Moist Esports, the RLCS Spring Major champions, will not attend the Gamers Without Borders LAN event in Saudi Arabia. Noah Hinder, the team’s coach and manager, said the decision stems from the country’s controversial stance against LGBTQ people.
Moist Esports, who won the RLCS Spring Major in London after an incredible lower bracket run, was invited to an upcoming event hosted in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Hinder confirmed via Twitter that the team would not attend the event as Saudi Arabia does not “recognize LGBTQ+ people as human beings” and that “it’s important to put my morals and beliefs over money.”
One of the team’s players, Finlay “rise” Ferguson, tweeted that he wanted to attend the event but changed his mind after seeing how much the issue meant to Hinder.
Same-sex sexual acts are illegal in Saudi Arabia, and transgender people also face prosecution for not abiding by strict dress codes. The maximum penalty for same-sex sexual activity and sex outside of marriage is the death penalty, and LGBT people are regularly discriminated against.
The LAN event in Saudi Arabia features a $2 million prize pool, which is a significant award for any esports tournament. Moist Esports have decided instead to prepare for their appearance at the World Championships, which will be played from Aug. 8 to 14 in Fortworth, Texas.