Lies and Deceit - My departure from Ninjas in Pyjamas & Peterpandam
The last month of my life has been one of the most mortifying and difficult one. The inner turmoil which I experienced, while trying to decide what is right and just, and what I should do, I wish to never experience again. I wish I could erase the last two months of my life. However, as the dust settles and my pleas fall to deaf ears once again, it becomes clear to me that the only recourse remaining is for me to go public, in the most vengeful and dishonourable way. It is selfish, it is vile, it makes me similar to those who I believe have done me grave wrong. But somebody out there, has to know. Today, I bring to you an extremely personal, private, business matter regarding my controversial departure from Ninjas in Pyjamas and Peterpandam, and the aftermath, leading to this current day, to this post. I am owed ~16,000 to 17,875 USD from Ninjas in Pyjamas (3,500 USD March salary, 3,500//5,000 USD April non-contracted/negotiated salary, and 9,375 USD, verbally "promised" / non-contracted, DotaPit Minor 7.5% incentive), and here is my story. Be warned, it will be long, it won't be pretty.
I will begin by providing some rough context about myself. I'm Clairvoyance, in the last two years, I have coached VGJ.Storm, Mineski, and most recently, Ninjas in Pyjamas' professional DotA 2 teams. I believe myself to be a kind and honest person, and put priority on the Golden Rule, to treat others the way I would like to be treated. To my seldom disappointment, I am also very soft, and put too much care and thought on things that may not matter, particularly in business. Witnessing infidelity amidst my everyday co-workers, seeing snide remarks being made towards teammates, or even others with little to no repercussions, asserting one's position over another in any way even if it is within their right, many "trivial" things affect me in more ways than I would like. My father is a man who forged my mother's signature for a large purchase, and was expelled from Canada when I was younger, and I was raised by a single mother, who in my eyes, had been through the depths of hell. But my life is not nearly as bad as it sounds; in fact, I am extremely blessed for many things, even such as the opportunity of the NIP (Ninjas in Pyjamas) tenure, despite my regrets. Through all of this, along with all my failures in the past, my desire to be honest and truthful has grown; conversely, I've developed an abnormal spite for my perception of trickery, lies, injustice, and wrongdoings.
The one thing I can promise about what is to come, is that I will not lie. Most of what I say will have logs to associate with it, and may be provided in the future, should this drag on with responses from other parties. At this point, devastated and unemployed, there is little for me to gain, besides relief and solace, knowing that the truth is out there, and someone would understand my plea; conversely, I am sure this hurts my chances even further, to continue working with other teams - who would want a whistle blower that can potentially cause issues and record/log conversations? Who would want a coach, or any person in any capacity, that might stress you to be accountable and responsible for all your words and actions, even though you don't want to be bound to every one of them? My case today won't hold in any Supreme courts of justice, but at least have a voice in the Public court of opinions. So today, in one of the most mortifying decisions I have ever made, I appeal to you, the public, with as much truths, proofs, and personal cries as possible.
On the night of March 30th, NIP DotA 2 had a significant Major Qualifier loss to The Final Tribe. All of us had been under stress, but my circumstances made it worse. My 3-month probation contract with NIP expired the following day, March 31st, and I thought my future from thereon. Minor qualifiers were coming up a few days later, the team atmosphere is at an all-time low, and though I've been verbally assured that my contract is to be extended, I haven't heard anything from the one person it matters the most from, NIP's CEO, Hicham. Considering the factors, I thought long and hard, went more silent on my team than I ever did (a coaching failure), and decided to schedule a meeting the next day, but afterwards, also schedule the most important team-related meeting in my life, with the captain, Peterpandam. This meeting is the crux of why I am in my position today.
