Dota 2 Chongqing Major in turmoil as casters protest controversial player ban

The Chinese government may not allow a Filipino Dota 2 pro to play after he made racist comments in-game.

Photo via Valve

Dota 2’s Chongqing Major event is facing ongoing controversy stemming from a racist comment made by a competitor in early November. The event is facing a potential caster protest and reported event cancellation following the past month’s events.

TNC Predator player Carlo “Kuku” Palad has reportedly been banned from competing in the upcoming Dota 2 Pro Circuit match. Dota 2 casters are suggesting a boycott of the event should Kuku be unable to play.

Related: Teams should issue “strong punishments” for bad behavior in Dota 2, Valve says

Kuku typed a racially-charged message—”ching chong”—into Dota 2’s game chat in early November. His message and Valve’s oversight upset the Chinese Dota 2 community. The message has racist implications tied to the Chinese language. Valve has since issued a late response and TNC Predator has since apologized and punished the player, issuing a 50 percent fine of his winnings from the Kuala Lumpur Major and 50 percent fine from either the Chongqing or Bucharest events. The money docked from Kuku’s share will be donated to an anti-racism charity. (TNC Predator won placed fifth in the Kuala Lumpur Major and won $60,000. It’s unclear how much counts as Kuku’s share.)

ESPN reported in late November that the municipal government of Chongqing banned Kuku from the event. TNC Predator has since affirmed the report, stating that the city government could cancel the Chongqing Major should Kuku attend—if he’s able to enter the country. The ESPN report suggested the Chinese ban could extend into The International 9 in Shanghai.

Organizers of the event told TNC Predator that they are unable to “guarantee his safety” should he attend the event. TNC Predator reiterated that Kuku is not banned from the event by the tournament organizers. Valve reportedly told TNC Predator that it can compete at the Major with a stand-in player without the typical Dota 2 Pro Circuit points penalty. “This is the only response we have received from Valve,” TNC Predator wrote in a Twitlonger post.

“In light of this, TNC has yet to decide whether we will continue playing in the event,” the team wrote on Twitter. “For now, we are exploring all of our options.”

Chongqing Major broadcasting talent have begun pulling out of the event, should Kuku be unable to attend. Dota 2 caster Grant “GranDGranT” Harris posted to Twitter on Dec. 1 his intent to “refuse to cast.” Dota 2 commentator and host Paul “Redeye” Chaloner, who was not originally set to attend the attend, lent his support to Harris, too. “I do not agree with a local government placing restrictions on who can and cannot attend a Dota 2 tournament, in any country,” Chaloner wrote on Twitter. “I do not condone racism in any form. I believe the players have been punished suitably and deserve to be given chances to make amends.”

Andrei “skem” Ong is the other player implicated in early November. The compLexity player, who made racist comments during an official tournament match, was removed from compLexity Gaming’s active roster in mid-November. CompLexity is still attempting to qualify for the Chongqing Major through the Bucharest Minor event.

Dot Esports has reached out to Valve and tournament organizer StarLadder for more information. Valve has not publicly commented on the caster protest or TNC Predator’s statements. A representative from StarLadder declined to comment.