On Tuesday, VALORANT women’s team Motif Violet parted with their organization citing alleged abuse, harassment and an overall “toxic environment.” The VALORANT team specifically pointed to the poor team culture created by the org’s founder, Jack “Jaws” Willis. Barbora “Rebecca” Řezáčová, the duelist on the team now known as Karma, spoke about the org and what prompted them to break away.
“We’ve never been given anything to us except for problems,” Řezáčová said. “So we realized there’s no point in staying.”
Although Řezáčová felt a growing discomfort within the org, she said the players all kept their concerns to themselves until just recently. This was largely due to Willis’s rule that the team could not create any private Discord servers or channels, meaning all their communications would be visible to him and the Motif co-owner.
Eventually the team created a private server anyway, where they began to recount incidents that had taken place during their time with Motif as their org. One of the most pressing concerns was that both Joanne — who asked that her full name not be shared — and Oline “D0llie” Simmons said that Willis had sexual harassed them.
Leaving Motif Esports
— joanne 🏳️🌈 (@joanne_x8) February 8, 2022
Řezáčová explained that, before the current iteration of Motif Violet had come together, an incident occurred when her teammate Joanne was playing ranked VALORANT duo queue with Willis.
“He would say, ‘If you clutch, I will send you nudes,'” Řezáčová said. “And he actually did send [Joanne] nudes after that.”
Joanne told the team about another time where Willis told her to watch his screen share while he observed a Discord server with graphic and inappropriate videos. Řezáčová said she believes that Willis did not harass her because he knew she was vocal, and because her partner, Karel “Twisten” Ašenbrener, who plays for BIG’s VALORANT team, is well known in the esports community.
Not all of the incidents shared by the team members stemmed directly from Willis. Some came from players on Motif Blue, the male counterpart team of Motif Violet. Mercy — who asked that her full name not be shared — said she was the target of racist remarks from a Motif player’s friend in his Twitch chat. Mercy alleged that the player did nothing to stop the remarks, and in fact brushed over and minimized the incident.
When Mercy tried to elevate the problem to Willis, Řezáčová said her teammate was initially shut down.
“He told [Mercy] to stop acting out because she was just causing drama,” Řezáčová said.
Řezáčová said eventually Willis told the Motif Blue player to apologize, and he obliged, though incidents with racist remarks allegedly extended to herself and Motif Violet’s coach, who both speak English with a Czech accent. Řezáčová said a separate Motif Blue player would often joke about their accents. He too has has since apologized to Řezáčová and her coach.
Compared to the owner’s alleged actions, however, these were isolated incidents. When Motif Violet made the extent of their troubles under the org known on Tuesday, the Motif Blue team followed their lead and parted ways with the org.
“The boys, most of them did not even know what was happening and supported us after everything has happened and we have told them,” Řezáčová said.
As of now, it is unclear whether Motif will continue to operate in any capacity as an esports organization.
Motif Violet become Karma
When the ex-Motif Violet team met to discuss their future, Řezáčová said that one thing quickly became clear: They wanted to stay together as a roster. After making the decision to cut ties with Motif, they re-formed under the name Karma.
“We just need to find a name we would play under right now,” Řezáčová said. “If we don’t find an organization, we will compete under the name Karma at the next VCT Game Changers.”
As Motif Violet, the team finished in the top 24 at the Europe, Middle East and Africa Game Changers event. The result was encouraging to the team, who had only recently started playing together as a group of five. They intend to carry that momentum into upcoming events as well despite the obstacles they’ve had to push past.
“Although [Willis] was telling us before tournaments that we’re boosted, we didn’t really take him in mind,” Řezáčová said. “Once the game had actually started, we focused on what’s important, and that’s winning.”