EVO Online Canceled Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations
Seemingly overnight the Fighting Game Community flooded with multiple sexual misconduct allegations. Multiple FGC personalities shared their stories via social media to bring light to the issues clearly plaguing the scene. With COVID already canceling in-person for the foreseeable future, the new allegations put even EVO Online on hold. Multiple casters, developers, and players are pulling out of tournaments to show solidarity with the alleged victims. These stories are a growing trend in gaming as the industry deals with its own “Me Too” moment.
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Evo Online has been canceled after multiple heinous accusations rock not only the director’s board but also the Smash Ultimate community as well. Plus, is the Hyper Scape hype real, and how can you get access to the game when it isn’t available to the public yet. And, Bethesda announces a new Fallout TV show being produced by the creators of Westworld.
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Smash Bros. Pros Under Fire
Perhaps the most embroiled community in the FGC is Smash as a shocking number of allegations spilled onto social media this week. In one such case, professional player, Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada came under fire for allegedly having a relationship with then underage Zack “CaptainZack” Lauth in 2017. In a Twit Longer post, Lauth claimed that Quezada and his camp were also sending him money to keep quiet about the situation. Quezada has since been released by his team, NRG.
Out and out rape allegations came out against D’Ron “D1” Maingrette. Smash community member, Kaitlyn “KTDominate” Redeker, claimed that the Smash commentator took advantage of her in 2016. D1 released a statement saying that he did not remember the encounter. Maingrette is now banned from multiple Smash events.
And in another unsettling story. Smash pro Troy “Puppeh” Wells said he had a sexual relationship with Smash commentator, Cinnamon “Cinnpie” Dunson. At the time Wells was 14 and Dunson was 24. Well said that Dunson initiated sexual conversations with him via Snapchat and said that it never escalated past “oral sex”. Video of Dunson doting over Wells surfaced after the allegations which only lead to further speculation. Dunson has yet to comment on the accusations.
— Name cannot be blank (@HE_Fib) July 2, 2020
EVO Online No More
However, the story with the most immediate ramifications is the case of EVO founder, Joey “Mr. Wizard” Cuellar. Twitter user PyronIkari recounted Cuellar paying to see young men jump into pools and fountains nearly nude. They also explained a lewd bet that resulted in Cuellar seeing them nude in a men’s room. At the time PyronIkari claims to have been 17 at the time. The allegations led to an investigation by EVO but the fallout began almost instantly. Numerous casters such as Stephen “Sajam” Lyon and Michael “Yipes” Mendoza pulled out of the event. Developers Capcom and NetherRealm Studios said they would remove their games from EVO. And arguably the best fighting game player in the world, Dominique “SonicFox” McLean said that they would not participate either. As pressure mounted, EVO released a statement removing Cuellar of all duties and canceling Evo Online.
— EVO (@EVO) July 3, 2020
EVO is traditionally known as the mecca of fighting games. Players and fans alike wait all year EVO as it also becomes a place for game/update reveals too. With EVO Online now kaput, it effectively ended the last major of the year. In a community that thrives off live events, the FGC has not resumed top-tier play post-COVID. It makes an already understaffed and under-funded corner of esports just that much more handicapped. We will continue to follow these stories as they develop.