A series of screenshots obtained by VPEsports show an alleged conspiracy by members of the fighting game community talent pool to sabotage fellow broadcast talent. The screenshots from whatsapp appear to show the group going after EU desk host and commentator James Banks after he was hired to work the VSFighting event in Birmingham, England, July 20-22.
In a private group chat, a series of messages can be seen in which Logan Sama, Femi “F-Word” Adeboye, Jonathan “UM Tyrant” Parkes, and Marcus “PackZ” Parker talk about ways to sabotage Banks on-air by asking him questions they felt he could not answer.
“Defo keep asking him little questions he can’t answer,” Sama messages. “Don’t rub it in or make it a big deal. But Yeh keep testing his basic…”
Esports gigs and streaming are how Banks pays his bills and provides for his child.
Banks’ rise as a member of the FGC talent pool wasn’t easy. In a video titled The Story of James Banks produced by Unikrn, Banks explains the hardships of his childhood.
“A lot of my friends do things that aren’t legal–drugs and criminal activities and things. It’s not positive,” he says in the video. “I’m lucky enough that my friends kind of saw that, ‘Okay this gamer thing is doing pretty well for him.'”
Banks has worked as a desk host, stage host, and commentator for numerous Counter-Strike: Global Offensive events and has now seen his share of the FGC. Yet, according to messages left in the chat, his fellow cast mates did not believe he was qualified to be the host.
“Wow he’s really qualified,” PackZ, who has competed professionally, typed. “Work with him bro. Looks like you could learn a lot.” While Banks managed to avoid being grilled or embarrassed on-air which would have sabotaged the broadcast itself, Adeboye would take it a step further attempting to bait Banks on Twitter.
“Speaking of which. JB [James Banks] aired my question on Twitter about Ryu buffs,” he said. “Thinking of a way I can bait him out IRL and ask him at VSF [VSFighting].” The group then agrees to make sure they remind Banks to answer to the question if he refused.
“OMG definitely doing that on air if there is a Ryu player to talk about,” UM Tyrant replied.
According to NewZoo, the esports industry is projected to generate over $1 billion in revenue in the next two years. There has been a sharp rise in the amount of events since esports finally burst onto the scene in 2014 going from 3051 events to 4065 in 2017.
Despite esports events being broadcast on mainstream television, there still seems to be a lack of professionalism in the scene that needs to be worked out before the FGC can grow.
When reached for comment none of the four responded. However, when contacted, Banks did respond stating he had no comment, but had seen the screenshots and did not want to create any drama.