Two popular Super Smash Bros. competitors — “Nairo” and “Keitaro” — have admitted to wrongdoing as multiple other Smashers have been accused of sexual misconduct, including everything from sexual harassment to rape and pedophilia.
In the world of e-sports, Super Smash Bros. is one of the most popular crossover fighting games, featuring characters from various Nintendo franchises. “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,” the most recent release of the game, which was established in 1999, came out in 2018.
Recently, Nintendo addressed the allegations in a brief statement, in which it did not name any players and broadly condemned acts of violence and harassment.
What Are the Allegations?
The international community has told me that they are scared at sending any minors to any future American events.
They are witnessing our disintegration as the coercion, manipulation, and bribery runs in our highest echelons.
I do not blame them.
Reform now, out them all.
— s u a r (@PG_suar) July 2, 2020
The allegations range from sexual harassment to rape, with some instances involving minors. What the accusers have presented as evidence of the incidents (outside of the accusations themselves) include admissions from some of those accused as well as contemporaneous social media messages, screenshots of text messages and images from streamed tournaments. The following list is not exhaustive:
“CaptainZack” (Zack Lauth) accused “Nairo” (Nairoby Quezada) of sexually assaulting him when was a 15-year-old at CEO Dreamland 2017. You can read a more detailed account of the allegations in a TwitLonger statement. On Twitter, Nairo released a statement in which he said that he “messed up completely” and then said he was going to stay off social media. Nairo’s last message that he sent to “Samsora” (Ezra Morris) has many concerned that he might be suicidal.
“KTDominate” (Kaitlyn Redeker) accused “D1” (D’Ron Maingrette) of giving her alcohol and raping her in 2016 when she was 18. Another Smasher, “Wrath” (Carrington Osborne) said she had evidence that D1 paid someone to delete incriminating photos. D1 released his own statement in which he said that he was so drunk, he couldn’t recall what happened, but he was taking her word that it did. He also apologized and said he never paid anyone to delete evidence.
“Shiva” (Sandy) posted a message on Twitter accusing “Keitaro” (Richard King Jr.) of giving her alcohol and having sex with her when she was 16. Keitaro apologized and admitted that the two had sex in a TwitLonger statement; he gave his own version of events in which he said Shiva initiated the sexual contact.
“Puppeh” (Troy Wells) accused Smasher “Cinnpie” (Cinnamon Dunson) of starting a sexual relationship with him when he was 14 and she was ten years his senior. In his TwitLonger message, he said, “Our sexual relationship escalated as far as oral sex, but never as far as sexual intercourse.” In response, Cinnpie has said on Twitter that the allegations are “disgusting rumors,” not true and added, “This hurts.”
“Kyoto” wrote a TwitLonger message saying that she felt pressured into sending a nude photo to another Smasher named “Scruff,” after which, she said he constantly made sexual innuendos and comments.
Joi Dunston wrote a TwitLonger message about her experience as a photographer and social media manager at the University of North Carolina’s Esports club and at Smash tournaments. She accused a gamer named “Brian” of allowing an 18-year-old woman to drink at his place alcohol before he had sex with her. She also accused a Smasher named Shane McManus that she had once dated of constantly slut-shaming, publicly humiliating and creating a bot to track her on Discord. And finally, she said that she posted screenshots of David Romero, UNC Esports co-president, as well as Shane, using racist language.
“Jisu” posted a tweet accusing “Zero” of sexual harassment, writing, “You were showing me explicit Craigslist ads of sex workers and hentai on the big screen and constantly harassing me at the sky house when I was 15.” Zero responded with a message of his own as well as a Twitlonger apologizing for not being present enough to stop others from being abused.
“Kaizin” wrote a TwitLonger, describing an uncomfortable interaction with “False” (Corey Shin), in which she felt that he was pushing boundaries she had set with him since they were not in a relationship.
What Has Been The Response?
Nintendo Responds to Smash Bros. FGC Misconduct; Pulls Video Featuring Community Members https://t.co/hs8V5zy22a
— BruffersTech (@BruffersT) July 3, 2020
In light of the allegations, Nintendo issued a statement to IGN, which read:
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.
Evo, also known as Evolution Championship Series, said that it was canceling Evo Online 2020, after allegations about the company’s president, Joey Cuellar, appeared on Twitter; prior to that, gaming publishers Capcom and NetherRealm had announced they were not going to participate. The accusations included that he gave underage arcade members tokens to jump in a pool only while wearing underwear, according to IGN.
Cuellar responded with a brief statement on Twitter:
I'm sorry. I never meant to hurt anyone. I was young and reckless and did things I'm not proud of. I have been growing and maturing over the past 20 years, but that doesn't excuse anything. All I have been trying to do is become a better person. Once again, I'm truly sorry.
— Joey Cuellar (@MrWiz) July 3, 2020
Evo also issued a statement on Twitter:
Over the past 24 hours, in response to serious allegations recently made public on Twitter, we have made the first of a series of important decisions regarding the future of our company. Effective immediately, Joey Cuellar will no longer be involved with Evo in any capacity. We are currently working towards his complete separation from the company and have relieved him of all his responsibilities.
Going forward, Tony Cannon will act as CEO; in this position, he will take a leadership role in prioritizing greater accountability across Evo, both internally and at our events.
Progress doesn’t happen overnight, or without the bravery of those who speak up against misconduct and injustice. We are shocked and saddened by these events, but we are listening and committed to making every change that will be necessary in making Evo a better model for the stronger, safer culture we all seek. As a result, we will be canceling Evo Online and will work to issue refunds for all players who chose to purchase a badge. We will donate the equivalent of the proceeds as promised to Project HOPE.
Other gaming communities and sponsors have stated that they would no longer associate with some of the accused Smashers. NRG, a gaming organization, announced on Twitter that it was cutting ties with Nairo and T1 announced on Twitter that it was cutting ties with gamer “Anti” (Jason Bates).