A Comprehensive Timeline of Current Smash Allegations

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WARNING: This article discusses and includes many links to descriptions of graphic content including, but not limited to, sexual harassment and assault.

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,


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: Cagt3000's full name has been added at his request.
 
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Lucas "Thirdkoopa" Guimaraes

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It seems to be over now at least.

Still find it hard to believe everything here is real. It's so upsetting to think that some people can't just be decent human beings and do things like this.
 
I've been following this from afar (not digging into twitter but keeping tabs of the summary thread on Reddit and Omni's videos on the subject matter), and I think there's two clear actions that need to happen for actual change.

The first, complete and utter ban of alcohol at smash events. There are simply far too many of these incidents that involve alcohol to dismiss it from being a compounding factor. It has become rather clear that smash players at tournaments cannot be trusted to keep to appropriate behaviour with alcohol in the vicinity. It needs to be a harsh response to players showing up with alcohol, drunk, or with obvious hangovers. It cannot be a light slap on the wrist, it needs to be an immediate removal from the tournament and tournament grounds. Doesn't matter who it is or how important the tournament is. Could be EVO 2022, top 8, most hyped event of the year: the best player shows up clearly hung over immediately kick them out of the tournament for breaking the rules. All 8 of them show up drunk because they were parting? Guess nobody wins EVO this year. Bluntly if you can't avoid alcohol for 2-3 days you have more serious problems to deal with than a gaming tournament, even a large one.

The second item, is that tournaments need to be segregated by age. Needs to be age of majority/consent and up for the region, or minors only except for the actual TOs/refs/support staff. No mixing of the age brackets, no running the different age brackets simultaneously. Even with no alcohol around, the unfortunate truth is that Smash tournaments are an ideal ground for predators to find their prey. No matter how vigilant we are, if we mix the age groups there will be more victims. To me this is non-negotiable. I understand we'd lose out on potential epic stories like MKLeo when he was first starting to break out into the scene, but protecting minors from situations where they're at risk is infinitely more important. It would be better to cancel the Smash competitive scene entirely than to continue to run them as is.

To me, any TO that doesn't implement both of the above points isn't taking the situation seriously. What they're providing is lip service: say a few nice words and hand wave in a tip line because they know it will almost never be used (and in many cases they can end up playing favourites in deciding which tips they actually act on). Without implementing the above two points, they don't want to actually deal with the problem, they just want the flames to die out with minimal effort and then back to business as usual.
 
It seems to be over now at least.

Still find it hard to believe everything here is real. It's so upsetting to think that some people can't just be decent human beings and do things like this.
The allegations are slowing down but it’s hardly over. This is going to have a permanent impact on competitive Smash that will be felt both in nationals, regionals, and locals - if they even return at all. Some competitive circles that I have listened in on feel that competitive Smash is literally finished or, at the least, significantly damaged. Lots of people lost trust and faith in the community and there’s going to be years of work to be done to correct what transpired this past month.
 
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The allegations are slowing down but it’s hardly over. This is going to have a permanent impact on competitive Smash that will be felt both in nationals, regionals, and locals - if they even return at all. Some competitive circles that I have listened in on feel that competitive Smash is literally finished or, at the least, significantly damaged. Lots of people lost trust and faith in the community and there’s going to be years of work to be done to correct what transpired this past month.
That's part of why I feel we need to be banning alcohol and segregating by age. There has been very significant damage done to competitive smash as a whole. No sponsor is going to touch us for a long, long time, venues more in the know are going to refuse to host us. Now is not the time for small gestures and nice statements, now is the time to put money where our mouth is and prove that the community has actually recognized a problem and actually wants to change it. Its not a grassroots scene anymore and smash has even higher risk to minors than other competitive scenes due to appealing to them so much more; TOs need to take it serious and take serious action.

To go one step further: the communities where some of the predators are in their area should be going to the police with the evidence. Go after the ones with more concrete evidence like in Puppeh's case where there is video evidence to back things up or ones where the predator admitted to it, don't go after the ones where its stuck at a "he said she said" level. You want to to help reduce the amount of predators in the smash scene? Remove the ones you can by force, let fact that we're willing to go that far scare other ones out of acting on their impulses. Predators shouldn't be getting away with a twitlong apology and then vanishing.
 
That's part of why I feel we need to be banning alcohol and segregating by age. There has been very significant damage done to competitive smash as a whole. No sponsor is going to touch us for a long, long time, venues more in the know are going to refuse to host us. Now is not the time for small gestures and nice statements, now is the time to put money where our mouth is and prove that the community has actually recognized a problem and actually wants to change it. Its not a grassroots scene anymore and smash has even higher risk to minors than other competitive scenes due to appealing to them so much more; TOs need to take it serious and take serious action.

