The Guard lays off all its employees
According to sources within the organization, The Guard has laid off its entire staff.
LA esports organization, The Guard, has reportedly laid off every single employee, according to sources within the company. Sources speaking to Esports.gg stated that every single person in the company had been laid off after an all-hands meeting. This was later confirmed in numerous Tweets from former employees.
(This is a developing story and Esports.gg will update as we receive more information.)
According to The Guard’s (former) head of merchandise, every single employee — bosses, and bosses' bosses — have been let go. This includes the content team, social team, talent relations, and creative teams. It’s unknown if this will affect team rosters. Even Guard players seemed shocked by the news.
The Guard operates teams in VALORANT, Halo, and Apex Legends. Additionally, The Guard is the umbrella organization associated with the Los Angeles Guerrillas of the Call of Duty League, and the Los Angeles Gladiators of the Overwatch League.
Employees were working up to the moment before the all-hands was called. The last posts on The Guard and Los Angeles Guerrillas' Twitter were made just hours before the news broke.
The Guard quits esports?
The Guard is, in effect, the esports arm of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE), a holding company that has stakes in numerous sports teams and entertainment outlets. These include the LA Rams, Arsenal FC, Colorado Rapids, and numerous stadium venues. The organization was founded by billionaire Stan Kroenke.
However, now it seems that KSE is shifting away from esports and divesting from the industry by heavily downsizing.
Looking for work: Former Guard employees
Immediately after the news struck, dozens of Guard employees took to Twitter to share their “looking for work” posts, a reminder of the human cost of layoffs. Currently, there are dozens of posts echoing a similar sentiment of shock and disappointment.
Many of these employees moved across the country to work for the company, and now find themselves looking for work in LA.
All of the affected employees were eventually listed by former Guard employee Hunter in the following thread:
Security at The Guard offices detain former employees
The news took an even more sinister turn as employees at The Guard's offices reported that Security were now allegedly laying hands on them. All while apparently just trying to back up files and collect personal effects.
Ariel Ben-Abraham tweeted that he'd moved just two days ago. He now finds himself allegedly being detained by the company's security.
The esports industry reacts to the layoffs
With such a large and influential organization announcing layoffs, there was no shortage of criticism from the wider esports industry. Sentinels Twitter account pulled no punches with their reply:
"Unreal. f**k @TheGuard." The tweet seemed to dig at some deep beef between Sentinels and The Guard. in 2019, Sentinels co-founder, Robert Moore, sued KSE's esports arm (predating The Guard branding).
But even outside of this, there's a lot of people in the esports scene who had friends and colleagues at The Guard. Today's layoffs seem to have struck a chord with many.
Laid off by 100T and The Guard
One former Guard designer took to Twitter with a darkly humorous meme:
George H. Nowack had been employed by 100T in 2022, but was part of a round of layoffs which saw much of the content team dismissed. In December, he started with The Guard, having moved to LA. Reportedly, it was 100T who had helped him get his footing:
"All I can say is that when I got laid off at 100T, the first thing the HR team did was help me land a job. They gave me advice on negotiating salary and expectations, and even helped me restructure my replies to potential job offers.
Experience at The Guard was the exact opposite. They were really eager to push everyone out the door. I feel especially bad for Ariel."
The Guard's handling of the layoffs has already drawn much criticism, with some questioning whether they were even legal. California operates under the WARN act, which ensures that employees have 60 days notice before a mass layoff.
This is a developing story and Esports.gg will update as we receive more information.