2020 Super Smash Bros. sexual misconduct allegations
In July 2020, numerous allegations of sexual misconduct were risen on over 125 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. The initial response was swift among the Internet, with all of the Super Smash Bros. community, the wider eSports scene, major mainstream media outlets, as well as Nintendo, expressing shock and outrage at the allegations. Many of the accused players were banned from entering tournaments and isolated and removed from the community, and discussion was quickly sparked on preventing further misconduct at Smash events. Since the initial wave, more details have come out regarding a number of cases, some revealed to have been partially or entirely fabricated, reigniting a long held discussion about the greater issues with the Smash community..
Throughout the 2010s, sexual misconduct allegations had been levied against many notable members in the community, with notable examples being Alex Strife, the head TO of the Apex series; Lolex, the head TO of the B.E.A.S.T series; and Hyuga, the best Smash 4 Toon Link player at that time. These allegations were often posted on Twitter in the form of a TwitLonger, and consisted of a description of events as well as screenshots of evidence such as text messages and DMs. In addition, other TwitLongers are often posted, usually from the accused and others who were involved in the case. Depending on whether suffice evidence was provided to prove the accused was guilty, tournament organizers can choose to issue a ban.
However, most incidents that occurred before 2020 were considered isolated and unconnected from each other, and as such aside from severe cases such as Alex Strife, bans were mostly relegated to certain regions or tournament series, which could lead to further controversy over whether a player was allowed to attend an event. This is most notable with Hyuga, who was allowed to compete in Mexico after his one year ban and with some players believing he had served his punishment, but continued to be suspended from several events in the United States, including Clutch City Clash 2 and events held by 2GGaming, as many other players believed a player like him shouldn't be welcomed back to the community.
There have been attempts to form a unified panel which would investigate allegations and make appropriate decisions, most notably the SSB Code of Conduct Panel, which was formed in 2018. However, decisions from the panel were almost immediately controversial, with their first notable case being a recommendation on unbanning Mafia, a choice that was criticized by many tournament organizers.
In addition, there were several cases that ultimately tied into the July 2020 allegations, most notably with CaptainZack. His relationship with Ally was exposed on March 22, 2019, but was not publicly admitted to until June 29, 2019, leading to Ally's subsequent ban. However, additional allegations were levied the following month, this time against CaptainZack, with the allegations accusing CaptainZack for pressuring Ally into the relationship and forcing him to drop sets. CaptainZack admitted to hours later, leading to his ban from several events as well as a controversial recommendation for an indefinite ban from the SSBConductPanel in 2020.
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. The Tweet was posted on r/smashbros the same day, where commenters found video footage from tournaments supporting Puppeh's allegations. Two other Virginia smashers, Glyphmoney and Zephyr, then posted their own statements alleging that Cinnpie had sexually abused them.
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.
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. The next day, an anonymous smasher published a Twitlonger alleging that ZeRo had sexted her when she was 14. ZeRo posted a statement admitting the allegations and announced that he would be withdrawing from the Smash scene.
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 hush money to discourage him from sharing the information publicly. Nairo then Tweeted a statement in which he apologized to CaptainZack and announced his withdrawal from social media.
A number of people levied allegations at Jason "ANTi" Bates for sexually inappropriate behavior at tournaments. Among them was a girl named Kassandra Ramos claiming that ANTi forced her into drinking liquor despite her being underage, and a girl named Samantha that accused ANTi of having sex with her when she was 16. ANTi responded to the accusations in a TwitLonger, claiming that Samantha lied that she was 18 when they had sex and that many women in the community wanted to attack him since they had complaints against him, concluding that he has distanced himself from the community. He later deleted the TwitLonger in favor of speaking to a lawyer.
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. 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 . MVD then posted a screenshot of a DM between him and D1 showing that D1 had knowledge of what had taken place. ESAM later shared his account of the situation, which conflicted with D1's story. .
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. . On the same morning, Keitaro released a TwitLonger confirming the allegation.
Several community members came out against Sky Williams for his operation of properties that housed Smash players, commonly known as "Sky Houses". The victims alleged that Sky 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.  On July 6th, Sky discussed the allegations in a livestream on Twitch, during which he stated that he was unaware of everything going on in the Sky Houses owing to the residents failing to tell him. The stream was heavily criticized by viewers for being monetized and disorganized; it lasted for two hours at which point his roommate unplugged the router at his home. On August 1st, he released a ninety-minute statement on YouTube discussing the allegations, acknowledging his irresponsible handling of the Sky Houses, but continuing to affirm that he was not complicit in the abuse.