To go one step further: the communities where some of the predators are in their area should be going to the police with the evidence. Go after the ones with more concrete evidence like in Puppeh's case where there is video evidence to back things up or ones where the predator admitted to it, don't go after the ones where its stuck at a "he said she said" level. You want to to help reduce the amount of predators in the smash scene? Remove the ones you can by force, let fact that we're willing to go that far scare other ones out of acting on their impulses. Predators shouldn't be getting away with a twitlong apology and then vanishing.
Partially agree but alcohol present at events isn’t the main issue since, many times, it’s the after-parties and get-togethers where this stuff transpires. It’s not drinking at the venue but in the hotel rooms after the festivities (or during it in some cases). The problem is that many of these events fail to recognize that minors are often included in the get-togethers and that’s the problem.

I would naturally agree with age restriction but the Smash competitive community isn’t currently set up to handle both a Smash league and a Junior Smash league within national, regional, and local levels. Having an enforced age restriction that TO’s have to where to makes sense with national and regional tournaments but locals...well...they need more players and, sometimes, that would mean including minors in the tournament. Some small local scenes like have ten players tops with seven of those being of adult age and three being of minor age. With those rules, basically, minors can’t play then unless they travel further to a local that has more minor players. However, unlike adults, they are restricted in their movements and generally rely on friends or parents to take them.

I’m not disagreeing with you but just pointing out flaws in those rulings. However, I fully agree that alcohol shouldn’t be present within the gaming venue but, unfortunately, we can’t fully control people’s behavior behind closed doors.

I do think that harsher penalties and looser conditions to ban offenders to be helpful in curbing behavior and hopefully preventing it from occurring. Also, I disagree with the whole idol status of some of these players and I think this helps encourage behavior that’s obviously wrong. We also need more whistle blowing/watchdogging in the community. So many turned their eyes away/dug their heads into the sand as to not ruffle feathers or stir the pot. Only once did someone finally come forward did other survivors also come forward. While rewarding people for doing this could lure in revenge allegations/fake allegations/troll canceling; I think the pros beat out the cons. We need to hold our top players accountable and they need to know they are not untouchable and, given the circumstances, will no longer be able to compete.

And if you were to ask me; I think having to forfeit their entire earnings from tournaments would be an excellent deterrent but that’s never happening lol.
 
As a staunch teetotaler, I'm going to do something wacky and defend alcohol. It's certainly a factor as far as exploitation goes, but by the time you are in a situation where alcohol is relevant, you've already made a series of poor decisions. The fact that most of these incidents involving it were at unsanctioned parties run by people independent of any authorities in the Smash Community, and have had all sorts of unsavory rumors swirling around them, should illustrate that. It should be noted that traditional sports can serve alcohol at their venues without much incident, outside of maybe the occasional fight, at least as far as I know.

Same with the idea of increasing the severity of punishments. If punitive measures were actually effective, then the increasing severity of penalties in the American legal system should see a reduction in crime. Not only has that yet to happen, but there are studies that indicate that harsher penalties makes things worse. Not to mention the really high recidivism rate from what is a very harsh prison environment compared to more lax ones from European countries.

And these

range from performative to downright disturbing.

First off, you need to separate any sort of system that handles these types of allegations from people that profit off of the accused. If the going theme of this past week or so has been people being incentivized not to speak up, then it doesn't make much sense to continue perpetuating conflicts of interest.

Second, I'm unsure of how effective an anonymous tip line is going to be when we supposedly already have institutions setup that are supposed to deal with this (CoC panel?). Given how Youtubers like InfernoOmni seem to have become impromptu accusation handlers, it seems to be that there is a problem with the way these institutions are handling these allegations. I'm not sure how further splintering these are supposed to help. Not to mention how these anonymous tip lines are going to handle these cases. Repeated reports of an individual can be an indicator that something's up, but if the report function in fighting games is any indicator, then these can be ripe for abuse. Do these guys actually have adequate resources to handle this?

Third, creating an "official" (not really) blacklist is probably one of the worst ideas I've ever heard. Setting aside the obvious comparisons to things like the Un-American Activities Commitee, it's a list that seems to attempt to compile easy references to criminal behavior and people but already has an "exception" in the case of the Youtuber Technicals.

Regardless of what you think of Technicals, and I admit I'm not much of a fan of what I've seen of his content and views, putting him on a list of (alleged) sexual offenders isn't really called for. It took pressure from Technicals and his fans to even get Dark Wizzy to add that disclaimer and there seems to be beef between the two in general, which is an obvious conflict of interest. Dark Wizzy does not have the authority to define sexual harassment nor can I really say that making a masturbation joke about someone that sells lewd content is grounds for total ban from tournaments and events.

And that's kind of the issue here, is that there is a lot of subjectivity in what should be an objective document. Linking a video as "evidence" and expecting me to draw my own conclusion (or the "correct" conclusion in this case) about something that I don't have the authority to decide is not how you do these things.

ESAM is cleared for saying a racial slur on stream years ago, but Technicals is permanently banned for making a masturbation joke about a lewd content creator years ago? By what standards are we clearing one but condemning the other? And while on this topic, where do we draw the line in terms of severity, what do we consider as severity standards in the first place, and how long ago does it have to be before we deem it ok to forgive and forget?

