Why’s there drama over Ludwig going to Dubai? Here’s the deal

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Drama has erupted around Ludwig Ahgren’s canceling a planned Dubai trip and setting the explanation video private.

Ludwig‘s February came to an awkward close. Although the popular streamer has previously experienced drama, the past few days spawned more controversy than Ludwig and his fans typically expect. It all started with his criticism of fellow streamer Hasan “HasanAbi” Piker. Hasan controversially stated that “a real job doesn’t suck the soul out of you the same way that nine hours of streaming absolutely will.” Ludwig disagreed on a since-deleted video on his Mogul Mail channel.

The response prompted Hasan to accuse Ludwig of “drama farming.” From there things went from awkward to worse. Ludwig deleted yet another controversial video about an upcoming Dubai trip, a controversy with implications that reach much further than some light streamer drama. 

Why did Ludwig cancel his Dubai trip?

Ludwig canceled his Dubai trip as it was allegedly an unpaid appearance for the sponsor, Red Bull, and citing concerns regarding the human rights implications surrounding events hosted in the United Arab Emirates.

Ludwig announced in January 2024 that he signed with Red Bull as an athlete, something that would see him attend events organized by the company around the world. He said Red Bull is one of his most lucrative partnerships to date, and it would likely mean sponsored events for the energy drink brand in the future. One of the first events Ludwig would have gone to was a Red Bull summit of athletes in Dubai.

Fans immediately shared their concerns about the event and worried Ludwig would participate in “sportswashing.” Sportswashing is when controversial entities, typically governments, use sporting events to distract the public from problematic issues or sports to maintain a positive image internationally while mistreating their citizenry. Saudi Arabia’s acquisition of numerous esports companies and the F-1 Bahrain Grand Prix have both been branded as sportswashing by journalists within the sports and by human rights organizations.

The United Arab Emirates has been criticized for its censorship, LGBT rights, and women’s rights by Amnesty International and other non-governmental organizations. After fans informed Ludwig of these facts, he says he told Red Bull he would no longer participate and Red Bull acquiesced. 

Ludwig stated the event was simply a meet-and-greet, he would not have received any money for coming, and Red Bull chose Dubai because the country did not require travel visas to enter. The response video was set to private not long after publication, and then was re-listed.

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Written by Gab Hernandez

Gab Hernandez has a particular love for video games that give players control over the narrative direction, such as Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Disco Elysium. Gab spends just as much time playing games as they do gushing about them online to anyone who will listen. Their work has also been seen on TheGamer, Gfinity, and Wargamer, and you can follow them on Twitter / X at @HardlyWorkinGab.

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