In June, energy drink company G Fuel attracted controversy when it fired seven talent managers under mysterious circumstances, prompting over 70 G Fuel-partnered influencers to end their relationships with the brand. Today, a report from Digiday sheds new light on the circumstances that lead to the seven talent managers’ firings.
The private energy drink company, which was founded in 2012 by current G Fuel CEO Cliff Morgan, quickly became one of the biggest beverage brands in gaming, attracting huge sponsorship deals with folks like Pewdiepie and mainstream athletes. But in June, after rumors spread that talent managers had been fired following complaints from them to HR, a long list of influencers abruptly ended their partnerships with the company.
Now, thanks to the new report from Digiday, we have more information about the controversial firings that led to June’s influencer exodus. Digiday spoke to both current and former employees about the fired managers and the toxic workplace that reportedly exists within G Fuel.
The biggest moment happened during a video call on June 14 with the CEO and seven talent managers—people who report to various influencers and talent directly. Allegedly during that call, CEO Cliff Morgan repeatedly blamed G Fuel’s talent managers for declining sales and also called out previously dismissed staffers as being “lazy motherfuckers.” He then proceeded to call the talent managers on call “retards” and told them to step up their work and to increase sales. Finally, he ended the meeting by promising that nobody would be fired, according to folks who were part of the meeting and who spoke to Digiday.
Following that meeting, five of the seven talent managers who attended it reported the CEO’s behavior directly to HR. The next day, those five managers and the two who had not filed complaints were all fired.
When reached for comment, G Fuel said the employees were fired for “lack of performance” and it was all part of an effort to restructure the company. G Fuel also confirmed that Morgan said “lazy motherfuckers” during the meeting, but apparently, that was just a “broad descriptor” he used and wasn’t meant as a specific criticism of anyone.
Kotaku has contacted G Fuel about the report and the numerous influencers ending their partnerships with the company.
According to Digiday, since the firings and the rumors of why the managers were fired have spread online, over 70 partnered influencers and streamers have ended their deals with G Fuel in protest. Many of these influencers only interacted with these talent managers, and have cut ties with G Fuel to show support for their liaisons.
This isn’t the first time Morgan has found himself in hot water. In 2019 he called a woman streamer a “lying cunt” on Twitter. It should also be noted that three of the managers fired were women.