There seems to be a hot mess of subjectivity and vagueness and dare I say hypocrisy going on here and I'm downright appalled that not only was this not immediately shutdown, but actually signed onto by a lot of prominent members of the community. Just skimming through some of the people listed that I hadn't heard of, I'm seeing a lot of vague and nebulous things like "made uncomfortable" and "flirty" strewn about with not a lot of evidence that would necessitate something as extreme as a total ban. There exist people in this world that for whatever reason are socially awkward and sometimes say and do weird and inappropriate things without meaning to. There exist people in this world that come off as flirty or familiar without meaning to. Are we really going to start banning people on what could easily be misunderstandings? Because as far as social awkwardness goes, that's a large part of the community.


I'm just flabbergasted that in response to widespread alleged abuse of power, this list that is so ripe for abuse that we already have an example, was even created. It just goes to show that the Smash Community has no idea what it is doing and is doomed to have this cycle repeat itself. I get that organization is hard, but either create a standard and stick to it (hi CoC) or get actual legal authorities involved (*cough Police*). This reactionary, mob driven response is exactly what I was talking about it in that other thread. It's not helpful at all and potentially makes things worse.



To ward off that guy who may come along to accuse me of backseat organizing and/or accuse me of criticism without offering solutions (not that critiques require that), I'm going to enclose in spoilers my thoughts on what the actual problems and "solutions" are.


To preface things a little, there's a trend of very black and white thinking that's been very pervasive among a variety of topics in modern times. Said black and white thinking does things like force binaries where there aren't and reduce terms, concepts, and ideas into very narrow and misleading things. One of those things is the idea of there being a small minority of "bad" people that if we could just cull them then everything will be fine.

This type of thinking is already fraught with peril and naturally assumes that there is a pure and virtuous model of humanity that people must adhere to or there is something very wrong with them. Not only is that reductionist and the reality is much more complex and grey, but there is not one person reading this that has never done something really horrible to another person or otherwise done something that would be considered immoral. Anyone that says thay haven't is lying.

No, most of what I'm going to be talking about is under the assumption that people are products of their environment. And there is fairly convincing evidence that environment has a lot to do with what type of person you are. I don't mean just in the sense of upbringing either, but also your current environment. If we can learn and grow from our mistakes and experiences, then obviously we aren't static beings that are incapable of changing in response to external stimuli. Be it surrounded by good influences or corruptive influences.

A quick example would be all of the civil rights figures that went into the very corruptive American government and were twisted and corrupted beyond all recognition. It's not that they were inherently bad people, as evidenced by their record of fighting for civil rights, it's just that when you are immersed in decades of legalized and encouraged bribery and a lifestyle and peer group completely removed from the rest of the country, you can easily lose touch with your roots and the rest of the world.

And that's important to keep in mind, because it means that even if you cull all of the current baddies and tell yourself things are getting better, new ones will be corrupted and born to take their place if the corruptive environment isn't changed.

So with that said, there are three major things I've seen in almost all of these cases so far.


1. Lodging

I mean lets be honest here, if I told you that a house from a rich and famous Youtuber came to be the stomping grounds for runaways and the (soon to be) homeless, would you not think that might just be a little iffy? We're not talking about a real shelter, we're talking about some rich dude's pet project. That's bound to cause some serious dysfunction and bizarre power dynamics, even if he didn't turn out to be an authoritarian maniac.

I don't think it really needs to be stated that if your options are putting up with whatever abuse is dished out or being homeless, then naturally most people are going to choose the former. And not just in the sense of taking abuse, but also in being pressured to participate in the dishing of abuse by the bigger bullies. The lack of affordable housing is probably unique to America among the Smash Community and is what leads to this type of exploitation.


2. Social Media

That's pretty self-explanatory. It's rather easy to have completely unsupervised conversations with any random on the internet and there's no real way to police these things. Seemingly a predator's dream.


3. Idol culture and esports

I mean it goes without saying that social hierarchies and idolization are endemic to human societies and especially in nerd culture. And that without esports and "legitimization" we would still have these concepts. But most parents aren't going to be too keen on sending their kids to a gathering of smelly, neckbearded manchildren to play videogames. But they may be more inclined to do so if big corporate names are attached to gatherings of smelly, neckbearded manchildren. I don't think it's any secret that these corporations brought "legitimacy" to these otherwise highly unsupervised communities and the murky backgrounds of these players.

But it's not that I'm saying we need to put up "DANGER" signs everywhere or that we need to segregate children from these events. It takes a certain level of arrogance to try to prevent children from attending events about games that are targeted to them in the first place. It's the manchildren taking videogames way too seriously that are the ones out of place.

No, I'm pointing out how much of an influence corporations and esports have had on the overall culture and dynamics within the community. It's not enough to say they've influenced things, so much as amplified all of the underlying issues tenfold. They've simultaneously managed to amp up all the worst aspects while creating an air of "legitimacy" about the community and its top players. No decent parent would ever let their kids in some of these places otherwise, but that "legitimacy" distracts from all of the less savory aspects outside the venues themselves.