On a whim that night, and partially to protect myself, I downloaded an app called Otter on my phone (first recording app search for me), and attempted to record this conversation. It is a heinous act, and I wish I had never done it - but at this point, I sincerely wish the recording worked. There is nothing but static and white noise, with no changes when uploaded on Google Drive, and I tried to use it as an empty threat to receive my rightful payments recently, to no avail. Going back to that night, in what I perceived to be a "do-or-die" scenario, a scenario where I feared for my future, I decided to confront Peter on all the issues that hinders this team, from my perspective, and most of it revolved around him. To my surprise and delight, it was a heartfelt conversation about everything, despite the vitriolic answers to many questions. I came out very aggressive, with everything on the line, and was not willing to let any responsibility and accountability slip by - to make sure he understood the problems, and what he can do to fix them. In the end, towards the end of the April Minor, few players had given me good feedback on what they felt was different, and I was proud of going above my call of duty, and confronting "the hand that feeds me", confronting a man, much larger than myself. Going back to the end of this conversation, the last things we discussed, were my incentives in my upcoming tenure with NIP, towards The International.
Very straight, I requested 7.5%. "I believe my work amounts to this much, and this is what I expect from this team". The response I was met with, was, "like everything else, this team will probably not have an opinion so it will be up to me. And yeah, I'm fine with it, it will be done." Coming from Mineski who offered me 10% from the very start, coming from the first 3 months of NIP where I agreed to take 0% under the premise of "trial", and with knowledge of my contemporaries in mind, who receive 5%-15%, I felt it was a fair request, and I was met with a favorable response. In my mind, this is a verbal "promise". Along with what I see as a verbal agreement, it gave me hope in a continuing future with this roster and organization, but that is where I was wrong. I certainly do not have the recording of that night, as I said many times privately, I wouldn't even want to post it anyway - the things that Peterpandam said that night, quite literally would have ended his career on NIP with this current roster. But I do wish I did, after all the recent interactions with Peterpandam and Hicham, which made it loud and clear that you will not be paying me my due. At the very least, the world might know, but Peter and I know exactly what this means. He can't lie his way out of this one.
This log comes from immediately after my departure, so allow me to continue the timeline, until that point. After the fateful meetings, few people of the team feel that "bootcamps are useless", at least for them. Whether I agree or not, the shortage of time between DPC events and qualifiers have taken its toll among other factors, and all the players agreed to play out the Minor Qualifier from home. Upon returning home, we practice and win the Minor Qualifier remotely, and finally, with everything out of the way, on April 6th, I send a message to NIP's CEO, Hicham, to request the signing of a new contract until The International 9. I received zero responses for 3 weeks straight, until the conclusion of the DotaPit Minor which we won, days before our flight to the MDL Paris Major, and was told afterwards that he was "waiting on the team's response to keep me". It wasn't the first time I was met with silence.
To sidetrack a bit, I've never met Hicham. Everything I know is from personal interaction and third-party words. But some of the things I've heard, I validate through my own experiences. At the start of my time with this organisation, Hicham scheduled two meetings within a week with me, the first being the 27th. I remember because I cancelled a doctor's appointment regarding my folliculitis problem. Some of you might have seen me from VGJ.Storm last year, I often sported a big wound patch on my face - I have some skin problems on my face/scalp to say the least, and they require incidental surgeries if I leave them be, without prescription and treatment. Hicham never showed to both of these meetings, and after I got a hold of him in the new year, he said "I apologize, I was up in the mountains where they had no internet access". It was a nice precedent of what I was to expect, to know that I'm so little that you can't give me an excuse ahead of time on two separate instances. I later had to have surgery on 3 spots on my scalp between January-February, because I missed that appointment, and December 27th was the dermatologist's last day before a 3 week winter vacation, heading into 2019. But hey, such is life.
Moving forward, we compete at the DotaPit Minor, and it was good. In fact, we won, it should be great. However, the final tournament days were ominously shitty for me. I'm normally relieved more than anything else when I'm with a team that "exceeds" expectations, but I felt oddly stressed. NIP is a good DotA 2 team, despite what anyone says, but not everyone thought we were going to win that Minor. My own captain, in his last words from the 31st meeting, said, "I don't know man, the Minor's got some pretty good teams, and this team, y'know *insert yuck/meh gesture*". And my hunch came to fruition, when I spoke with Peter regarding the "moving forward" after the Minor. All the business regarding me was put to a halt before, because the team considered replacing me.
