The Fortnite Championship Series is a big deal for pros competing in Epic Games’ battle royale game — not only are millions of dollars on the line, participating at all guarantees at least some money for entrants. That is unless you happen to get disqualified from the proceedings. One team found that out the hard way.
On Sunday, FNCS competitor Wrigley posted an ill-advised tweet that read, “Like literally fucking k!ll your$elf @donaldmustard,” tagging Epic Games chief creative officer Donald Mustard. Their entire Twitter account is gone now, but in response, Epic Games reprimanded Wrigley, disqualifying him from the tournament.
His teammates were also caught in the crossfire. Wrigley was a part of a trio, which included Fortnite pros who go by the handles Dictate and Userz. The duo say they had nothing to do with Wrigley’s initial outburst, but they can no longer participate in the tournament, nor are they allowed to find a replacement for the offending team member.
Reached for comment, an Epic Games representative directed Polygon to the company’s community rules, which clearly state that “interacting with others in a way that is predatory, threatening, intimidating, lewd, demeaning, derogatory, invasive of privacy, or abusive” are all not allowed. Breaking these guidelines can be grounds for bans, or any other punishment that Epic Games sees fit.
In a private message to Polygon, Userz shared the screenshot that greeted him after loading the game.
According to Userz, Wrigley’s tweet was the result of being enraged after getting sniped in the first game of the grand finals. He also claims that the duo was not aware of the tweet until the day after, at which point it had already been deleted. Since then, there’s been radio silence from Wrigley — but the larger Fortnite community is rallying around the team. While nobody appears to support Wrigley’s original tweet, some fans believe it was unfair to mete out bans for the entire team. Userz estimates that over the course of the last two months, he had been “grinding” practice time for up to 12 hours a day in anticipation of the big event.
“The prize pool and everything was very motivating to me,” he said. After qualifying, he said that he started grinding “even harder.”
On Twitter, Userz lobbied fans to reach out to Epic Games over the decision, noting that he and his teammate had been putting “endless amount of time” into the game for a chance at “life changing money.” Rather than having all of that go down the drain, he said, the team would have liked the opportunity to pick a substitute for Wrigley.
“Gonna be honest,” Dictate wrote on Twitter, “I was kinda just laughing it off yesterday when I got the email but now I wanna cry.” The teenager added that he didn’t know if he was going to eat that week, because he had been counting on the tournament money.
“I’m really confused on why my teammate and I, who didn’t have anything to do with the comment our other teammate made, don’t get to receive our $600 in prize money?” Dictate told Polygon over Twitter, regarding what would have been the payout had the team placed last. “We did not cheat our way into the grand finals so it makes no sense that our guaranteed prize was just completely taken away from us.”
Wrigley has apparently promised his teammates remuneration over the disqualification, but in the meantime, others are stepping in to send the duo money.