And not just in that sense either, but how they've amplified personalities themselves. I don't think it's unfair to say that most of the accused wouldn't have gotten anywhere near as big as they did if corporate influence wasn't in play. Nairo and ZeRo are very much a product and brand of Tempo Storm and NRG and all their previous sponsors. Yes, they would have enjoyed some clout due to their accomplishments, but there is a difference between the previous insular communities of Melee or Brawl and the current millions of new fans that only know ZeRo as the funny Youtuber or whatever.

That is entirely a product of corporate branding and marketing. And one that doesn't care what it does to the community that it's leeching off of, only the amount of profit Nairo brand trinkets make them. And because these players are part of their brand, there's a natural incentive not to pry too much into their past or bring to light present allegations. It amuses me that the people currently bagging on friends of the accused for not knowing every detail about their life have been praising these sponsors for their "handling" of these players, never considering that these corporations that actually have the resources to vet their players may have known about these allegations for a long time, but chose to protect their revenue streams until they no longer could.

And the more and more you allow the corporatization and commodification of these communities, the worse things will get, until you get a situation akin to traditional sports, where players are completely assimilated into their brand and don't even have rights to their appearances, and top players are waived from any moral or legal repercussions for their wrong doings because they help their team win.



Before going into the "solutions" it should be made clear that the above issues are completely separate and their own beasts entirely. People keep grouping together the Sky house with incidents like Keitaro's simply because they are all related to the Smash Community. Those are entirely separate situations, with different dynamics and root problems, and shouldn't have been conflated in the first place.



1. Affordable housing

I mean yeah, that's kind of obvious. But it's also not something the Smash Community can really solve. Lack of affordable housing is something endemic to America on the whole and it's only been getting worse. That's on the American government to solve. You can, as individuals, put pressure on your local governments to do something about this issue that's been neglected, but it is highly unfair to pretend that Smash authorities have any jurisdiction over what goes on in a private household.

And that's going to be a common theme going forward, in that there's quite a lot of blame being laid on the community for what ultimately goes on outside of it. Just because ZeRo was a prominent member of the community doesn't mean that what went on in the Sky household was a Smash related thing. No TO or CoC member has any authority to prevent those situations from happening. Those are there own separate things outside of the community's jurisdiction.


2. Education, trusting your instincts, and common sense

This is going to be the most controversial part for those still reading and I'm probably going to catch a lot of flak for this. But it's common knowledge for anyone that's studied criminal science or simply grew up in a rough neighborhood like I did, and needs to be said. I'm also lumping in parties at a stranger's house in this as well.

Social media and parties at a stranger's house fall outside of any authority and jurisdiction and are natural hunting grounds for predators. There's no real way to monitor or control what goes on in these places and who goes to them. You are for the most part completely on your own. And because you are on your own, you'll have to rely on your own judgement and wits to safely navigate them.

Alternatively, you can avoid these things completely and not have to worry about predators. The fact that you didn't is bad decision number one.

If you must do these things then bring trustworthy friends that won't become intoxicated and only talk to people you know or trust online. The fact that you didn't is bad decision number two.

If you must go solo to these parties or converse with strangers online, do not become intoxicated and do not consume anything from open containers that were left unattended and do not reveal personal info or start private conversations with strangers online. The fact that you did is bad decision number three.

If you do become intoxicated at a party, do not let anyone lead you into a situation where you will be alone with them and if they attempt to solicit nudes from you online or ask for sexual favors, immediately stop the conversation and report and block them. These are very obviously predatory behaviors and the fact that you didn't leave the situation was your final and fatal mistake.

And as you can see it takes a fair amount of bad decisions to actually fall prey to a predator. I know that sounds harsh but FWIW I've both been solicited for nudes online as a teenager and groped at a local park. I blocked and reported the former (admittedly after a bit of trolling which you probably shouldn't do) and quickly moved towards a more open and populated part of the park in the case of the latter. And those actions prevented both situations from escalating.

I'm too tired to get more in the weeds on this one, but you if you want a laymans resource, free from academic prose and paywalls, http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/ is a decent resource. Particularly relevant is high risk behavior and the topics that page leads to.

Needless to say, these are still way out of the jurisdiction of the Smash Community. If you're going to go down this road as an individual, you have to be prepared to face the consequences.


3. Decoupling with esports and playing videogames as a job (money)

Let's be honest, we never actually gained anything meaningful from this alliance. You got big, flashy, substanceless productions like EVO, that doesn't actually have anything to do directly with fighting games. And almost everyone that has had to deal with them directly, both as a player and organizer, seems to hate it. Even the players that this alliance was supposed to be for still aren't making enough to really be comfortable or not have crazy schedules or be forced to do side gigs like streaming and Youtube. The corporations ultimately got everything out of this.

But I think it's pretty clear that things didn't really go to hell until esports started becoming a thing. I mean, teenagers gallivanting around the country and trying to make a living off of tournaments wasn't a healthy environment either, as seen by things such as the Sky house. But effectively doing the same thing with a corporate stamp of approval isn't really any better. The root problem seems to be trying to make money off of this in the first place.

