'Being Asian here is terrifying': A Korean pro gamer describes the 'unspeakable' racism his team encounters every day in the US

Fans at the Overwatch League Grand Finals
Fans at the Overwatch League Grand Finals. Walt Hickey/Business Insider
  • A Korean professional gamer in Dallas said he and his teammates encounter racism every day.

  • Lee Eui-Seok, who plays under the name "Fearless," spoke on Twitch about his time in Dallas.

  • "Being Asian here is terrifying," Lee said. "People keep trying to pick fights with us."

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A Korean professional gamer based in Dallas, Texas, said he and his teammates experience "unspeakable" racism every day.

Lee Eui-Seok, who plays in the Overwatch League for the Dallas Fuel under the name "Fearless," talked about his experience on a Twitch stream Sunday.

"Being Asian here is terrifying," he said, sharing a sentiment widely known in the Asian-American community as hate crimes in the US are on the rise.

The Dallas Fuel is in the process of reconstructing its roster after three consecutive losing seasons. All eight members of the team's current roster are Korean as well as three of the team's coaches.

Lee talked about some of the challenges he and his teammates face: "People keep trying to pick fights with us ... There's even people who cough on us ... They'll cuss us the f--k out while laughing."

Lee was traded to the Dallas Fuel from the Shanghai Dragons in November and was named a 2020 "Role Star" for his skills as a "tank" in the video game.

Dallas Fuel's Chief Gaming Officer and founder, Mike Rufail, confirmed in a video posted to Twitter that several members of the team have received racist remarks and were threatened in Dallas.

"We're doing everything we can to make our players feel comfortable," Rufail said, "they're part of our family."

Rufail also said the organization is working closely with the team to increase security.

Lee said the racism he's facing is a new phenomenon

Lee told viewers on his Twitch stream he never experienced any racism while living in Los Angeles in 2018

"It was peaceful back then," Lee said, followed by a long pause before comparing that to his experience in Dallas. "It's my first time ever experiencing racism ... It's pretty severe."

He said he sometimes wears his team jersey around the city in an effort to avoid harassment and racism. He noted that he receives much more hate when he just wears street clothes.

Activision Blizzard, the company in charge of the Overwatch League and the creator of the video game itself, told Polygon in a statement it supports its Asian employees and the community.

"At Activision Blizzard, we condemn racism in the strongest possible terms," the company said. "We stand with the Asian community, our employees, and our players and are working across our organization, including esports, to do our part to combat hate and ignorance."

Representatives from Blizzard and the Overwatch League did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Lee offered a warning to other Koreans who may be thinking about moving to the US.

"I think Koreans living overseas should be careful," Lee said.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland said at the end of March the Justice Department would review its handling of anti-Asian hate crimes within 30 days.

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