Last night’s HQ Trivia was a little tense. Not only were there over a hundred thousand players—the most I’ve ever seen—but the chat was filled with comments about a Daily Beast article where host Scott Rogowsky’s boss threatened to fire him. Even Rogoswky couldn’t avoid addressing it, making veiled references to the online shitshow that preceded that night’s game.
Rogowsky has hosted HQ Trivia, an app where you play a trivia game show for cash prizes, since the app’s inception. Yesterday, The Daily Beast ran an article in which they said HQ co-founder and CEO Rus Yusupov threatened to fire Rogowksy if The Daily Beast wrote about him. According to Daily Beast reporter Taylor Lorenz, Yusupov said, “’[Rogowsky] cannot say that people want trivia,” among other bizarre, threatening comments. At one point, after saying that publishing a profile would expose company secrets, Yusupov accidentally tells Lorenz that Rogowsky is a contract employee and not full time, a fact that had not previously been known to the public.
Since this article’s release, people have expressed concern for Rogowsky on social media. People have rallied around Rogowsky, saying that HQ is nothing without him. Some even said they’d stop playing if Rogowsky left. Yusupov has since tweeted asking to hire a PR agent.
The hashtag #FreeScott is a bit of a joke between HQ players. They tweet it whenever Rogowsky isn’t hosting, or when the game doesn’t start on time or is canceled. Players sometimes joke about Rogowsky being held against his will. When last evening’s game of HQ began, the chat was spammed with the hashtag, as well as messages saying “Daily Beast,” and most amusingly “Sweetgreen,” a reference to Rogowsky’s mention of the salad chain in the article, which Yusupov demanded that Lorenz cut.
As for Rogowsky… he was a little shady.
After the game started late, Rogowsky greeted his fans with, “Technical difficulties. That about sums things up, and I mean everything.” He continued, “Nice to be here, having a totally normal Tuesday.”
What followed was a standard game of HQ. Nine winners took home $111, and Rogowsky made some awkward jokes. Still, before the game took off in earnest, he made one more reference to the utterly bizarre day that lead up to last night’s game. Referencing the previous night’s $1,000 pot, Rogoswky said, “You could afford a PR person for at least a couple hours with that kind of money.”