Omega Esports' Kelra fined, suspended for homophobic, sexist remarks

·Senior Esports Producer
·3 min read
(Photo: Kelra Facebook page)
(Photo: Kelra Facebook page)

The Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League (MPL) Philippines announced on Monday (16 August) that they have issued a fine and a two-week suspension to Omega Esports' Duane "Kelra" Pillas after he was found making homophobic and sexist remarks towards multiple other players.

Kelra drew flak for making homophobic comments during a livestream that were directed at Blacklist International players James "Wise" Del Rosario and Johnmar "OhMyV33nus" Villaluna, who is a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

In another part of the stream, Kelra was also found directing obscenities at Chareeny "Ramella" Ramella, a female player for the Thai team IDoNotSleep Esports.

The MPL PH Operating Committee stated that Kelra was found in violation of league rules on sexual harassment, discrimination, and denigration for his remarks. 

As a result of the violations, Kelra has been fined for an undisclosed amount and will serve a two-week suspension which will begin on the first day of MPL PH Season 8. A "serious warning" was also issued to Kelra and his team, Omega Esports.

The league's latest season was originally scheduled to start on 13 August, but was postponed after Metro Manila was placed under lockdown until 20 August as the situation with the coronavirus pandemic in the Philippines continues to worsen. No definite schedule has been announced for the league's resumption.

In addition, the MPL PH Operating Committee announced that all of the league's players will be required to attend a Gender Sensitivity and Sexual Harassment Awareness Training Seminar.

"MPL PH Operating Committee does not tolerate any form of discrimination in the league and we expect our professional players to follow a strict code of conduct. The MPL Philippines is working with all the teams to produce a safe environment for everyone. Let's work together to build a more mature and professional league," the MPL PH Operating Committee said in a statement.

As a result of Kelra's obscene remarks, Ramella announced on Monday that she will be taking a hiatus from the professional MLBB scene and added that "[the incident] has proven it is not safe for female esports players".

This kind of action is the reason why there is not a lot of female players. My team and I kept mentioning about female players in esports many times in media. Sadly, it still happens.Chareeny "Ramella" Ramella, IDoNotSleep Esports

Kelra has since issued an apology, saying that he has been "immature" and "irresponsible" for making "very distasteful jokes" in a post on his Facebook page. 

"I won't deny the issue, I admit that I didn't think that I could have hurt people with what I have said. I sincerely apologize to the people that I have hurt, to the whole LGBTQ+ community, and everyone else that has been affected," Kelra said in Filipino.

I deeply regret everything and I promise that this will be a big learning experience for me. No amount of words can express how much I regret this issue.Duane "Kelra" Pillas, Omega Esports

Omega Esports added that they are "saddened and disappointed" over Kelra's recent behavior, adding that they have already begun an internal investigation and will be coordinating with MPL PH to address the issue.

"Rest assured we are taking steps to ensure respect and professionalism above all among our players," Omega Esports said in a statement on their Facebook page.

Kelra rose to prominence as the star player of Execration. He helped Execration finish in second place at MPL PH Season 7, where they lost to Blacklist International in the finals, and was named the Most Valuable Player at the 2021 MLBB Southeast Asia Cup after the team avenged their previous loss to Blacklist International by beating them for the regional title.

Execration has since disbanded, with Kelra and his teammates moving to Omega Esports for MPL PH Season 8.

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