Three former Evil Geniuses employees who spoke to Dot Esports claim members of staff who worked at the esports organization suffered from crunch and frustrating working conditions over the past two years, which culminated in another wave of layoffs on Nov. 1.
EG has been operating with a “bare-bones skeleton crew” for virtually all of 2023, sources say. But even that minimal workforce was beset by layoffs on Nov. 1, with around 20 different employees terminated across various departments and organizational levels.
All three ex-employees heard of or experienced instances of being overworked, with two pointing toward the lack of hiring new staff members or backfilling after layoffs as a primary cause, resulting in the remaining employees being saddled with more work.
“We needed more hands at the time and we lost a lot of people,” one source said in regard to earlier waves of layoffs. “Backfills weren’t being approved and it was really frustrating. That was the beginning of operating like a skeleton crew for our team.” Aside from work directly related to the org’s esports divisions, EG employees worked on partner deliverables that one former employee says “changed all the time or were canceled” and “quickly took over everyone’s work lives.”
The former employees who spoke to Dot Esports highlighted multiple instances of ineffective or poor leadership from upper management, including terminating an entire marketing and studio department after content didn’t perform, departments failing to submit expenses on time, and failing to approve travel costs days before an event.
In addition to a dwindling number of employees, the ones who remained were subject to a less-than-ideal working environment. One of the former employees said it was “incredibly typical for poorly run tech companies,” calling the environment “jail with snacks,” though they even claimed there was no food in the office for six months—and, at some points, no toiletries.
“There might have been enough employees if the systems they used weren’t so inefficient and wasteful,” a former employee said. “We were essentially at the whims of upper leadership who might pivot and change things very quickly and the rest of us would have to scramble to catch up, hence overwork. It’s like a ship where you’re patching holes to stay afloat rather than replacing old parts.”
According to one of the former employees, only a few full-time employees remain at the company: interim CEO Chris DeAppolonio, the head and assistant coaches for the LCS roster, VALORANT coach Christine “Potter” Chi, director of athletics Soham “valens” Chowdhury, and “a handful of players.” Another source says EG has “a habit of using interns to replace full-time workers.”
Dot Esports reached out to Evil Geniuses for comment prior to the publishing of this article.