Team 7AM co-founder steps down following leaked Pride Month remarks

31 January 2024


Team 7am
(ESI Illustration) Image credit: Team 7AM, Shutterstock

Team 7AM co-founder and Managing Director John ‘WundA’ Smith-Howell has stepped down from the European esports organisation following leaked comments made about Pride Month. 

The leaked Discord messages, which were revealed by former Team 7AM League of Legends player Benjamin ‘Zhergoth’ Sánchez, show Smith-Howell and fellow co-founder Jody ‘Yoni’ Bruggeman make offensive remarks about the LGBTQ+ celebration.

As a result of the comments, various members of the esports community have shunned the actions with British Esports’ Community Manager, Emma ‘Emzii’ Rose, announcing that she will no longer be associated with the organisation as a player/content creator moving forward. 

Team 7AM has yet to make a public statement on how Smith-Howell’s departure will affect the organisation as a whole. However, Kieran Robertson, Team7AM’s Director of Operations did take to X to state that the remarks “will ultimately cost me my job”.

Esports Insider has reached out to Smith-Howell and Bruggeman for comment and will update this article if additional information is provided. 

Following the leaked comments, Smith-Howell issued a statement on social media announcing that he has stepped down from the organisation. An excerpt read: “I’m deeply sorry to people who were close to me and to all those affected by the comments made, those who know me well know this isn’t my stance. I couldn’t tell you what my thought process or mindset were at the time as this was some time ago.

“Nothing I can say here will change what has happened, I want to be clear that this isn’t my stance on Pride.”

Founded in 2019 by Smith-Howell and Bruggeman, Team 7AM has largely been an organisation that has competed in the European regional esports scene. The team currently competes in the Elite Series, League of Legends’ European Regional League for the Benelux region. The organisation has also previously fielded rosters in Rainbow Six Siege, Rocket League, VALORANT, and Counter-Strike. 

Tom Daniels
Tom has been part of Esports Insider's team since October 2020 and is currently the platform's Editor. When not playing Football Manager, he enjoys reporting on the mobile esports scene as well as the betting sector.