In a ban spanning several lifetimes and then some, third-party Counter-Strike tournament service ESEA has banned a user until 3016 for allegedly harassing a minor.
This story originally appeared on Kotaku Australia.
The ban was dolled out to Reece “bloominator” Bloom, whose ESEA account will remain banned until June 6 in 3016, or 365,000 days to be precise. The official reason listed on the account is “Malicious Activity”, although the specifics come down to a series of chat logs and photos between Bloom and an alleged 15 year old.
The chat logs, which are still available online, show Bloom saying things like “there’s just something about being able to influence young minds” and “I just don’t care that I’m a paedophile”. Bloom was announced as a member of Armor Esports, although most of his profile in the Counter-Strike community was courtesy of his time on the ESEA Invite team Exertus. Exertus has since disbanded, but it once sported players that would go on to gain prominence in other teams, including Mike “shroud” Grzesiek and Jaryd “summit1g” Lazar.
Bloom’s ban makes him the highest profile player in North America, and certainly in recent Counter-Strike history, to be effectively abandoned from the community for their behaviour outside of the game. Counter-Strike has never been the most welcoming community at times, but the publication of this Twitter conversation (WARNING: EXTREMELY NSFW) and several responses in an ESEA thread, including “calm down boys, hoes r [sic] hoes” and “she will realise how retarded she is in 2-4 years from now” didn’t help.
In a post that inadvertently highlights the nature of the Counter-Strike community and the general reaction, a user replied to Bloom’s response to it all with “I hope this post doesn’t get nuked just so the prosecutor can read it back to you at trial”.
Bloom later posted an apology via on Twitter. His account has since been deleted, but a copy of the apology was cached by Google. “No excuses, obviously incredibly stupid of me to do what I did,” Bloom wrote. “But please keep the hate on me, don’t give crap to to any of my friends or [organisations] I’ve associated with. I hope some people can forgive me, but I understand if not,” he continued.
Bloom’s recent team, Armor eSports, is currently sitting 6th in the ESEA’s Main division for North America. Main sits under ESEA’s Premier and Professional divisions, and the last time Bloom was adjacent to the top echelons of North American Counter-Strike was a few years ago when he played for Grandpa Berets, squaring off (but mostly losing) against more well-known teams including Echo Fox, Team Liquid, Counter Logic Gaming and Cloud9.
Kotaku Australia reached out to ESEA for a comment about the ban, as well as a statement regarding what steps they might take in the future to prevent users from such actions. A representative replied saying that Bloom was “banned due to his interactions with a member of the community”, and that “these types of actions are not acceptable”. Their statement did not outline any specific actions as a reason for the ban, but said “any reports of similar actions are taken very seriously and will be fully investigated by our team”.