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. 2GGaming announced that several of the accused players were banned from attending their tournaments.
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. 
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."  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 girls that accused ZeRo of misconduct, 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. 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", arguing that it was the community's job to actively prevent and speak out against abuse, such as by calling out misogynistic language and prohibiting underage drinking at events, and called on tournament organizers to do more to protect minors.  "The Scar & Toph Show" raised over $2700, donated to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.
Following the allegations, many tournaments began requiring parents to accompany and supervise their children. Discussions also arose on whether age-restricted brackets should be implemented in tournaments in a similar way to what the Pokémon Video Game Championships does with its Junior, Senior, and Master divisions.
Since the initial wave and ensuing fallout, more information and testimony came out over time that gave more context to the situations described in the allegations.
Mr. E challenged the allegations against ANTi in a Twitlonger he posted in late August 2020. He stated that, though ANTi was ultimately at fault for not checking for identification before initiating the sexual encounter, there was no indication that ANTi himself was aware of her age, as per his initial statement. ANTi found her on Tinder, which requires members to be at least 18 years of age to register, so Mr. E concluded that ANTi had little reason to be suspicious until they met in person. Mr. E's statement garnered significant backlash from the community and he would eventually lose his sponsor over it. He would go on to admit that he fully expected backlash but wanted to stand up for what he believed was right.
ANTi posted his own response to the allegations to his YouTube channel in January 2021, admitting that he was irresponsible and that he should have checked for identification. However, he also noted that he could not open a court subpoena for the messages he exchanged with her on Tinder to verify or deny Samantha's claim that he forced her to lie about her age, as the statute of limitations expired a year before the allegations became public. Nevertheless, he denied that he was a "predator", as he had been running on the assumption that the girl was of legal age, and his actions, even if he came to disapprove of them, were not illegal under Florida law.
In September 2020, former player Mistake posted a statement to Twitter, alleging that CaptainZack was the one to initiate the relationship and coerced Nairo into paying him to keep quiet. He also called out Samsora for knowing what happened and only deciding to take action after Ally, another player that had been manipulated by Zack, was forced to retire. Nairo would publish a detailed statement a month later, claiming that he woke up to Zack assaulting him, and that he had a 30 page document of evidence in defense should Zack decide to pursue legal action. Though the document is not public, several others, such as Cosmos and VoiD, have corroborated its existence. CaptainZack was banned from tournaments in Louisiana later that month.
In March 2021, ZeRo's ex-girlfriend Vanessa posted that he had attempted suicide and was in the hospital. A month later, ZeRo posted to Instagram, saying that he felt guilty about what he had done. He later conducted an interview with EE, during which he stated that he was so mentally distraught from the fallout that he intended to take his own life when he posted his final tweet, only deciding against it after encouragement from Vanessa. The interview was heavily criticized by the community, including Jisu, who saw it as ZeRo attempting to get back into the community, though others would point out that this was not the point of the interview. The video would eventually be deleted: although it was reuploaded elsewhere, the deletion was criticized for understating the video's purpose as a wellness check over a plea for forgiveness.
Also in March 2021, YouTuber Technicals would begin publishing a number of videos regarding the allegations and the ensuing fallout. His first video, regarding CaptainZack, had him denounce CaptainZack for creating a fabricated narrative, and criticize Samsora and Salem for knowing what happened but choosing not to say anything. Samsora and Salem would be banned from the Wi-Fi Warrior Rank in April 2021. Nairo would eventually reach a legal agreement and return to streaming, going on YouTube since Twitch has yet to unban his account.
Technicals then published a video regarding ANTi, noting that, per his statements and the arguments brought up by Mr. E, the only things ANTi was guilty of were allowing underage drinking and not checking for identification, which ANTi would admit in an interview he conducted in the video. Technicals also reiterated criticisms he had against MVD for knowing what had happened and doing nothing about it, as well as being just as guilty as ANTi for promoting underage drinking despite not being penalized from it.
