Rising Hope Coach Accused of Sexually Harassing All-Female Roster
The all-female roster of Rising Hope announced its sudden departure from the organization on 5th October. Following the departure, former coach “Jehiel” finally broke the silence and revealed the circumstances that led to the team’s departure from the organization. According to Jehiel, the team’s other coach “Simons” had allegedly sexually harrassed the entire roster which forced the players to leave. Jehiel also claimed that despite reporting Simons to the organization’s co-owner, Rising Hope wanted to keep Simons in the organization because “he is a big star.”
Simons allegedly sexually harassed the entire roster on a Discord call
Jehiel of an incident where she claims Simons had been drinking alcohol and behaved inappropriately multiple times during scrims. On 27th September, Simons allegedly flashed his private parts to the roster, and the sexual harassment reportedly led to the roster quitting Rising Hope.
Jehiel claimed that she and the players opened up the discussion of having Simons out of the roster after filing an official complaint. The entire roster notified Lazar (co-owner) that if Simons would not be removed from the roster, the players and Jehiel would quit. Lazar had initially agreed but no action had been taken, which was shocking to the team.
In addition to sexual harassment, Simons had also engaged in alleged disruptive behavior while the players played. He would often disturb the players by not muting his microphone. Upon being told to mute his microphone by Jehiel, Simons allegedly made an inappropriate remark about her.
Jehiel mentioned in her statement, “After the incident, we took a few days’ rest because I noticed my players were shaken up and couldn’t focus because of what happened. Personally, I got traumatized by what happened. The shock my players went through is resounding, causing me sleepless nights.”
Jehiel stated that she hopes “these types of predators” are barred from the competitive esports scene and that they are destroying the industry and giving it a bad image. It is likely that Riot Games will conduct an internal investigation as the issue has received a lot of attention within the competitive Valorant community.
Valorant coach and reporter Bo Hoogland revealed that Simons is the creator of the Serbian esports organization which is likely why he has not been dropped from the organization. Rising Hope is yet to make an official statement regarding the situation.