So basically, in order to tear down the current culture and environment, you need to remove the financial incentive for doing so. Japan seems to have a good thing going by forgoing any real pots for things like a custom pro controller. Not to say it doesn't have its own problems, but it does seem to be a lot less toxic than the American version. In fact, it's pretty obvious that massive and embarrassing allegation waves really only seem to happen in America. And I can't help but think that's because of the fame and money obsessed culture America has become on the whole.

If Europe doesn't have much of a competitive scene in the first place and Japan explicitly forbids excess in money and fame, then naturally it points to issues in how America operates. And a large part of that are these corporate sponsorships and their exacerbation of this culture. And once they've identified a potential profit source, they are not going to let go. It's going to be up to the community to ban sponsorships and money.

And I personally think the community will be happier and healthier afterwards. Hobbies really should stay hobbies in the long run.





Though real talk, the above will fall on deaf ears and the cycle will continue. If education, common sense, and the rejection of greed and fame were that easy, then human greed and folly would not be the constant that it is. As I've mentioned, this really isn't a Smash exclusive problem. These are issues that have been plaguing American society for a long time and likely won't go away until major societal changes are made.
 
As a staunch teetotaler, I'm going to do something wacky and defend alcohol. It's certainly a factor as far as exploitation goes, but by the time you are in a situation where alcohol is relevant, you've already made a series of poor decisions. The fact that most of these incidents involving it were at unsanctioned parties run by people independent of any authorities in the Smash Community, and have had all sorts of unsavory rumors swirling around them, should illustrate that. It should be noted that traditional sports can serve alcohol at their venues without much incident, outside of maybe the occasional fight, at least as far as I know.

Same with the idea of increasing the severity of punishments. If punitive measures were actually effective, then the increasing severity of penalties in the American legal system should see a reduction in crime. Not only has that yet to happen, but there are studies that indicate that harsher penalties makes things worse. Not to mention the really high recidivism rate from what is a very harsh prison environment compared to more lax ones from European countries.

And these



range from performative to downright disturbing.

First off, you need to separate any sort of system that handles these types of allegations from people that profit off of the accused. If the going theme of this past week or so has been people being incentivized not to speak up, then it doesn't make much sense to continue perpetuating conflicts of interest.

Second, I'm unsure of how effective an anonymous tip line is going to be when we supposedly already have institutions setup that are supposed to deal with this (CoC panel?). Given how Youtubers like InfernoOmni seem to have become impromptu accusation handlers, it seems to be that there is a problem with the way these institutions are handling these allegations. I'm not sure how further splintering these are supposed to help. Not to mention how these anonymous tip lines are going to handle these cases. Repeated reports of an individual can be an indicator that something's up, but if the report function in fighting games is any indicator, then these can be ripe for abuse. Do these guys actually have adequate resources to handle this?

Third, creating an "official" (not really) blacklist is probably one of the worst ideas I've ever heard. Setting aside the obvious comparisons to things like the Un-American Activities Commitee, it's a list that seems to attempt to compile easy references to criminal behavior and people but already has an "exception" in the case of the Youtuber Technicals.

Regardless of what you think of Technicals, and I admit I'm not much of a fan of what I've seen of his content and views, putting him on a list of (alleged) sexual offenders isn't really called for. It took pressure from Technicals and his fans to even get Dark Wizzy to add that disclaimer and there seems to be beef between the two in general, which is an obvious conflict of interest. Dark Wizzy does not have the authority to define sexual harassment nor can I really say that making a masturbation joke about someone that sells lewd content is grounds for total ban from tournaments and events.

And that's kind of the issue here, is that there is a lot of subjectivity in what should be an objective document. Linking a video as "evidence" and expecting me to draw my own conclusion (or the "correct" conclusion in this case) about something that I don't have the authority to decide is not how you do these things.

ESAM is cleared for saying a racial slur on stream years ago, but Technicals is permanently banned for making a masturbation joke about a lewd content creator years ago? By what standards are we clearing one but condemning the other? And while on this topic, where do we draw the line in terms of severity, what do we consider as severity standards in the first place, and how long ago does it have to be before we deem it ok to forgive and forget?

There seems to be a hot mess of subjectivity and vagueness and dare I say hypocrisy going on here and I'm downright appalled that not only was this not immediately shutdown, but actually signed onto by a lot of prominent members of the community. Just skimming through some of the people listed that I hadn't heard of, I'm seeing a lot of vague and nebulous things like "made uncomfortable" and "flirty" strewn about with not a lot of evidence that would necessitate something as extreme as a total ban. There exist people in this world that for whatever reason are socially awkward and sometimes say and do weird and inappropriate things without meaning to. There exist people in this world that come off as flirty or familiar without meaning to. Are we really going to start banning people on what could easily be misunderstandings? Because as far as social awkwardness goes, that's a large part of the community.


