Echo Fox confirmed Thursday that an investor in the parent company of the esports organization used racist language multiple times, including in a confrontation with team founder and former Los Angeles Lakers player Rick Fox.
"There have been incidents in recent weeks in which a limited partner of the Echo Fox organization, who is not an employee, officer or director of Echo Fox, used a racial epithet towards individuals both verbally and via email," according to a statement from the organization. "One such incident was detailed in media accounts today. And although that incident was not directed towards an employee, officer, member or shareholder of Echo Fox, racial intolerance connected to Echo Fox is entirely unacceptable.
"There have been other reported incidents where the shareholder in question used this same vile language towards Rick Fox personally. These incidents are especially significant for us as Echo Fox boasts an unparalleled level of diversity in its principal ownership group, management, leadership and player base.
"Upon being made aware of the incidents, the Company [sic] has made various demands of the offending investor, including the investor's disassociation from the company and we [are] continuing to work diligently towards this end."
The statement came after a Thursday story by Dexerto that reported Fox intends to sell his stake in Echo Fox because of the actions of that investor. Echo Fox did not comment on Fox's future with the company. Fox and his media representative did not respond to requests for comment.
Riot Games issued a statement from Chris Greeley, the commissioner of the League of Legends Championship Series, which Echo Fox competes in, on Thursday. Greeley said the league is aware of the allegations and is investigating the matter independently.
According to Dexerto, a shareholder with Vision Esports -- part of Vision Venture Partners, an investment group Fox co-founded that owns a stake in Echo Fox -- is also alleged to have used racist language aimed at Jace Hall, the former CEO of Echo Fox and current CEO and head custodian of Twin Galaxies. Hall is African-American.
In an email obtained by Dexerto, Fox addressed the situation with shareholders.
"This is an official notification of my intention to exit the Echo Fox organization as a shareholder and participant as soon as I am able to facilitate a transaction to do so. The recent outrageous and abhorrent display of pure racism made by a significant Echo Fox shareholder as well as threats to my family have made it impossible for me to continue to remain associated with the company.
"I will not support or be associated with such behaviour and attitudes displayed at the shareholder level. Racism is an anathema to what my personal brand strives for and tolerating any form of discrimination such as this is not acceptable.
"This notification serves as the beginning process of exiting the company. I will be contacting all relevant and interested people. My position in the GP and the entity that owns my shares are available. Depending on the proposal there are different ways to structure a deal, acquire my entity, swap positions, etc. Interested parties can contact me. I'm moving on the first deal that sits well."
The shareholder in question, who has not been named, allegedly used the N-word to describe Hall during an internal dispute.
Fox has been involved in esports since 2015, when he bought a team with a spot in the then-North American League of Legends Championship Series. Since then, Echo Fox has branched out across the gaming world, particularly into fighting games.
-- Reuters and Field Level Media contributed to this report