On April 29th, after the DotaPit Minor, Peter and I opened dialogue regarding the future. He requested that I scale back on the strategic side of coaching though it might sound demeaning, for which I said yes it does, but it wasn't the first time he alluded to the concept, so I agreed. Then I asked about my 7.5% incentive, for two reasons - one, I wanted to make sure that my due from April (DotaPit Minor) is expected, and two, because going into May, now over a month without a contract while working for this team, I want to properly finalise it and sign a new contract while we have the breathing room, before the Major, as there will be no practice. This is where everything begins to fall apart.
As I assumed, I was told it was basically up to him (Peter), but he suddenly states that 5% is "more reasonable, especially since it seems like we're indeed going to TI." This was not what I was told, so I began giving reasons why this is not fair, why I am worth more. Without bringing up that prior conversation on March 31st. I didn't to impose or assert myself, I didn't want to seem hostile or rude. Then it was laid to me in a big response, that my fate is not only entirely on his hands, but that I can hold on to my "dignity" which will result in me watching TI from home, and at 7.5%, I am to be sent home packing. I'm told that "you either do a good job you don't" referring to the Minor Grand Finals, based on the examples of, "not calling out 0minute wards or early game movements", and that I didn't know the bans in the first couple of games in our grand final series, for which I was the one who began the prep. process and had written down right in my document, but hesitated to respond for about 4-5 seconds on stage the moment it was requested, because we switched the bans based on the prior games. After responding that I am lost for words, and asking again, if he really thinks I did a bad job, he used the examples of SVG and Bulba, his prior coaches on EG, and how they are "way better coaches his experience", stating SVG is a captain (he wasn't when he coached), and Bulba is an experienced player. Feeling absolutely betrayed, depreciated, and confused, I felt comatosed. "Why is this happening, where did I go wrong, what did I do to deserve this?" Stuck at the remote NIP bootcamp alone in Landskrona, Sweden (waiting for Paris travel), I was shellshocked.
From the conversation on March 31st, where I felt we opened up entirely and established trust, to us winning the April DotaPit Minor, and now this. I thought long and hard, and have tried to appeal to the players and Hicham, which I was warned by another party to not do because the outcome is obvious. After desperate contemplation and all of this over the 48 hours after the above conversation, I asked myself this - after all said and done, can I hold my head high as a coach for this team, heading into the International? Can I sweep my perception of this extremely underhanded foul play, this injustice, all under the rug, and remain to collect the paychecks that I will earn?" My answer was no. Convicted and vengeful for this reality, I left the team, and I left in the worst way possible - by exposing most of my inner thoughts, my harbored history pertaining to Peterpandam, my answers to his claims, and whatever else vengeful truth I could muster up on the spot, on that morning of my departure on the 1st of May. Until recently, I was conflicted whether this was the right thing to do, and quite frankly, it wasn't. No matter what has happened or will happen, this type of thing, I wish were never done to me, and it was wrong. But over the course of the last few days, as I have no choice but to accept that I will never receive my full due for my work for NIP in April, I accept that this is my only course of action, this is what needs to be done, for any reparation for this monumental snake-move, this deceit, this withholding of a man's rightful earnings nearing 10,000 US Dollars. Here are my final words posted to the active NIP DotA 2 roster and its Manager, on the day of my departure. It's the single most hate-filled piece of my mind that I have ever shared with anyone, but after our recent discussions, I feel more than vindicated.
My March Salary is contracted, so NIP owes me 3.5k USD for that month, it's two months overdue. My April salary was not contracted because they had ignored my request to sign one, as they were "waiting on the team's word", but I have a verbal recording of my last vocal conversation with Hicham stating that I will be paid, and "contract's aren't a big deal for us because we always pay." This recording works, and should this money be continuously withheld from me or responded with any form of denial, I will not hesitate to post it. I had initially requested a figure of 5,000 USD, which is part of that recording before my departure. At the time, the response was, "I'll check my budget and get back to you". I worked the entire month of April and contributed to that DotaPit Minor victory, under the pretence that I would be given the 7.5% verbally agreed upon, and that my salary would be greater than the value of 3,500 USD, my 3-month probational salary. Had I been offered 3,500 USD, my probational amount as my extension salary, can you believe in any capacity, that I would stay and work for you? Of course, after I had left, I requested my total sum of ~17,000 USD, which I was told "I will get back to you and let you know what is to be invoiced." Hicham never got back to me, so I went digging for my money.
