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YouPorn's e-sports team faces code of conduct roadblock

Team YP, a competitive gaming team sponsored by the streaming site YouPorn, says it has been banned from a major e-sports league because of its pornographic connection.

The Electronic Sports League (ESL) responded by saying it is working to accommodate Team YP while continuing to enforce its rules that forbid sponsors associated with adult content.

A section of the ESL's code of conduct "reserves the right to prohibit or remove teams with sponsors or partners that are solely or widely known for pornographic, drug use or other adult/mature themes and products" from its competitive events.

According to VentureBeat, which claims to have email correspondence between the two parties, Team YP offered to rebrand, even removing the "YP" from the team names, but ESL did not agree to the terms.

"The ESL ban impacts many players on our roster, including those on our Rainbow Six: Siege (former Evolve team), StarCraft 2 and Mortal Kombat X teams, and makes our planned expansion into other branches of e-sports extremely difficult," Team YP co-ordinator Claire Fisher told CBC News. 

"We hope for the players and fans' sake that this gets resolved sooner rather than later, but based on our latest correspondence, in which they declined our offer to rebrand the team, we're not optimistic."

When asked about why it reportedly cut ties with Team YP,  ESL spokeswoman Anna Rozwandowicz told CBC News, "'cutting ties' is a bit of a dramatization, as we remain proactive in trying to help solve this situation."

Team YP censored shirt

In response to Capcom banning Team YP's logo from its events, YP printed a 'censored' version. (Team YP)

"Advertising pornography is not legal in the markets we operate in, and the vast majority of partners we're working with have strict "no drugs, no alcohol, no pornography" rules that we've contractually taken on board," ESL said in a statement. "At the same time, we're consulting with our legal teams about this. We will inform the team and the management as soon as we have any updates."

ESL said its rule against sponsors with adult content connections has been in the books for over a year and a half, adding that "discussions with the teams have been going on for a long time, so it is not like we just decided to enforce it now, they [Team YP] just made it public now."

Team YP promotions porn-free

YouPorn entered the e-sports scene in 2014, signing a DOTA 2 team formerly known as Play2Win. But other than signing a handful of players, its ranks have thinned in the last year, as contracts with their DOTA 2 and Counter-Strike teams expired.

YouPorn has gone to extensive lengths to ensure the word "porn" doesn't appear on any of its websites or promotional material, and searches for Team YP don't bring up links to the porn site.

The team logo, a sword piercing a mountain range, could qualify as innuendo depending on how vivid your imagination is.

Still, YP ultimately stands for "YouPorn," and for ESL that appears to be enough to break its code of conduct.

Team YP Bizarro and Filipinoman

Former Team YP member Jason (Bizarro Flame) Yoon, left, and current YP member Anton (Filipinoman) Herrera pose at a Street Fighter event in Sacramento, Calif., in 2016. (Team YP)

YP logo banned from Street Fighter tournaments

​YouPorn has run into problems with branding its e-sports team in the past. Games publisher Capcom disallowed the team's two competitors, Valentine (Valmaster) Petit and Anton (Filipinoman) Herrera, from wearing Team YP shirts at Capcom Cup, the company's premier event for competitive Street Fighter V, in December.

Valmaster and Filipinoman's sponsor names were not displayed on Capcom Cup's live stream graphics, as they were for other sponsors like Red Bull and PC gaming company Razer.

​Team YP responded by making a shirt that showed its logo in pixelated form and sold it on the team's store with the tagline "censorship in e-sports."

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