Saudi Arabia is trying to get into esports in an effort to attract the young and intelligent citizens of the Earth to a new city they’re building, once again, in the desert. Granted it’s by water, but it’s still a desert.
Apparently some people just can’t get enough of that dry heat.
The city is called Neom and it’s a project by Muhammad bin Salman to attempt to bring in young technologies and innovators from around the world; in much the same way that IEM Katowice helped rebuild Katowice thanks to Counter-Strike, Saudi Arabia wants to do to found an entire city.
Saudi Arabia, known best for being a nation in the middle east that punishes atheists by death, along with those that are not heterosexual, is attempting to get a bunch of young people from around the world to go live there.
So exciting that Blast is willing to forego human rights and treatment of LGBTQ+ so that you can get your technology in a city that they have killed people to get the land for!https://t.co/Xy0mPQkFwv
— scotty2hotty (@scottSMM_) July 29, 2020
They seem to not see anything wrong with this sentiment; perhaps search engines and demographics data are against their culture as well.
Regardless of the baffling proposition and Saudi Arabia’s red-lettered history with anything that isn’t Islam, they have money to spend and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a corporation who cares about anything more than that.
Riot has taken a deal with Saudi Arabia to help bring esports to the yet-to-fully-exist city, bringing massive waves of outrage that a company that in the past has stated that they’re pro LGBT is now directly helping and profiting from a nation that hunts marginalized citizens to sate their religious fervor.
Now Counter-Strike is in the hot seat, as the Danish tournament organizer BLAST has also announced a partnership with Saudi Arabia to bring esports to the utopian city that, and we cannot stress this enough, doesn’t exist yet.
The league I cover is now promoting a country that would kill me just for existing. Feels great.
— James ‘Stress’ O’Leary (@StressCasts) July 29, 2020
Neom has been a bit of a sinkhole for funding; the city has already been backed by over $500 billion from Saudi Arabia while Saudi Arabia pulls a few notes from China about attempting to commit genocide against indigenous peoples; namely the Howeitat tribe from the land that Saudi Arabia has apparently claimed.
Saudi Arabian forces have opened fire and murdered multiple Howeitats to encourage the indigenous people to…exist elsewhere while Saudi Arabia simultaneously hires US-based PR firms to help correct their public image of murdering gays and those that don’t follow Islam.
no i do not like the magic esports city that *checks notes* kills me
— Demon Apologist (@notquitefrodo) July 29, 2020
League of Legends European Championship is similarly drawing fire from fans as they announce their partnership while their Twitter emblem is still that of a pride flag in an apparent gaffe that everyone managed to miss.
If anything good is to come from this fiasco, its that consumers could perhaps wisen up a bit and realize that corporate tweets sent out to support social causes that are important to citizens are done for profit; not for justice.