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The 100 Thieves Warzone Charity Debacle Explained

100 Thieves, a gaming and lifestyle organization based in Los Angeles, Calif., has had its plans for a major Call of Duty: Warzone charity event upended. The "Gamers for Equality" tournament series, which 100 Thieves had planned to hold in June and July, was created to raise money for organizations working toward racial justice. 100 Thieves would have been donating $100,000 of its own money as well as taking donations for the full length of the event. The top 3 teams from each week's tournament would have been able to pick from a list of 3 different charity organizations to send the money to. It was shaping up to be a pretty noble endeavor.


Unfortunately, it seems that 100 Thieves made these plans without ever consulting Activision, the publisher behind Warzone. That may have been because 100 Thieves just assumed that Activision would say yes or — as Rod Breslau suggested — it planned to get the public invested in the event and therefore on 100 Thieves's side.

Whether it was simple optimism or a pre-planned PR stunt, it seems to have backfired.

On June 17, just one day before the Gamers for Equality series was supposed to start, 100 Thieves announced that it was unable to get permission to use Warzone for the tournament series and was looking for "alternative solutions." As if behind the wheel of one of its own trucks, Activision killed the Warzone event with a gentle tap.


According to Matthew "Nadeshot" Haag, the founder and co-owner of 100 Thieves, the sticking point was one of the event sponsors: Cash App. Activision would allow Warzone to be used on the condition that Cash App was not associated with the tournament and the charity event wasn't monetized. Nadeshot explained that Cash App had donated $100,000 and couldn't be separated from Gamers for Equality. However, Nadeshot wanted to make it perfectly clear that 100 Thieves was not profiting from the event.

Plenty of people were ready to pile on Activision for not letting its game be used in a charity event. Activision is already a reviled company for a lot of gamers, and some of these comments definitely reflect that. "f*** [A]ctivision," as one commenter bluntly put it. The general feeling here seems to be that, even though Activision is infamous for being money-hungry and overprotective of its IPs, there should have been no problem with 100 Thieves using one of its games for an event that wasn't bringing in any profit.

On the other side of the issue, especially in the replies to Breslau's tweet, a lot of people scolded Nadeshot for not getting permission before planning and announcing the tournament series. Some, including Breslau himself, questioned why 100 Thieves needed a major sponsor to run a charity event. He snarkily answered his own question with a picture of the 100 Thieves Cash App compound.


There are a few major questions still unanswered about this whole debacle. First, was this a matter of good intentions paving a road to Hell? Or were Nadeshot and the rest of 100 Thieves crew hoping that Activision would back down from the bad PR? Did the group think it could get Activision to break its own rules and allow a sponsored tournament using Warzone? These are things we can only speculate about.

An even bigger question, though, pertains to the event. What's happening to the Gamers for Equality tournament? Clearly it's not happening today like it was supposed to. Will the event be delayed and run using a different game — with permission, hopefully? A lot of 100 Thieves fans are clamoring for Valorant, Riot Games' new team shooter. Valorant is the new hotness in the FPS world and would attract a lot of attention, so it could be an excellent choice if 100 Thieves decides to move forward with Gamers for Equality.

Or — and this is what many fans dread — will the entire event have to be scrapped? If so, what will happen to the $100,000 each that 100 Thieves and Cash App had already promised to donate to the cause?

100 Thieves hasn't offered up any new information since Nadeshot's video on June 17, and it's likely that the organization is still trying to hash out a new plan. Hopefully we'll soon learn when (and if) Gamers for Equality is happening, and what it will look like going forward.