I'm just flabbergasted that in response to widespread alleged abuse of power, this list that is so ripe for abuse that we already have an example, was even created. It just goes to show that the Smash Community has no idea what it is doing and is doomed to have this cycle repeat itself. I get that organization is hard, but either create a standard and stick to it (hi CoC) or get actual legal authorities involved (*cough Police*). This reactionary, mob driven response is exactly what I was talking about it in that other thread. It's not helpful at all and potentially makes things worse.



To ward off that guy who may come along to accuse me of backseat organizing and/or accuse me of criticism without offering solutions (not that critiques require that), I'm going to enclose in spoilers my thoughts on what the actual problems and "solutions" are.


To preface things a little, there's a trend of very black and white thinking that's been very pervasive among a variety of topics in modern times. Said black and white thinking does things like force binaries where there aren't and reduce terms, concepts, and ideas into very narrow and misleading things. One of those things is the idea of there being a small minority of "bad" people that if we could just cull them then everything will be fine.

This type of thinking is already fraught with peril and naturally assumes that there is a pure and virtuous model of humanity that people must adhere to or there is something very wrong with them. Not only is that reductionist and the reality is much more complex and grey, but there is not one person reading this that has never done something really horrible to another person or otherwise done something that would be considered immoral. Anyone that says thay haven't is lying.

No, most of what I'm going to be talking about is under the assumption that people are products of their environment. And there is fairly convincing evidence that environment has a lot to do with what type of person you are. I don't mean just in the sense of upbringing either, but also your current environment. If we can learn and grow from our mistakes and experiences, then obviously we aren't static beings that are incapable of changing in response to external stimuli. Be it surrounded by good influences or corruptive influences.

A quick example would be all of the civil rights figures that went into the very corruptive American government and were twisted and corrupted beyond all recognition. It's not that they were inherently bad people, as evidenced by their record of fighting for civil rights, it's just that when you are immersed in decades of legalized and encouraged bribery and a lifestyle and peer group completely removed from the rest of the country, you can easily lose touch with your roots and the rest of the world.

And that's important to keep in mind, because it means that even if you cull all of the current baddies and tell yourself things are getting better, new ones will be corrupted and born to take their place if the corruptive environment isn't changed.

So with that said, there are three major things I've seen in almost all of these cases so far.


1. Lodging

I mean lets be honest here, if I told you that a house from a rich and famous Youtuber came to be the stomping grounds for runaways and the (soon to be) homeless, would you not think that might just be a little iffy? We're not talking about a real shelter, we're talking about some rich dude's pet project. That's bound to cause some serious dysfunction and bizarre power dynamics, even if he didn't turn out to be an authoritarian maniac.

I don't think it really needs to be stated that if your options are putting up with whatever abuse is dished out or being homeless, then naturally most people are going to choose the former. And not just in the sense of taking abuse, but also in being pressured to participate in the dishing of abuse by the bigger bullies. The lack of affordable housing is probably unique to America among the Smash Community and is what leads to this type of exploitation.


2. Social Media

That's pretty self-explanatory. It's rather easy to have completely unsupervised conversations with any random on the internet and there's no real way to police these things. Seemingly a predator's dream.


3. Idol culture and esports

I mean it goes without saying that social hierarchies and idolization are endemic to human societies and especially in nerd culture. And that without esports and "legitimization" we would still have these concepts. But most parents aren't going to be too keen on sending their kids to a gathering of smelly, neckbearded manchildren to play videogames. But they may be more inclined to do so if big corporate names are attached to gatherings of smelly, neckbearded manchildren. I don't think it's any secret that these corporations brought "legitimacy" to these otherwise highly unsupervised communities and the murky backgrounds of these players.

But it's not that I'm saying we need to put up "DANGER" signs everywhere or that we need to segregate children from these events. It takes a certain level of arrogance to try to prevent children from attending events about games that are targeted to them in the first place. It's the manchildren taking videogames way too seriously that are the ones out of place.

No, I'm pointing out how much of an influence corporations and esports have had on the overall culture and dynamics within the community. It's not enough to say they've influenced things, so much as amplified all of the underlying issues tenfold. They've simultaneously managed to amp up all the worst aspects while creating an air of "legitimacy" about the community and its top players. No decent parent would ever let their kids in some of these places otherwise, but that "legitimacy" distracts from all of the less savory aspects outside the venues themselves.

And not just in that sense either, but how they've amplified personalities themselves. I don't think it's unfair to say that most of the accused wouldn't have gotten anywhere near as big as they did if corporate influence wasn't in play. Nairo and ZeRo are very much a product and brand of Tempo Storm and NRG and all their previous sponsors. Yes, they would have enjoyed some clout due to their accomplishments, but there is a difference between the previous insular communities of Melee or Brawl and the current millions of new fans that only know ZeRo as the funny Youtuber or whatever.

That is entirely a product of corporate branding and marketing. And one that doesn't care what it does to the community that it's leeching off of, only the amount of profit Nairo brand trinkets make them. And because these players are part of their brand, there's a natural incentive not to pry too much into their past or bring to light present allegations. It amuses me that the people currently bagging on friends of the accused for not knowing every detail about their life have been praising these sponsors for their "handling" of these players, never considering that these corporations that actually have the resources to vet their players may have known about these allegations for a long time, but chose to protect their revenue streams until they no longer could.

