Riot Games and Team SoloMid confirmed Tuesday that they are investigating allegations of verbal assault and bullying made against TSM CEO and Founder Andy “Reginald” Dinh, as first reported by Wired. In late 2021, both Riot Games and TSM launched independent investigations into the behavior of Dinh.
“We are aware of the allegations made about the CEO/owner of TSM,” Riot Games said in a statement to Wired. “As the league operator, we have engaged the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers LLP to conduct an independent investigation into claims of misconduct made against the leader of this team, in accordance with standard league process.”
Riot Games runs the League of Legends Championship Series, where TSM fields a franchised team.
Wired spoke to a number of sources, including both current and former employees at TSM. All of the employees requested anonymity for fear of career repercussions. The stories told by the employees detail a culture of harassment and “fear” stemming from Dinh’s behavior toward his subordinates. At a certain point, according to Wired’s sources, it was regular for an employee to cry every other week.
“A normal boss who thought you were doing a bad job would give you feedback. [At TSM], it was like, ‘This is trash’ or ‘You’re awful,’” one current employee told Wired.
Employees reportedly feared promotion, knowing that they may have to work directly with Dinh.
“It’s hard to really see a long-term future at TSM, because that’s what you have to look forward to,” a current employee told Wired. “Long-term employees understand that eventually there will come a time when Andy wants to fire them and it’ll be about something really small.”
It was not uncommon for Dinh to “make an example” out of employees, berating them in public as part of an exhibition, one source told Wired.
“I am intense, passionate, driven and relentless in the pursuit of winning — it’s my nature,” Dinh said in a statement provided to Upcomer. “I set an extremely high bar and, when I feel that someone is not delivering, I directly and bluntly share that feedback. I do acknowledge that when I look back, my vocabulary was at times too harsh and ineffective. I know I need to work on my delivery, and I am working to improve the way I communicate with my team and those around me.”
The North American Players Association — an organization formed to support and assist players — has passed along the names of people who experienced Dinh’s alleged bullying, Wired reported.
TSM also formed an independent subcommittee and enlisted legal counsel, according to a statement from the organization. Dinh does not have involvement with the investigation, which is expected to deliver its findings sometime in the week of Jan. 18-24. TSM and Dinh are cooperating with the Riot Games investigation as well, according to both parties.
“The well-being of our players and staff is paramount and something we take very seriously,” TSM said in its statement. “This is not how TSM as an organization operates, and is absolutely not who we aspire to be as a company.
The investigations into Dinh were precipitated by former professional League of Legends player and TSM alumnus Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng. Outlining similar behaviors as mentioned by employees at TSM, Peng criticized Dinh in a public admonition in November of 2021.
“He made a lot of players cry,” Peng said during a Twitch livestream. “You’d be very fu**ing surprised at how many of your favorite familiar faces in [League of Legends Championship Series] had legit mental breakdowns because of how badly they were getting berated. How badly they were getting verbally assaulted.”