In June 2021, as part of his initial evidence.zip 2 video, Hax alleged that Leffen had used the fallout to spread misinformation about other top players, particularly ZeRo, so he could emerge as a leader and safety net for the community and the victims of abuse. Hax's video was heavily derided by the community, and combined with a later conflict with iBDW led to him being globally banned from tournaments. However, exactly three weeks after its premiere, Technicals published a video on the Sky Houses, which pointed out that Jisu's allegations against ZeRo received corroboration only from Leffen; the Japanese players Leffen spoke of in his statement affirmed that ZeRo did not show anyone porn, which corroborated Hax's claims. Technicals also included a snippet of an interview he conducted with ZeRo, in which he mentions that he found Jisu's claims against him questionable from the start because Craigslist has for several years prior to the incident in her statement forbidden the solicitation of sexual practices. Once Leffen's testimony came in, ZeRo conceded that it might have happened but he didn't remember it, only to be surprised that his statement came off as an admittance of guilt. Technicals also criticized Jisu for presenting herself as a safety net for women that have been abused in the scene, for her allegations about ZeRo's and Vanessa's relationship resulted in the latter getting post-traumatic stress disorder from the ensuing fallout.
Technicals also challenged the claims against Sky Williams, saying that, despite his aggressive behavior, there was no evidence that he either endorsed or encouraged the abuse that occurred in the Sky Houses, and he had done more than the people in the house as well as those that knew what happened. The hashtag #ApologizeToSky trended in the days after the video was posted. Sky Williams then broke his social media silence by posting a thread of his own to Twitter, admitting that setting up the Sky Houses was a mistake, but affirmed he never condoned any form of abuse in them. A later conversation with former SmashBoards writer Linnea Capps, who in 2016 helped a Sky House resident named Brandon speak out against an assault by MacD, would also reveal that Brandon's initial claims were problematic and missing crucial details, for he was attempting specifically to oust Sky and dismiss him.
On July 15, 2021, D1 offered a more comprehensive response to the allegations raised against him, stating that they arose from rumors and heavy misinterpretation of the circumstances surrounding the events. He nevertheless admitted that he was irresponsible in handling the situations and hoped to come back stronger and more mature. In response, a woman going by the Twitter handle Seshy would offer testimony about her own experience with D1, stating that he repeatedly attempted to make out with her when she was drunk; she stated that she felt it was unnecessary to post her story during the initial fallout and only did so once she felt the opportunity for D1 to return to the community was presented. D1 has yet to publicly address Seshy's claims but nevertheless posted another video to YouTube in September 2021, offering to have one-on-one conversations with those that may have grievances with him.
Lastly, Technicals published a video regarding ZeRo's story in November of 2021, stating that ZeRo's only real infraction was in regards to his interactions with Katie. which he argued was enough justification for a ban from tournament play, but was also exaggerated by people to remove someone they did not like. He criticized the community for parroting a fabricated narrative and failing to consider the circumstances of the conversation, as ZeRo had long been dealing with mental issues owed to his abusive childhood. Technicals additionally accused the community of favoritism due to absolving Nairo and not ZeRo, despite both Smashers being manipulating by minors and both confessing to engaging in sexual conduct with them, noting that the community had always liked Nairo and not ZeRo.
On the 16th of that same month, ZeRo announced his return to content creation, recanting his admissions for all of the allegations bar the one raised by Katie. He reiterated that his admission of guilt was more akin to a suicide note, while encouraging his viewers to watch Technicals' videos for the full details. Three days later, he filed a lawsuit against Jisu for the loss of his career. ZeRo further claimed that Jisu is legally responsible for Tempo Storm and Facebook Gaming terminating their contracts with him, said to be worth over $2 million. The lawsuit seeks a currently unknown amount in damages for "defamation and emotional distress".
All of the aforementioned developments reversed a number of perceptions regarding the cases and began a great deal of outrage against those that supported the initial perceptions, particularly Jisu and Leffen. Jisu went silent on social media for several days after the premiere of Technicals' Sky Houses video, before tweeting normally and blocking anyone discussing the allegations, and upon the release of Hax's evidence.zip 2 video, Leffen stated that he would consult a lawyer but was otherwise unwilling to discuss the matter. Jisu's reaction to EE's video received retroactive backlash, with her being seen as needlessly aggressive for false and/or questionable allegations. This, combined with all of the above, reignited an ongoing discussion about the community's history of favoritism with its top players. On September 9th, 2022, ZeRo announced in a YouTube video that the lawsuit and all disputes have been mutually settled, with both parties admitting to wrongdoing and agreeing to drop their respective charges and amicably move on from their feud.