And the more and more you allow the corporatization and commodification of these communities, the worse things will get, until you get a situation akin to traditional sports, where players are completely assimilated into their brand and don't even have rights to their appearances, and top players are waived from any moral or legal repercussions for their wrong doings because they help their team win.



Before going into the "solutions" it should be made clear that the above issues are completely separate and their own beasts entirely. People keep grouping together the Sky house with incidents like Keitaro's simply because they are all related to the Smash Community. Those are entirely separate situations, with different dynamics and root problems, and shouldn't have been conflated in the first place.



1. Affordable housing

I mean yeah, that's kind of obvious. But it's also not something the Smash Community can really solve. Lack of affordable housing is something endemic to America on the whole and it's only been getting worse. That's on the American government to solve. You can, as individuals, put pressure on your local governments to do something about this issue that's been neglected, but it is highly unfair to pretend that Smash authorities have any jurisdiction over what goes on in a private household.

And that's going to be a common theme going forward, in that there's quite a lot of blame being laid on the community for what ultimately goes on outside of it. Just because ZeRo was a prominent member of the community doesn't mean that what went on in the Sky household was a Smash related thing. No TO or CoC member has any authority to prevent those situations from happening. Those are there own separate things outside of the community's jurisdiction.


2. Education, trusting your instincts, and common sense

This is going to be the most controversial part for those still reading and I'm probably going to catch a lot of flak for this. But it's common knowledge for anyone that's studied criminal science or simply grew up in a rough neighborhood like I did, and needs to be said. I'm also lumping in parties at a stranger's house in this as well.

Social media and parties at a stranger's house fall outside of any authority and jurisdiction and are natural hunting grounds for predators. There's no real way to monitor or control what goes on in these places and who goes to them. You are for the most part completely on your own. And because you are on your own, you'll have to rely on your own judgement and wits to safely navigate them.

Alternatively, you can avoid these things completely and not have to worry about predators. The fact that you didn't is bad decision number one.

If you must do these things then bring trustworthy friends that won't become intoxicated and only talk to people you know or trust online. The fact that you didn't is bad decision number two.

If you must go solo to these parties or converse with strangers online, do not become intoxicated and do not consume anything from open containers that were left unattended and do not reveal personal info or start private conversations with strangers online. The fact that you did is bad decision number three.

If you do become intoxicated at a party, do not let anyone lead you into a situation where you will be alone with them and if they attempt to solicit nudes from you online or ask for sexual favors, immediately stop the conversation and report and block them. These are very obviously predatory behaviors and the fact that you didn't leave the situation was your final and fatal mistake.

And as you can see it takes a fair amount of bad decisions to actually fall prey to a predator. I know that sounds harsh but FWIW I've both been solicited for nudes online as a teenager and groped at a local park. I blocked and reported the former (admittedly after a bit of trolling which you probably shouldn't do) and quickly moved towards a more open and populated part of the park in the case of the latter. And those actions prevented both situations from escalating.

I'm too tired to get more in the weeds on this one, but you if you want a laymans resource, free from academic prose and paywalls, http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/ is a decent resource. Particularly relevant is high risk behavior and the topics that page leads to.

Needless to say, these are still way out of the jurisdiction of the Smash Community. If you're going to go down this road as an individual, you have to be prepared to face the consequences.


3. Decoupling with esports and playing videogames as a job (money)

Let's be honest, we never actually gained anything meaningful from this alliance. You got big, flashy, substanceless productions like EVO, that doesn't actually have anything to do directly with fighting games. And almost everyone that has had to deal with them directly, both as a player and organizer, seems to hate it. Even the players that this alliance was supposed to be for still aren't making enough to really be comfortable or not have crazy schedules or be forced to do side gigs like streaming and Youtube. The corporations ultimately got everything out of this.

But I think it's pretty clear that things didn't really go to hell until esports started becoming a thing. I mean, teenagers gallivanting around the country and trying to make a living off of tournaments wasn't a healthy environment either, as seen by things such as the Sky house. But effectively doing the same thing with a corporate stamp of approval isn't really any better. The root problem seems to be trying to make money off of this in the first place.

So basically, in order to tear down the current culture and environment, you need to remove the financial incentive for doing so. Japan seems to have a good thing going by forgoing any real pots for things like a custom pro controller. Not to say it doesn't have its own problems, but it does seem to be a lot less toxic than the American version. In fact, it's pretty obvious that massive and embarrassing allegation waves really only seem to happen in America. And I can't help but think that's because of the fame and money obsessed culture America has become on the whole.

If Europe doesn't have much of a competitive scene in the first place and Japan explicitly forbids excess in money and fame, then naturally it points to issues in how America operates. And a large part of that are these corporate sponsorships and their exacerbation of this culture. And once they've identified a potential profit source, they are not going to let go. It's going to be up to the community to ban sponsorships and money.

