The Task Force quickly made good progress—by the end of May, they had drafted a completed long-form code of conduct and began creating a condensed version to share at tournaments. Their next step was to get large-scale tournament organizers (TOs) on board.
On the morning of July 12th, however, Roboticphish gave us a discouraging update. Although the Task Force has had almost half of their intended TOs agree to support their cause, some of the biggest TOs and organizations who have yet to sign on have expressed concern about the code’s legality. The main concern regards who would be legally liable if someone banned from an event decided to sue for defamation or discrimination. Additionally, the assumption that TOs are legally allowed to expel anyone from their event at any time for any reason is being questioned.
It seems that an anonymous, yet widely-known, member of the community has been accused of grooming a minor along with sexual assault and has hired a lawyer “who has threatened to litigate against any tournament who tries to bar him entry into their event.” The current proposed solutions range from having a “signatory buy-in,” to creating a legal defense fund that would offer protection from these sorts of lawsuits, to creating an “informal agreement” and handling extraordinary circumstances case-by-case. The committee is currently seeking advice from their lawyers, legal experts, and “eSports organizational minds.”
The Harassment Task Force is still working to have a finalized code of conduct ready for the upcoming summer majors, Shine and Super Smash Con. Roboticphish reassures us that “the panel is still committed to its stated goal of setting guidelines of behavior and removing the most toxic and dangerous people in the community” and asks that we remain patient.
Several community members have responded to the announcement on Twitter:
Organizers can bar entry for that, 100%. Even if the person brought a lawsuit, it'd get tossed quickly and there's no way it'd cost that much money to defend. I'm not on Smashboards so please let any TOs worried about this know that I'm happy to talk— Just UltraDavid (@ultradavid) July 12, 2018
As someone who's legally fought this battle from the other side-- TOs have every right to bar entry to anyone with no need to provide reason. Defamation claims can only be made when information becomes public https://t.co/uz6pEGZ5R1— Jisu 🦋 (@JisuArtist) July 12, 2018
Author’s Note: What do you think should be the Task Force’s next step? Should they call the player’s bluff or proceed with caution? Let us know in the comments.