I resumed dialogue once again, several nights ago. And now, I am being told that because of lack of "contractual terms", $5,000 USD is a number I made up out of the blue, and NIP are not obligated to pay it. You withheld a contract signing from me for an entire month while I worked for you and not only won the Minor, but qualified for a one million dollar Major, which I earned my spot in, yet requested nothing from nor attended. And because of all this, I have no grounds to validate any of my claims for a higher salary after my expired contract in March, so you win. Congratulations. Now pay me for my two outstanding months of work - one contracted for March, one with your verbal and written consent in April, 3,500 x 2. Your "business practice" sickens me Hicham, and the world may not know, but this wasn't the first time you screwed someone with this type of play. It's a shame, some of the drama from other games will never see the light of day, and people like you might never be held responsible or accountable on the merit of your position and status. But don't think for one second that you are innocent, you are not. Not as a bystander, nor as a leadership figure who has the ability and resources to right these wrongs.
Regarding my 7.5% incentive, which really gave birth to all of this since that fateful night on March 31st, the last day of my contract with NIP, I've had far too many conversations with Hicham and Peterpandam regarding it over the last 5 days, and it appears there is no room for compromise. Through my threats of going public, my ultimatums and begging, I pleaded with both of them to give me my due, and have even lowered my request to 5% for the Minor in response to something I felt as a gesture of honesty at one point, along with the 3,500 USD x 2 months of salary, which should equate to roughly 12~14k USD. It has been made clear to me by Peterpandam, "until i hear the recording, you are getting 0%", and as I stated earlier in this post, the recording doesn't work. It's a crazy world, in this day and age, where you need recordings of a man just for him to verify that he said it and be accountable to his word, but at least, I have the log above, which states that you "changed your mind based on circumstances that also changed". The word "wiretapping" seems negative and wrong in my mind, and I regretted even trying or using it, even holding onto one right now. But there are no Unions, Players Associations or whatever, to protect people in my line of work, esports is not "official" enough for such things, so I delved into it lightly, feeling guilty at the time. But after all, once again, I damn wish that I had it, so I could expose what kind of bullshit is being at play here against me, and the people involved, I will never forgive. I would never outright scam someone of money I told them they would receive, in whatever capacity. No amount of words can express my malevolence towards you and this situation, Peterpandam.
Contracts? They say your actions have consequences, but so do your words. And their words, have been nothing but lies and deceit. Peterpandam said that he was the only one fighting for me on this team on two occasions, and yet he can't even protect me from his own wretched lies. And on the topic of "lies", as I was reviewing some of the logs I may have to post in the future, I found this. Remember when I contacted you on Whats-app on Thursday, after speaking with Hicham prior to, regarding Hicham's knowledge of what was to be given to me, you said, "I don't think he knows what was and wasn't discussed." I told you about some deleted logs as I had the conversations pretty much next to each other, but lo and behold, something was left behind. You were both obviously very aware, and knew what you were doing.