On October 31, 2022, Technicals uploaded a new video, aiming to bring light to events that he argued showed significant corruption in the upper echelons of the Smash community. His main argument revolved around the Global Ban Database (GBD) created by Cagt in September 2020, which he eventually dissolved in August 2022, specifically how Nairo was omitted from it despite his legal liability from sexually contacting a minor, arguing that Cagt was pressured into removing his name following his public absolution. While Cagt claimed the database was only a suggestion, Technicals argued that his status as a major tournament organizer added reasonable doubt that he would not enforce the database onto others with evidence to suggest him doing just that. Technicals also points out that he was on the GBD, though with notes that he was not banned in certain regions like Las Vegas. As a method of protest, Technicals attended Double Down 2022 with a large sign reading "Ban Nairo"; he was barred from entry on the second day, with the reasoning being his sign was too political and he was on the GBD. On the third day, Technicals disguised himself as a woman to bypass the venue's security, and subsequently had a verbal altercation with GimR and Aposl that he secretly recorded. He brought up that Nairo frequently re-streams VGBC content, to which they replied they do not associate with him. Technicals pointed out that it is common practice to ask permission to re-stream, theorizing that they either lied to him about not associating with Nairo or are simply doing nothing to stop him. The "Ban Nairo" sign was later censored out of re-uploads of the matches where it appears on stream.
- Puppeh's statement.
- reddit thread on Cinnpie.
- Glyphmoney's statement.
- Zephyr's statement.
- Jisu's tweet.
- Katie's statement.
- ZeRo's twitlonger.
- "ZeRo retires after alleged sexual misconduct towards minors.
- CaptainZack's statement.
- Nairo's initial response.
- Marie's statement.
- Knives's story.
- Cathy's statement.
- Kassandra Ramos's statement.
- ANTi's defense.
- ANTI deletes his TwitLonger.
- KTDominate's statement.
- D1's statement.
- MVD's statement.
- ESAM's response.
- Initial post on Keitaro.
- Keitaro's statement.
- Diana's statement.
- Jisu's statement on Sky.
- Amphy's statement.
- Sky's first tweet linking to his stream.
- The Smash Bros. and Sky Williams Controversy, Explained.
- "My Statement.".
- Tempo parts ways with ZeRo.
- NRG Esports official statement.
- "2GGaming bans D1, Keitaro, Nairo, Cinnpie, and more following allegations of sexual misconduct".
- "Evo Online Canceled Following Allegations Against Former CEO".
- "Nintendo's Relationship With Competitive Smash Community Gets Trickier After Scandal".
- "Over 50 Sexual Misconduct Allegations Have The Super Smash Bros. Community In Turmoil".
- Regarding the recent allegations within the Smash/FGC Community..
- Toph's Twitter statement.
- Why Are There So Many Sexual Misconduct Allegations in Smash Bros?.
- "Nintendo condemns alleged abuse in Smash Bros community".
- ANTi's apology video.
- tamim's statement.
- Nairo's second statement.
- Cosmos on Nairo's documents.
- VoiD on Nairo's documents.
- CaptainZack's ban in Louisiana.
- Vanessa confirms that ZeRo has attempted suicide (archive).
- ZeRo's Update.
- ZeRo's interview with EEvisu (reupload)
- Technicals - "The Curious Case of CaptainZack"
- Samsora's online ban.
- Samsora's response to his ban.
- Salem's Wi-Fi Ban.
- Salem's WWR Ban.
- Technicals - "The Abandoned Case of ANTi"
- Evidence.zip 2 reuploaded.
- Hax's indefinite ban.
- Technicals - "The Truth Behind the Sky House (ft. Sky and ZeRo)"
- Healinghalo - "Talking about what happened"
- D1's statement on Medium
- D1's statement on YouTube
- Seshy's Twitlonger.
- D1 - "My next steps"
- Technicals - "What Really Happened to ZeRo"
- "I've made a tremendous mistake:" ZeRo speaks up about grooming allegations and his future on YouTube (en) (2021-11-16).
- Technicals screenshot of Jisu announcement.
- ZeRo sues accuser Jisu for defamation over sexual misconduct allegations.
- Former Super Smash Bros. Player ZeRo is Suing His Roommate.
- Leffen on Hax's post.
- ZeRo - "THE LAWSUIT IS OVER"
- "Exposing the Corruption in the Smash Community"
- reddit megathread - A detailed list of sexual misconduct allegations
|Significant events in competitive Smash history|
|2010s||Release of The Smash Brothers · Leffen vs. Chillin (Apex 2015) · Super Pichu cheating scandal|
|2020s||COVID-19 pandemic · Sexual misconduct allegations · Cancellation of The Big House Online · Cancellation of Smash World Tour 2022 · Nintendo Community Tournament Guidelines|