WARNING: This article discusses and includes many links to descriptions of graphic content including, but not limited to, sexual harassment and assault.
Update: We have updated this article to include all of Quezada (Nairo)'s later statements, and allegations against Lauth (CaptainZack)
There have recently been a plethora of allegations of abuse, assault and sexual misconduct against members of the Smash community. The accused include top players, tournament organizers, commentators and other community figures.
Keeping up with the flurry of allegations over the past week is a tall order, so we’re here to create a comprehensive timeline of events thus far. We’re also here to showcase a few statements from various community leaders along with the rules various tournament series are putting in place to address the community going forward.
NOTE: These times are all in EDT (Eastern Daylight Time). Additionally, due to the sheer number of allegations, we are only able to cover a select few.
The allegations began on June 28th, 8 PM, after John “SleepyK” Lee’s victim shared her story. She claimed that he asked her for sex while she was 14. Lee deleted his Twitter account shortly after at an unspecified time. On June 30th, 12 AM, Julian “JTails” Martinez’s victim claimed that he allegedly flirted with her while she was only 15. Martinez posted an apology on July 2nd, 4 PM. At 5 PM, on June 30th, prior to any allegations against him, Matthew “Xzax” Liberatore posted an apology. Allegations regarding Liberatore were published at 10 AM on July 1st from Lily “Lamsauce” Lam, “Naomi,” and “Giggles” alleging that he sent them inappropriate messages on SnapChat. At 9 PM on June 30th, multiple allegations surfaced against James “AceAttorney” Alicia from “insomniac” and “Froot” both claiming that Alicia made unsolicited advances on them.
On July 1st, 10 AM, Troy “Puppeh” Wells published a document alleging that, during the summer of 2016, he had been groomed by and performed sexual acts with Cinnamon “Cinnpie” Dunson. At the time of the alleged acts, Wells was 14 and Dunson was 24. After this, a flurry of allegations towards other members of the community cropped up.
On July 1st, 11 PM, allegations emerged against Joey “Mr. Wizard” Cuellar, claiming that he engaged in some hazing behavior with kids in the age range 12-16. On July 2nd, 2 AM, EVO posted that they were looking into the allegations. Cuellar responded to these allegations on July 2nd 8 PM. Due to the statement being deleted, it is no longer available. One hour later, EVO announced that Cuellar would no longer be a part of EVO and that EVO Online was cancelled. More allegations emerged towards Cuellar on July 3rd 4 AM. These allegations claim that Cuellar allegedly requested inappropriate pictures and would promote people by what “favors” they chose to do for him.
On July 2nd, 2 AM, Zack “CaptainZack” Lauth spoke out against Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada, allegedly stating that the two had allegedly dated and engaged in sexual acts in 2017. At the time this was alleged to have occurred, Lauth was 15 and Quezada was 21. At 10 AM the same day, NRG Esports, Quezada’s former sponsors, made a statement severing all ties with Quezada. Quezada made a statement one hour later. Since he has made his Twitter account private, the statement is unavailable.
On July 2nd, 5 AM, allegations emerged against D’Ron “D1” Maingrette. The victim claimed that the two got drunk together and the situation escalated. At 8 AM, another allegation emerged, claiming that Maingrette made unwanted advances in a hotel room. Maingrette posted a response to the first allegation at 11 AM. At the time of posting, Maingrette has not made further statements.
On July 2nd, 9 AM, previous allegations towards McCain “MacD” LaVelle were brought to light by “LiteralGrill” (formerly known as SmashCapps) and she implored the community to create a safer environment. To quote an excerpt from her statement, “Just know there’s far more top players and names to be weeded out during this if anything I heard during my writing tenure is true.” LiteralGrill, who published the document, said that the victim chose to stay anonymous. These aren’t the first allegations against LaVelle. On March 29th, 2016, the victim claimed that LaVelle allegedly made unwanted advances towards him repeatedly from September 2014 to May 2015. Another allegation against LaVelle came out July 2nd 12 PM, claiming that LaVelle made unwanted advances on him when he was only 15-17 years old. One hour later, LaVelle posted a statement containing an apology.
