TSM CEO placed on probation, fined $75,000 following Riot’s investigation into workplace
CEO and co-founder of the United States-based esports organization Team SoloMid or TSM, Andi Dinh, has recently been fined $75,000 and placed on two-year probation following findings in an investigation of alleged verbal abuse and bullying.
The investigation, which began in November last year, was spearheaded by renowned video game studio and esports tournament organizer Riot Games alongside League of Legends Championship Series (LCS), and an independent law firm.
Riot was able to sanction both the exec and TSM because the developer owned and organized LCS — in which TSM had signed and bound by the tournament’s contract forbidding harassment, profanity, and hate speech. In addition, it also found TSM to condone Dinh’s misconduct that spans several years.
More on Dinh’s ruling, investigation findings
The former professional player turned owner received several public accusations made by former and current employees, as well as players of the organization, that his toxic work behavior had been going on for several years. The alleged misconduct was first brought by former TSM LOL pro Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng during a live stream in late 2021, prompting Riot and LCS Players Association to investigate Peng’s report.
These accusations of verbal assaults prompted Riot to conduct an investigation last year. After interviewing 14 individuals and going through emails, and other means of electronic communications, Riot found out that Dinh verbally abused both players and staff members. Its investigation report reads, “The League believes that there was a pattern and practice of disparaging and bullying behavior exhibited by Andy Dinh towards TSM players and staff members.”
Riot’s findings also showed that Dinh’s demeaning way of communication was only limited to the performance of employees, and it did not have anything to do with race, gender, age, or sexual orientation. Additionally, there were no reports of threats or actual violence made by Dinh to his players and staff members.
Other than Riot, TSM also conducted its own internal investigation of the CEO and concluded that Dinh did “no unlawful conduct”. However, the franchise said that the 30-year-old delivered feedback in an aggressive tone.
“TSM and Dinh have committed themselves to a culture shift within their organization and we want to provide space for that positive shift to occur,” Riot continued.
“However, we also want to ensure that should that shift not occur, the consequences within the Riot ecosystem are clear. Any finding by the LCS, or any other Riot governing body, that Dinh has violated our rules during this probation period will bring severely enhanced penalties.”
In the wake of the findings, TSM said it was committed to setting forth a culture shift within the organization’s working environment. Also, a “tip line” will be made by an independent monitor appointed directly by Riot where employees can file their reports anonymously of any instances of abuse by the CEO. If Dinh were to violate the probation period, severe penalties would be issued.
“In order to ensure compliance with our rules, during Dinh’s probation, an independent monitor appointed by Riot will operate a “tip line” through which TSM employees can anonymously report instances of abusive conduct by Dinh,” Riot added.
According to multiple reports, a TSM spokesperson said the organization would not provide any comments on Riot’s findings.