And I personally think the community will be happier and healthier afterwards. Hobbies really should stay hobbies in the long run.





Though real talk, the above will fall on deaf ears and the cycle will continue. If education, common sense, and the rejection of greed and fame were that easy, then human greed and folly would not be the constant that it is. As I've mentioned, this really isn't a Smash exclusive problem. These are issues that have been plaguing American society for a long time and likely won't go away until major societal changes are made.
I see You have some very good points, but I doubt people will want to actively make Smash an underground thing again. But I guess is better for everyone's sake.
 
Just wanted to say that the reddit megathread being removed is just further proof people in positions of power feel threatened by investigations involving their platforms. Even if they aren't in any way complicit to these transgressions or otherwise liable... Fear wins. Sponsors dropping ties with alleged criminals / abusers is pretty much par for the course but a few good Samaritans posting a legitimate and comprehensive list of all the allegations in one place is pulled down because reasons? Ridiculous.

Hopefully this thread will continue to be updated seeing as it's currently only a fraction of the total incidents that were cataloged and for the foreseeable future the only place one can look up many of these stories.
 
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Long live this thread! I'm sad to hear about the Reddit post being taken down. This is vital information that should be available to the public. Regardless, I'm kinda glad COVID shut down tournaments now. It gives us time to reflect and rebuild. We have to work out a way to have tournaments be safe for everyone, especially children and minors. I'm not sure what to do because I'm not sure how we could stop after parties from happening, and that seems to be when the bulk of offenses occur. But I'm hopeful that things can get worked out and we can prevent most, if not all abuses from happening going forward
 
People that want Alcohol should only do private events: Matches with Friends.
I can confirm from experience that just because alcohol is legal that is is just as bad as any other drug.
Excessive alcohol consumption should only ever be done in a controlled environment.
Don't drink and drive. Don't drink at work. Don't drink while studying. And if alcohol is consumed before acts of sexuality, make sure that consent is given BEFORE the first drop of alcohol is consumed.
And for us boys, we REALLY need to normalize the buddy system and stop each other from abusing women (and sometimes other men) while under the influence.
This reminds me of the time that Twitch offered free beer in OPEN CONTAINERS, and they were called out, people laughed at the sensitivity, and then just as the warnings foretold, a woman got roofied.

TL:DR Alcohol is as much a drug as any illegal drugs, and if one is to consume it, they should treat it seriously, as alcohol has destroyed more lives than ANY OTHER DRUG. By far.
More people die annually from alcohol than heroine and cocaine combined.
 
This article was helpful; I wasn't aware of most of this.
If you weren’t a Twitter/Reddit user, I wouldn’t blame you, because it was mainly there that the whole story blew up.

Though I think that even if Smashboards didn’t say anything, anyone following Smash would have heard eventually. It’s the worst thing that has ever happened in the Smash community (as far as I can remember).
 
I've been following this from afar (not digging into twitter but keeping tabs of the summary thread on Reddit and Omni's videos on the subject matter), and I think there's two clear actions that need to happen for actual change.

The first, complete and utter ban of alcohol at smash events. There are simply far too many of these incidents that involve alcohol to dismiss it from being a compounding factor. It has become rather clear that smash players at tournaments cannot be trusted to keep to appropriate behaviour with alcohol in the vicinity. It needs to be a harsh response to players showing up with alcohol, drunk, or with obvious hangovers. It cannot be a light slap on the wrist, it needs to be an immediate removal from the tournament and tournament grounds. Doesn't matter who it is or how important the tournament is. Could be EVO 2022, top 8, most hyped event of the year: the best player shows up clearly hung over immediately kick them out of the tournament for breaking the rules. All 8 of them show up drunk because they were parting? Guess nobody wins EVO this year. Bluntly if you can't avoid alcohol for 2-3 days you have more serious problems to deal with than a gaming tournament, even a large one.

The second item, is that tournaments need to be segregated by age. Needs to be age of majority/consent and up for the region, or minors only except for the actual TOs/refs/support staff. No mixing of the age brackets, no running the different age brackets simultaneously. Even with no alcohol around, the unfortunate truth is that Smash tournaments are an ideal ground for predators to find their prey. No matter how vigilant we are, if we mix the age groups there will be more victims. To me this is non-negotiable. I understand we'd lose out on potential epic stories like MKLeo when he was first starting to break out into the scene, but protecting minors from situations where they're at risk is infinitely more important. It would be better to cancel the Smash competitive scene entirely than to continue to run them as is.

To me, any TO that doesn't implement both of the above points isn't taking the situation seriously. What they're providing is lip service: say a few nice words and hand wave in a tip line because they know it will almost never be used (and in many cases they can end up playing favourites in deciding which tips they actually act on). Without implementing the above two points, they don't want to actually deal with the problem, they just want the flames to die out with minimal effort and then back to business as usual.
This will help a lot, I like your thinking, I do not think that we should have a completely different tournament for non adults, How would you verify that your are of age? just a tick box telling you what age you are. Most people lie about their age so I don't see how that can work.
 
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