as a manipulative celebrity. The result? We end up with a Nash equilibrium, where the worst possible outcome is achieved due to unhealthily ‘competitive’ behavior.

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Why does no one talk about it?

I think this is the biggest issue. There are very few people who have both knowledge of fansleeping and any incentive to share details with the public. One such example was the leaks surrounding Fabian “FebivenDiepstraten, supported by claims from former superstar marksman Konstantinos “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou-Napoleon that Febiven’s journey to becoming a professional player was primarily a cover for sleeping with fangirls. But this story is the exception. There’s little to no whistleblowing for this kind of thing.

People who engage in this behavior aren’t going to boast about it on social media. Colleagues may have friends who partake in predatory fansleeping activity, and ratting them out would be (1) disloyal, and (2) not in their best interests. Burning bridges is generally a bad thing, and whistleblowing is ultimately just another form of that, even if done anonymously. Misplaced notions of loyalty and a culture of secrecy make it harder for bystanders to intervene in dangerous situations.

The most unsettling part is that individuals from all parts of the esports ecosystem are in on it. Controversies like this one with everyone’s favourite PhD are the canary in the coalmine. And not to be the bearer of more bad news, but these individuals tend to be the respective savants of their trade.

There’s no quick fix when it comes to dealing with fansleeping. It’s a complex interaction of distorted cultural practices and a predatory culture of relationship building.

What we can do, however, is start to talk about it.

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Jungroan "Jezie" Lin is a Challenger League of Legends player, former top lane player for Complexity Gaming, and former jungler for Team Green Forest. He spent 6 months of his life playing only Renekton, Shyvana, and Dr. Mundo while failing to qualify for the LCS. Jungroan is currently pursuing his M.A. in Political Science at UBC.
What do you think?

ayy lmao









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