Multiple CS:GO casters are refusing to work with BLAST following the company's deal with Saudi-based NEOM.
Frankie Ward, Hugo Byron and Harry 'JustHarry' Russel are refusing to work with the company, which announced the record deal on July 28.
CSGO Casters Refuse To Work With BLAST
BLAST pledged to build a new esports academy and a CS:GO map based on NEOM, a future-city project in Saudi Arabia.
Today we announce a global partnership with @NEOM, an ambitious project that includes building a major esports ecosystem in the heart of what will be the new future of living!— BLAST Premier (@BLASTPremier) July 28, 2020
We talk about the future of esports, so let's get to it. #BLASTPremier #DiscoverNEOM pic.twitter.com/rjJdMxer9w
There had been some backlash on the deal from the game's community, but casters are now refusing to to work with the company based on Saudi's criminalisation of LGBTQ+ communities.
Frankie Ward explained on Twitter that “the BLAST x NEOM deal is an opportunity to educate ourselves so that we no longer work with people who would kill our friends."
“Blast x NEOM is a disgrace to the Blast brand, an organisation I know is filled with wonderful, talented & loving individuals. The idea that this could be "silenced" through ignoring it is not a standard or precedent that should be set either,” JustHarry noted.
Been off Twitter for a good while.— JustHarry (@JustHarryGG) August 5, 2020
Blast x NEOM is a disgrace to the Blast brand, an organisation I know is filled with wonderful, talented & loving individuals.
The idea that this could be "silenced" through ignoring it is not a standard or precedent that should be set either.
This kind of protest is not a first in esports. NEOM sponsored RIOT's European League of Legends LEC tournament which prompted a community and caster backlash that prompted RIOT to cancel the deal in less than 24 hours.
BLAST has remained quiet since the above tweets.