On July 2nd, 8 PM, Jacqueline “Jisu” Choe published an allegation against Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios, claiming that Barrios showed her inappropriate pictures and constantly harassed her when she was only 15. On July 3rd, 1 AM, Barrios published a response. A second allegation emerged three hours later claiming that, when she was 14, Barrios tried to make advances on the victim. Barrios published a second response at 9 PM. On July 4th, 6 AM, Barrios published a third statement, in which he confessed. Same day, at 5 PM, one of Barrios’ former sponsors, Tempo Storm, announced they were removing Barrios' sponsorship and connecting him with a professional counselor. At 10 PM, Facebook Gaming, another former Barrios sponsor, announced they were also cutting ties with Barrios. On July 5th, 8 AM, Choe published an extensive document with numerous alleged screenshots against Barrios.
The same document Choe published on Barrios included information about Sky Williams’ involvement, claiming that he enabled the culture in his home. At 12 PM, Tony “Zankoku” Chang claimed that Williams owes them $13,600. On July 6th, 3 PM, “ffSade” released a document with claims of their experience at Sky Williams’ house. The document states that Williams allegedly abused tenants, and includes screenshots of a conversation in which Sky threatened to break tenants' belongings if they did not pay him. At 12 AM, “Nips” posts a document of their experience, alleging more details of Sky’s house and the culture around it, including Williams’ authoritarian approach, his alleged drinking habits, and stolen objects around the house.
On July 7th, 1 AM, Williams streamed his statement addressing the allegations on Twitch. During the stream, Williams named several, formerly anonymous, victims and made controversial remarks. We have chosen not to include the link to the video due to its controversial nature. At 7 PM, Ramin “Mr. R” Delshad claimed that Williams owes him $1000. At 9 PM, “FStep Jun” followed up with a claim that Williams owes him $14,000. At 11 PM, an allegation against Williams claimed that he made unwanted advances in a hotel room. In that same hour, Williams made a followup statement to his stream. In it, he says that the livestream was a massive mistake, and he’s working on a perfect document.
On July 8th, 1 AM, “Spencer” claimed that Wiliams owes him $55,000. One hour later, Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles claimed that Williams owes him $1,000. On July 10th, 5 PM, an Insider article was posted with Williams’ claiming he owes somewhere between $200,000 and $250,000 to other individuals.
Between the allegations against Dunson, Cuellar, Quezada, Maingrette, LaVelle, Barrios, Williams, and many others, a lot of discussion has surfaced around both what led to this, and what the community should do going forward. We have provided what a few organizations are doing to combat this and some quotes from community figures below,
- House of 3000, a New York smash streaming channel, has opened an anonymous tip line for victims.
- The Las Vegas Tournament Organizers have announced that they are working on a tip line and reforms to the way they run events.
- The Toronto Tournament Organizers announced their own initiative including an anonymous tip line led only by their lead Tournament Organizers and working on plans and resources for accountability.
- Cyrus “Cagt3000” Gharakanian and Frank “HangmanXII” DeJohn have announced that they will be working on an official blacklist of attendees at events for all TOs to have access to.
- The developers behind the platform fighter Rivals of Aether have announced their own community safety rules and anonymous tip line.
- Tempo Storm announced providing professional support to every victim involved with Barrios.
- The SSB Conduct Panel has posted their internal training materials and resources freely to the public for Tournament Organizers to use.
On September 10th, Twitch banned and ended their partnership with Quezada. On September 14th, four days after, Tamim Omary (formerly known as “Mistake”) posted a statement alleging that some of Lauth’s claims were false, including the hush money, and claimed that Lauth attempted to seduce and manipulate several adults, including the already known relationships with Elliot Bastien “Ally” Carroza-Oyarce, and Quezada. Two days later, on September 16th, Lauth had reached out to Omary to confirm a few things in his document; Lauth also mentioned that he no longer planned to be a part of the community. He was still, allegedly, attending locals.
