James “Phantoml0rd” Varga is currently in a legal battle with Twitch over his high-profile ban in 2016, but that hasn’t stopped him from threatening to file another lawsuit.
Varga is threatening to sue the moderators of a popular Twitch subreddit, r/livestreamfail, over a thread that appeared accusing Varga of participating in a separate scam related to a new type of gaming skin. “VGO” skins are unlike Varga’s past alleged infractions, which include reportedly promoting a CS:GO gambling site without disclosing his business ties to the operation.
VGO skins started to spring up after Valve issued cease and desist letters to popular Counter-Strike skin trading sites — something Varga was allegedly caught up in at the time. VGO essentially operates on the belief that people will still want to bid real money on cosmetic items that can’t be used in-game; think of someone bidding on a digital poster that doesn’t actually do anything or exist anywhere other than in their specific VGO account. Journalist and commentator Richard Lewis has a fantastic video summarizing VGOs in-depth.
One of the more prominent VGO trading sites is VGO Unbox, which is what ties Varga into this situation. A recent clip surfaced showcasing Varga talking about the site, and using the term “we” instead of “they” when teasing out future operations.
It’s not just this little “slip up” — as many on Reddit and Twitter are referring to the clip — that’s the issue. A separate clip from Varga’s ex-girlfriend, streamer Dinglederper, claimed OPSkins, a skins trading bot system that Varga was allegedly involved with, works with VGO Unbox. That’s what led to the post on r/livestreamfail claiming Varga was back to “scamming” people with his ex-girlfriend.
There are a lot of uncertainties regarding the situation, including confusion over what VGO’s really are and if their sale constitutes another scam. There’s no definitive proof either way, but the term “scam” seems to have upset Varga enough to threaten to sue the r/livestreamfail moderators. A message reportedly from Varga posted to Reddit by the sub’s moderators suggests that Varga sees the thread as harassment.
“Any further allowance of this post or posts like this will result in legal action that will involve your moderation team and Reddit staff for allowing this post to exist,” the message reads.
The sub’s moderation team responded to Varga’s reported message, claiming the thread doesn’t violate any of Reddit’s community guidelines or terms of service. The moderators claim the thread doesn’t qualify as “systemic or continued actions to torment or demean someone,” which the site’s terms of service define as unacceptable, nor does the thread “cause you to fear for your safety or the safety of those around you.”
“The /r/LivestreamFail mods would suggest to you, PhantomL0rd, that if you wish to pursue your business ventures free of judgement from the greater reddit community, or the community of /r/LivestreamFail specifically, that you don’t stream yourself interacting with your gambling site directly,” their response reads.
Their response also states that Varga should take up his concerns with Reddit’s administration team instead of moderators on a subreddit.
“We have received no notice from the reddit admins regarding the clip, and we invite you to message them directly about your content being posted here if you have actual, legitimate concerns, rather than in a PM sent directly to the subreddit’s owner, which is not an official channel for having posts removed,” the response reads.
This isn’t the first time that someone has threatened to sue a subreddit or its moderators over content that someone may see as unwelcome. Unless the post violates copyright infringement or includes illegal content, it’s likely that nothing will come of Varga’s threat. The biggest argument that Varga could make is calling the thread libellous, especially since he’s in the middle of a bigger lawsuit with Twitch, but that argument never arose.
Polygon has reached out to the moderators, Reddit and Varga for comment.