Cover Image Courtesy: Team Singularity | Thumbnail Image Courtesy: Liquipedia
An ex-employee of Team Singularity, Vanjo ‘Pillows’ Chan who used to work for the esports organization as a Senior Manager until December 2018, took to Twitter today making serious allegations against the CEO of the company, Atle Stehouwer. Pillows accused him of non-payment of dues exploitation of underage persons without parental consent by signing them as pro players.
In a blog titled “Exposing Atle Stehouwer and Team Singularity”, Pillows talks about how he joined the company back in late 2017 as a volunteer and soon became a permanent member of the organization, taking on the role of a senior manager which is when he signed an employment contract.
During this time, Pillows also used to work full time in the IT industry for a company unrelated to esports. After working till around early 2018, he left Team Singularity while also starting a new full-time job in IT, for which he got a fantastic letter of recommendation from Stehouwer as well.
Shortly after leaving the company, Pillows confronted Stehouwer about an outstanding amount that was owed to him from his time at Singularity. After pressuring the CEO for his allegedly owed amount which was overdue by about 7-8 months, Stehouwer replied in the following manner,
“Hey Vanjo, no offence but instead of keep texting, maybe grab the fucking phone and call me... Seriously it’s super frustrating to have a guy like you, that no offence haven’t helped get out of the hole we were stuck in last year and just sitting back to collect even though I don’t think you deserve it. You abandoned the ship when we needed you the most, and no offence but you making projects trying to sell Into other companies etc. didn’t go as you planned ex. the mobile gaming division, the tournament structure with Dell etc.”
After further discussion between the two, the EUR 4,500 which was equivalent to three months of salary was decreased to a sum of EUR 3,000 for two months of work, while a deadline of 20th May 2019 was agreed upon.
Upon failing to pay the settlement amount in full, the date was extended till 28th May. On the last day of the deadline, Stehouwer refused to pay the remaining amount and said,
“Hey Vanjo, A decision has been made, and I'll not be sending you anymore, as enough is enough. I’ve previously given you my explanation and I’ve reached into my personal pockets to give you fair compensation even though it was a disagreement between you and Singularity.
Team Singularity will not bow to threats, and actions against the company will have consequences.”
Over the course of three months, Pillows and Leonardo Biazzi from Dot Esports worked to gather evidence in the form of screenshots and statements from various players to support his case.
Biazzi had said that this was a big story and Vanjo had agreed to let dotesports run this exclusively. But five months into the investigation, after his interview with Atle Stehouwer, the reporter allegedly was unreachable and did not pursue the story any further.
Pillows while not exactly sure why Biazzi left the investigation says,
“My own theory was that he got paid off by Atle but who knows. The excuses he came up with to brush this story and me off was just stupid. The only thing that annoyed me was the time he wasted with me and all the other people that he got in touch with to gather the statements and evidence.”
Now several months later Pillows himself has gone public with all the data that he has against Atle Stehouwer, presenting them via a blog. In his concluding statement, Vanjo goes on to say the following,
“All in all he owes over 20k euros to various people and me. I doubt I’d ever see another penny from him but hope this raises awareness of the kind of person Atle Stehouwer is and I would advise strongly from becoming involved with him and Team Singularity.”
In addition to the allegations of non-payment of dues, Pillows also went ahead and pulled the curtains on how Atle was exploiting underaged children without parental concern and continued to use them whilst unfulfilling salary commitments.
He made various other accusations as well while also providing relevant material presented as proof for them such as:
- Pulling down the curtains on how Atle was exploiting underaged players without parental concern and continued to use them whilst unfulfilling salary commitments.
- Explaining the order of events that had actually taken place in the incident involving Marcus "Blumigan" Blom and Singularity’s League of Legends Team.
- The Singularity Stream Team not receiving the gear that they were promised along with Claytano not being paid for his work.
- The Dota 2 team including mastermind, adamson, bashruk, solen, and mikey not receiving their salaries.
- The CS:GO team also not receiving their salaries.
Pillows also shared data that he had extracted from an excel sheet prior to having his permissions removed, which shows the suspected amount of unpaid dues that was owed to people at that time. There is an abundance of data collected and presented by him against Atle Stehouwer and Team Singularity.
Stehouwer did reply to the accusation via a Twitlonger, stating right off the bat that he, of course, hadn’t paid anyone from Dot Esports to keep quiet. On the contrary, he argues to have given an interview which went for more than an hour.
“I guess the reason he decided not to move forward was due to it being a dispute between Vanjo and Team Singularity.”
He goes on to say that team Singularity being a start-up might have made some mistakes but they were never intended to cause any kind of harm to the players or the management. He further states the reason for the dispute is Vanjo claiming to do a ‘good job’ and then leaving them when they needed him the most, followed by claiming salary which I feel he wasn’t entitled to due to him focussing on other tasks than what was agreed upon.
He further states that,
“Everything was balanced except for the outstanding between Team Singularity and Vanjo as I did not feel he was entitled to the claims he made. Earlier this year he then started making threats, and has ever since done everything in his power to cause harm to me and Team Singularity.”
Earlier this year Ninjas in Pyjamas had also faced a series of accusations by Fifflaren, which gained momentum as several others came ahead with their personal instances. Although the case after being investigated by Ian Smith commissioner of the ESIC, went in favour of Ninjas in Pyjamas ultimately, with WESA not announcing any complaints against NiP.