Former Los Angeles Lakers star Rick Fox is walking away from esports organization Echo Fox, a company he's responsible for helping found, following alleged racial comments from another shareholder during an email exchange, per Dexerto's Richard Lewis.
Lewis has reported that an investor from Vision Venture Partners, a private equity firm that owns Echo Fox and lists Fox as a founding partner. The member is said to have used the n-word to refer to former Echo Fox CEO Jace Hall in an email relating to an internal business squabble.
The unnamed shareholder is also accused of having made racist remarks to Fox personally in the past.
Kotaku has received a statement from an Echo spokesperson following inquiries but none of the parties involved have responded to a request for comment.
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“There have been incidents in recent weeks in which a limited partner of the Echo Fox organization, who is not an employee, officer or director of Echo Fox, used a racial epithet towards individuals both verbally and via email. One such incident was detailed in media accounts today. And although that incident was not directed towards an employee, officer, member or shareholder of Echo Fox, racial intolerance connected to Echo Fox is entirely unacceptable.
"There have been other reported incidents where the shareholder in question used this same vile language towards Rick Fox personally. These incidents are especially significant for us as Echo Fox boasts an unparalleled level of diversity in its principal ownership group, management, leadership and player base. Upon being made aware of the incidents, the Company has made various demands to the offending investor, including the investor’s disassociation from the company and we are continuing to work diligently towards this end.”
Fox, who spent seven years with the Lakers, won three NBA Championships with the side before retiring in 2004. He founded Echo Fox in 2015 after buying Gravity Gaming's spot in the League of Legends Champion Series for $1 million. The organization has made forays into other games such as Super Smash Bros. and Counter-Strike Global Offensive.
The 49-year-old announced his intention to leave Echo Fox in an email on April 19, which has been obtained by Lewis.
“This is an official notification of my intention to exit the Echo Fox organization as a shareholder and participant as soon as I am able to facilitate a transaction to do so,” he wrote. “The recent outrageous and abhorrent display of pure racism made by a significant Echo Fox shareholder as well as threats to my family have made it impossible for me to continue to remain associated with the company.
“I will not support or be associated with such behavior and attitudes displayed at the shareholder level. Racism is an anathema to what my personal brand strives for and tolerating any form of discrimination such as this is not acceptable.”
It is still unclear whether or not Fox will be walking away from Vision Venture Partners as well.