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TSM finds ‘no unlawful conduct’ in investigation of CEO Andy Dinh

TSM finds ‘no unlawful conduct’ in investigation of CEO Andy Dinh

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An independent investigation into the work behavior of Andy Dinh, CEO of sports organization TSM, has found “no illegal conduct” by the executive, according to public statements released today by Dinh and the firm of lawyers retained by Swift Media, the parent company of TSM.

“None of the witnesses interviewed had witnessed or knew any derogatory conduct or / or comments directed and / or based on any protected characteristic, ie gender, race, religion, sexual orientation,” the public summary of the investigation prepared by the law firm says. . Gutiérrez Marca. “No sexual harassment or harassment in the workplace was observed. In short, there was no sexual harassment or gender discrimination.”

Swift-held researcher Lynne Davis, a labor lawyer, interviewed 31 current and former employees of TSM, Blitz and ICON, according to a statement from Gutiérrez Marca. In the same statement, the law firm acknowledged that Dinh used an “aggressive and harsh tone” when offering comments and recommended that Dinh undergo executive training. However, he maintained that 25 of the 31 employees interviewed did not believe they were working in a toxic environment.

Investigations into Dinh’s workplace behavior began in late 2021, after Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, a former star player on TSM’s “League of Legends” list, accused the organization’s founder of verbal abuse and harassment in a live broadcast. Shortly after these statements, Swift Media, the software development firm Blitz and the talent agency ICON, launched an independent investigation, according to TSM. Dinh withdrew from “any oversight of the scope, nature and findings of the investigation,” according to a TSM statement shared with The Washington Post in early May.

More than a dozen current and former employees of TSM and Blitz, both led by Dinh, described a “culture of fear” in the company and told The Post that they had experienced or witnessed that Dinh was embarrassed. publicly its employees. Some attributed a spectacular turnover rate and the departures of several senior executives from both companies to Dinh’s abrasive management style.

In TSM and Blitz, staff describe a toxic job and a volatile CEO

One of Dinh’s current employees who was interviewed in early 2022 as part of Swift’s investigation said Davis asked questions centered on allegations of harassment and verbal abuse raised in a January report to Wired. The employee told The Post that they impressed Davis that his affair with Dinh led them to avoid him in the workplace.

“Andy isn’t someone I want to interact with, and he’s definitely someone I’m actively trying to avoid, which I find a little strange considering he’s at the helm of my own company’s food chain,” the employee said. current, describing the message they conveyed to the Swift researcher. The employee spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to discuss the investigation with the press. “I’ve tried to build layers of leadership or layers of bureaucracy to keep me from interacting with him as much as possible. I think he’s been very helpful to my mental health.”

In his interviews, Davis also asked about a wide range of behaviors that would be inappropriate in the workplace, according to the current employee and Anthony Barnes, a former Blitz program director who was interviewed by Davis. Both Barnes and the current employee understood that these were hypothetical questions that were asked in the interest of thoroughness, and neither had anything to share with Davis on these points.

“Those were pretty generic questions, honestly,” Barnes said. “I was amazed at how general they were. She covered it all up.” Barnes, like the current employee, informed the researcher of several negative interactions he had experienced working with Dinh.

Ethics and economics: the conflicting values ​​of the sports industry

Riot Games, which partners with TSM in the context of League of Legends Sports, is still conducting its own research. This investigation was initiated by the Players Association for the American League Championship Series, which sought out other professional players in November to corroborate the comments made live by Peng, the former TSM athlete.

“It was very much a snowball situation,” Phil Aram, LCSPA executive director, said of his conversations with players about Dinh’s conduct. “You start having a conversation with one or two players and they quickly link you up with a dozen or more people dating back a decade.”

Finally, the Players’ Association referred the matter to Riot on November 12, 2021.

In a statement to Wired in January, TSM said it expected to share the results of its investigation this month. However, Davis, the researcher retained by the company, was interviewing subjects in the last days of the investigation, which closed on May 16, according to two former directors of companies run by Dinh who were he asked them to participate. Both were contacted by Davis on May 12.

On several occasions, the duration of Riot’s investigation was extended when the Players’ Association asked the law firm hired by Riot to re-interview certain subjects or to contact other subjects who had not yet been interviewed. contacted.

Earlier this year, some former workers alleged that TSM and Blitz had misclassified them as contractors and not as employees. Swift’s investigation did not address these claims; from the outset, the investigation focused heavily on allegations of misconduct in the workplace by Dinh.

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