My departure from Ninjas in Pyjamas has been one of the most bitter experiences in my life. The absurdity of the situation will forever bewilder me, and it's taken a severe toll on my life in the last month - I have not been eating much, I went to bed everyday wondering if I should message about the money the next day and what response I would be met with, or in the last few days, if I should go public. My sister had her wedding yesterday, and all I could think of while escorting her down the aisle, was what I should do, if I were denied my money. What can I possibly do to collect the money I earned, without a contract on this team? I despise my soft nature at times like this, but in the end, as I conclude this post, I feel truly relieved, despite knowing that I am not clean. I selfishly slandered my former captain to his teammates, and betrayed his trust in me, so I can "get even". And now, as it escalated to new heights, I feel this is my only remaining option. As for the two perpetrators in my eyes, these are my parting words:
To Hicham, as an associate and the man standing behind Peterpandam, you are an accomplice. I took solace in the fact that you offered "performance bonuses" in a private discussion with Peter despite the changed incentive offer initially presented to me, and I do believe you when you referred to 7.5%, "Just make sure if you guys agreed to it, to not go back on it. We should not screw him (or anyone) over, regardless of our personal opinions." However, in the end, you are screwing me the same, as you say it is not your choice, but you know you have the power to convince what is right. In the process of "waiting on the team", you ignored my requests to sign a new contract or respond at all, you no-showed both of our initial business meetings due to the mountains (I don't believe you but whatever), and through the lack of a contract in April, you pay me the bare minimum of what I can expect, which is what I received prior to, in March. I wonder, if you didn't give me your word or I didn't have it on recording, would you pay me at all? And if so, what stops you from paying me one US dollar for my work in April? All of this even being possible is bullshit in my eyes, and my mistake here is quietly working, trusting, and expecting the words, good will and decency of others to give me what I deserve. I do hope that you pay me the 7k USD, two months of outstanding salary that you set the expectation for. At the very least.
To Peterpandam, we've exchanged enough words and disparaged enough trust, right? You said I'm a shitty coach after winning the Minor together, I called you the biggest jebait in DotA, among many other nasty things. You betrayed my trust on 2.5% and took jabs at my "dignity" from your position, I replied in kind of what that meant to me in the worst, hostile, vitriolic way possible. And now, without recordings, you give me your word, that I will receive nothing for my contributions from the Minor Championship, after all said and done. After my departure, you said, "You're being a big baby over 2.5%", well this is what I choose to do over 7.5%. So I give you my last reminder. As you continue in this scene, as you use your name and status and continue to weasel your way into positions of power and stability, understand this fact. People who talk to you, interact with you in their everyday or business capacity, there are real, genuine people out there. And those genuine people, they might not be as established, stable, or rich as you are, but they see right through the facade that you put on, for the repulsive person you can be, and were to me. Despite my loss of ~10,000 USD, possibly 17,000 USD depending if NIP.Hicham upholds his contract and words or not, despite what I incur upon myself with this ignominious whistle-blowing, I take shelter in the fact that people will see even a fraction of the truth, and hopefully, you feel a fraction of the despair and remorse that I felt since April 29th. It did not have to come to this, but here we are now, and I Sincerely, look forward to your reply. Because should there be any attempts to deceive or deviate from the truth, I will not hesitate to post the relevant logs and recordings, whatever else I have remaining. It's a shame as I am missing the most important one, but you and I know deep down, what you said, and that you can lie to me and everyone else, but you cannot lie to yourself.
For everyone else, the lesson here is to never work an extra day without a contract, and do not trust the words of any person, despite who they are to you. And as I have added in the my final words letter to the team, don't let anyone ever take advantage of you.
I'm currently unemployed with no real sights in mind. One thing I know is, I'm committed to DotA, and I'm going to continue doing everything I can and should. I used to post this long-winded analytics blog called "Break the Metagame", years ago. I recently posted one that got no traction, here is the link --> https://www.reddit.com/r/DotA2/comments/bnr78j/break_the_metagame_5122019/
I will probably resume posting more as my time right now consists of eat, sleep, and play. With the new patch and all of this drama beyond my personal case, regarding the long-overdue racism address, there's a lot of things on my mind that's worth talking about, and I think my insights on the game as a professional coach for ~3 years (including Cloud 9, TI4) must have some value to someone, somewhere. I am looking to upgrade my PC and start streaming again, I've been trying to take everything more serious than ever and have made efforts to work on my pub behaviour as well as gameplay. With this setback, I know I have to prove my worth ten-fold for any events to have me again, any players to compete with me again, or any teams to request my coaching services again. So, I will do that. With more conviction than ever. More genuine, than ever.