League of Legends Worlds SK’s Svenskeren suspension

Pro LoL player angers many with racially-charged handle

A professional e-sports player changed his username to a racist slur, angering natives and non-locals. Dennis Johnsen, more widely known as “Svenskeren”, was invited to play with his team “SK Gaming” in Taipei, Taiwan as part of the League of Legends World Championships. SK Gaming is based in Europe, and plays mainly on the EU West servers.

On the Taiwanese servers, Johnsen changed his handle from “Jo_Denn” to “Taipeichingchong”, inciting outrage from ethnically East-Asian players and fans from not only Taiwan, but all over the world.

The words “ching chong” have long been regarded as insulting and disrespectful by Asian immigrants. They have been used to bully ethnic Asians, especially in communities where they are a small minority.

Upon discovering the new handle, many people immediately petitioned Riot, the creator of League of Legends, to ban Johnsen for his behaviour, calling it “racist” and “discriminatory”. Johnsen has since apologised for his actions, and has altered his name once again. He is now playing as “SvenskerenOxO”.

This is not the first instance where Johnsen has used inflammatory and insensitive language. Several months ago, he was reported to have typed anti-semitic insults in a post-game chat screen, and many others who have played with or against him have mentioned that he is “toxic”.

The World Championships competition is divided into four groups, with four teams each group. SK Gaming is the third seed in their group. They will compete against Team SoloMid, StarHorn Royal Club, and Taipei Assassins. This group will begin their competition starting September 18. The winners will advance to the quarterfinal round, which will be held in Busan, Korea starting October 3.

Update: Svenskeren fined and suspended from Worlds

Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen has been fined and suspended by Riot Games from his first three World Championship games in Taiwan. His team, “SK Gaming”, issued an official apology yesterday, but took no actions against Johnsen.

According to a release from Riot today, Johnsen attended a cultural sensitivity briefing upon arriving in Taiwan, but still created the username “Taipeichingchong”. He has violated the rule on discrimination, and has been fined a total of US$2500.

Johnsen plays in the jungling position for SK Gaming. SK will need to find a replacement for Johnsen, as their competition begins on Thursday.

My commentary is available on my other blog, which you can access via the headline links.


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