Seven Renegades employees abruptly walked out of the organization last week in a move that surprised many in the esports world.
In interviews with Dot Esports, the staff placed the blame of the walkout almost solely on the shoulders of CEO Chris Roumayeh. They allege Roumayeh created a hostile work environment, verbally abused employees, and, on multiple occasions, made late payments or missed payments entirely. These allegations were also reported in a story on WIN.gg.
In the recording, a staffer confronted Roumayeh over his behavior on corporate social media accounts. The CEO allegedly used the accounts, especially Instagram, to engage with attractive women under the pretext of recruiting them to work for the company.
When confronted about his behavior on the recording, Roumayeh said he contacted the women to grow Renegades’ social media accounts.
“Sex sells, let’s talk about that,” Roumayeh said. “Sex does sell, right? There’s a lot of brands out there, like why did we have [Rocket League streamer] Chelsea? Because she was some amazing girl?”
“This isn’t the first time we’ve reached out to a, whatever-you-wanna-call-em, ‘boob streamer.’ Would you rather we reached out to some really really, like, horrendous person?” (Chelsea did not respond to a request for comment on this article.)
He later added: “I could put you under a microscope bro and I’m sure I could find a lot of shit, a lot of shit, a lot of shit.”
These outbursts were common, according to one member of the staff. The verbal abuse included insults and screaming tirades, both in person and over the phone. One person recalls Roumayeh calling them a “fucking idiot.”
Other employees said Roumayeh didn’t pay them on several occasions. One employee said they weren’t paid for the first three months of employment. Another said that they didn’t receive their salary in February and were only paid a handful of times before February.
Another alleged that Roumayeh assigned them work that fell well outside the purview of the Renegades organization—and then refused to pay additional compensation. When pressed about this, Roumayeh allegedly told them that they worked for the CEO, not the company.
“Honestly, the best word I could use for a lot of his actions towards me was gaslighting,” one staffer said.
One source blamed the late payments at least partially on the organization’s accountant, Xavier Endress, who was hired by Roumayeh in 2016 and is still reportedly at the organization. Endress was barred from working alongside any association under the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority in the United States in 2016. FINRA alleged that he engaged in undisclosed outside business activity and “opened an account with [investment company] Merrill Lynch in the name of a company he owned without disclosing it.”
As the environment worsened at Renegades, one employee formulated an engagement survey in December that paints a clear picture of a workplace in turmoil. Its purpose was to pinpoint action points for the CEO.
Over a third of the people questioned in the survey (39 percent) said that they would either not recommend Renegades as a great esports organization or would neither recommend nor recommend against it (17 percent). Strikingly, 45 percent of employees didn’t see themselves at Renegades in a year’s time.
In the survey, one staff member responded to the question “Can I in wholesome faith recommend the organization compared to other organizations?” with a blunt answer: “No,” they wrote. “There sure are some good moments in this organization but that’s very rare indeed.”
Dot Esports attempted to reach out to Roumayeh for comment on this article. The company’s PR email, however, redirected to another employee who walked out. That employee was unable to provide contact information for Roumayeh.