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2020 Super Smash Bros. sexual misconduct allegations

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In July 2020, numerous allegations of sexual misconduct were risen on over fifty members of the Super Smash Bros. community, including some of the game's most well-known professional players, commentators, tournament organizers, and content creators. The accusations included instances of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual abuse of minors. This generated widespread outrage amongst the Super Smash Bros. community, and received attention from Nintendo, the wide eSports scene, and major mainstream media outlets. As a result, many of the accused players were banned from entering tournaments and isolated from the community. The allegations sparked discussion on preventing sexual misconduct at Smash events, and protecting women and underage competitors within the community.

Timeline

On July 1st, 2020, Puppeh published a Tweet alleging that commentator Cinnamon "Cinnpie" Dunson had manipulated and sexually used him throughout the entire summer of 2016. At the time, Puppeh was 14, while Cinnpie was 24. He also claimed that prior to that incident, Cinnpie had initiated sexual conversations with him on Snapchat.[1] The Tweet was posted on r/smashbros the same day, where commenters found video footage from tournaments supporting Puppeh's allegations.[2] Two other Virginia smashers, Glyphmoney and Zephyr, then posted their own statements alleging that Cinnpie had sexually abused them.[3][4]

Following Puppeh's statement, many other community members came out with accusations of sexual misconduct towards other smashers, with over 100 total accusations being documented in this list on reddit.

On July 2nd, Jisu published a Tweet alleging that former professional player Gonzalo "ZeRo" Barrios had sexually harassed her and forced her to view explicit Craigslist ads and hentai, when she was 15.[5] The next day, an anonymous smasher published a Twitlonger alleging that ZeRo had sexted her when she was 14.[6] ZeRo posted a statement admitting the allegations and announced that he would be withdrawing from the Smash scene.[7][8]

On July 2nd, CaptainZack published a TwitLonger alleging that professional player Nairoby "Nairo" Quezada had engaged in a sexual relationship with him while he was 15 and Nairo was 20. He also claimed that Nairo sent him payments in order to discourage him from sharing the information publicly.[9] Nairo then Tweeted a statement in which he apologized to CaptainZack and announced his withdrawal from social media.[10] However, nearly four months later, on October 28th, Nairo published a new statement claiming that CaptainZack's allegations were false and that he was preparing to take legal action against him.[11] Nairo then made a final comment[12], after nearly 4 months on his statement, on February 19th, 2021, he stated everything was resolved and was now considering to return streaming.

On July 2nd, KTDominate published a TwitLonger alleging that commentator D'Ron "D1" Maingrette sexually assaulted her while she was drunk at a hotel in 2016, and told others at the event about it.[13] D1 then released a response apologizing to KTDominate, but stated that both of them were drunk, and that he had no recollection of the events while denying that he had told anyone about the experience [14]. MVD then posted a screenshot of a DM between him and D1 showing that D1 had knowledge of what had taken place[15]. ESAM later shared his account of the situation, which conflicted with D1's story. [16].

On July 2nd, a Twitter user by the name of Error: 102-R posted a Tweet alleging that commentator Richard "Keitaro" King had sexual intercourse with Shiva, who was a minor at the time, in 2018. [17]. On the same morning, Keitaro released a TwitLonger confirming the allegation.[18]

Several community members came out against Sky Williams for his operation of properties that housed professional Smash players, commonly known as "Sky Houses". The victims alleged that Sky had failed to put adequate protections in place for women and minors living in the houses, and was aware of and complicit in several incidents of sexual abuse and assault that occurred in these houses, as well as sexually and financially manipulating several of the guests. [19][20][21] On July 6th, Sky livestreamed a two-hour long apology on Twitch, before his roommate unplugged the router at his home.[22][23] On August 1st, he released a ninety-minute statement on YouTube detailing the allegations.[24]

Reactions

The news of the allegations generated widespread disgust and outrage amongst the Super Smash Bros. community, and spilled into the wider eSports scene as a whole. Many eSports teams announced that they were no longer sponsoring players accused of sexual abuse; these teams included Tempo Storm dropping ZeRo and NRG Esports dropping Nairo.[25][26] 2GGaming announced that several of the accused players were banned from attending their tournaments.[27]

Following the allegations of sexual abuse against Mr. Wizard, Capcom, NetherRealm, and Namco Bandai all announced that they would be pulling their games from the upcoming tournament EVO Online. EVO then announced that they were canceling the tournament entirely, and that Mr. Wizard would "no longer be involved" with the organization. [28]

On July 2nd, Nintendo published a statement condemning sexual abuse and supporting the victims in the Smash community: "At Nintendo, we are deeply disturbed by the allegations raised against certain members of the competitive gaming community." [29] Nintendo would later edit their own videos from 2019 to remove association with the accused players, particularly Nairo, who partook in the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate World Challenge Cup at Nintendo Live 2019.

In an interview with Kotaku, Jisu, one of the victims of ZeRo, argued that the insularity of Smash culture made it difficult for survivors to speak up: "These types of behaviors have been happening for years, and when sporadically brought up, were quickly swept aside because it upset the people. Even worse are people calling it an attempt to ‘clout-chase’ or ‘stir drama’ because the viewer is incapable of seeing how these players they idolize could be horrible people." She also argued that the unregulated and largely grassroots nature of the competitive Smash scene gave abusers an opportunity to prey on unattended minors, and encouraged a male-dominated social hierarchy that discouraged conversation about serious social issues.[30] In a video posted to YouTube, top Melee player Leffen said that the Smash community as a whole was "at least decently complicit in this." He argued that community members should work to actively prevent and speak out against abuse, for example, by calling out misogynistic language and prohibiting underage drinking at events, and that organizers needed to do more to protect minors. [31] "The Scar & Toph Show" raised over $2700, donated to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.[32]

The news of the allegations attracted attention from eSports organizations such as theScore eSports' YouTube channel[33] and the BBC.[34]

Following the allegations, many tournaments began requiring parents to accompany and supervise their children. Discussions also arose on whether age brackets should be implemented into tournaments in a similar way to what the Pokémon VGC does.

References

External links