It was announced on Aug. 31 that Nicole LaPointe Jameson, CEO of eSports team Evil Geniuses (EG), is stepping down from the role. The decision comes just over a week after EG became world champions at Valorent 2023.
Jameson became the focus of numerous controversies during her four-year tenure and was regularly on the receiving end of scathing social media criticism. The next person in the hot seat is EG’s chief innovation officer, Chris De Appolonio, who takes up the role of interim CEO.
The end of an era
Nicole LaPointe Jameson is leaving the role of EG CEO after four and a half years. Jameson steps down in a year marked by drama, controversy, and, ultimately, the victory of the team at VALORENT 2023.
EG’s triumph provides a happy conclusion to Jameson’s reign after she announced her departure on Aug. 31.
“This decision doesn’t come easy for me,” said Jameson via the Evil Genuises Twitter account, “but winning a VCT World Championship the EG way—through equity of merit, inclusivity of infrastructure, and going against the grain with scrappy believers—encapsulates everything we’ve been trying to do for the future of eSports perfectly.”
The outgoing chief added, “We’ve had some failures, learned a ton, and celebrated many successes and joys.”
The record of Evil Geniuses under Jameson is mixed. Of the positives, Evil Geniuses won championships in League of Legends and, more recently, Valorent. On the negative side, Evil Geniuses appeared to neglect its duty of care to at least one of its roster of young players, Kyle “Danny” Sakamaki, who battled mental health issues in 2022.
Danny later made a statement exonerating EG for his situation, which became so serious that he was sent home suffering from malnutrition. Despite Danny’s statement that “EG supported me all the way,” the stink surrounding EG lingers.
An investigation into the matter is ongoing. A third-party law firm hired by the sport’s ruling body is investigating the matter.
Other issues at Evil Geniuses
Danny’s plight may be the most serious matter at EG, but it is by no means the only issue to have dogged the organization during Jameson’s reign.
Even in the afterglow of the Valorent victory, EG somehow conspired to disappoint fans by releasing substandard merchandise. One fan described EG’s efforts as “amateurish” and another as “the worst merchandise I’ve ever seen. Other fans were less polite.
— Evil Geniuses (@EvilGeniuses) August 26, 2023
While the merchandise issue is a reasonably easy fix for the firm, former employees say the team suffers from far more insidious problems. A former intern at Evil Geniuses spoke up on Sept. 1, sharing their own memories of Jameson’s tenure.
“Nicole did irreparable damage to an entire generation of this beautiful sport, and I feel like that’s all too common,” said the former intern under the Twitter handle retro. “eSports, just like many other industries, suffers from taking advantage of young professionals’ passion and hunger to enter the scene, making sure they take them for all of their worth only to be tossed aside whenever it’s convenient.”
The intern cited long hours at the organization and a culture of “burnout and abuse.”
Jameson’s defenders may argue the outgoing CEO is no stranger to abusing herself. Jameson deleted her social media accounts in July, reportedly due to a torrent of online abuse.