On October 28th, Quezada released another, more detailed statement. In it, he refuted the claims about Lauth’s story, claiming that he was never in a relationship with Lauth, and that he woke up with Lauth performing a crude act on him without consent (aligning with tamim’s statement), and that Lauth blackmailed him into another sexual encounter. He also mentioned seeking therapy from the trauma, and that he had an attorney in-case the case was pushed further by Lauth. Quezada also made claims to have a document that is 30-pages long, outlining an entire timeline of events that he is not allowed to show for legal reasons. Both Brian “Cosmos” Kalu and James “VoiD” Makekau-Tyson have claimed to see the document themselves, adding that they can not legally disclose anything contained in it.
On February 19th, 2021, Quezada uploaded a video making one final comment. He said that everything was legally resolved, and is considering returning to streaming. He also understands that things will never be the same again. Following this, it came to light that Lauth was banned from local tournaments in Louisiana immediately after Quezada's statement in October.
Nintendo’s statement from IGN:
“At Nintendo, we are deeply disturbed by the allegations raised against certain members of the competitive gaming community. They are absolutely impermissible. We want to make it clear that we condemn all acts of violence, harassment, and exploitation against anyone and that we stand with the victims.”
Emily “emilywaves” Sun’s (Former Smash CoC Panel Member, Tournament Organizer for the Nebulous Tournament series, Co-Founder of Smash Sisters) Statement:
“We have to do something. Whether we change tournament policies, establish visible code of conduct for events/online spaces like Discord and Twitch, or normalize calling out suspicious behavior, we have to do something. If I had responded a week ago, I probably would have just focused on the previous sentence, but now that Smash Twitter seems to have moved on, we have to understand these are issues we still have to tackle even if the flames are no longer in our faces. At this point, I hope people remember just how disgusted they felt reading each story and how they felt compelled to help out. While it's natural for that feeling to fade somewhat, the idea that we need to address the issues remains.”
Cyrus "Cagt3000" Gharakanian’s (Community Ambassador for Even Gaming Matchup, Staff at CEO Gaming & Super Smash Con) Statement:
“Recently, there have been nearly 200 allegations of varying severity made regarding members of the Super Smash Bros. community. Many of these individuals were also very prominent figures in the scene, ranging from top players to commentators, and even some being tournament organizers. While the community prides itself in being an open, welcoming environment for people of all ages and backgrounds, it is clear that the safety measures put in place were not enough to prevent some of the horrific events that have occurred. A lot of the culture regarding tournaments have also led to these situations.
It is beyond clear that there needs to be substantial changes made in the community, whether it'd be in it's leadership or the structure behind it. There needs to be better accountability for people's wrongdoings, and we need to be more aware as a group of potentially dangerous behavior, whether it'd be at or outside of events. We also need to provide better tools for victims to be able to report these situations to us safely, to people they can trust, and TOs/figureheads also need to be better equipped/informed to handle these types of delicate situations.
Beyond our jobs to run events, it is our duty to provide a safe environment for everyone that is a part of it, no matter your age, gender, skin color, sexual preference, or any other trait. We are all human beings, and everyone matters. Even if a lot of the history behind our game may be tainted now, we have to learn from our past mistakes and make substantial changes in order to build a better future. I hope everyone can follow suit in this movement, even if they are not someone that is prominent in the community.”
Smashboards’ Staff Statement:
To quote an excerpt from our previously posted statement,
“We at Smashboards would like to say that we stand with all survivors of abuse within both the Smash community and the FGC at large, whether they have come forward or not. The Smashboards staff condemns the actions detailed in these allegations. Over the course of the next few months, we’ll do our best to help make the community safer and more comfortable for everyone.”
Going forward will be difficult, but it’s important to stay vigilant and support creating, and maintaining, a safer culture for the community at large. If we’ve learned anything, we’ve learned that the current community rules and behaviors are not sustainable, and they’re not enough. Nowhere close.”
This article was written by all of the editing staff, including Blaise "Scribe" Camacho, Lucas Guimaraes (Thirdkoopa for easy URL), Mitchell “Zerp” Brenkus, EmaLeigh “$$$$” O’Neal, Tyler “PlayerOneTyler” Sanchez, Laren “Happens” Spear, Barnard’s Loop, and Venus of the Desert Bloom. Credits also include Emily “emilywaves” Sun and Cagt3000 for providing a statement.
Edit #1: Cagt3000's full name has been added at his request.
Edit #2: Updated allegations on Quezada and added allegations on Lauth.