Game over: Harassment charges end gaming stars' careers
MANILA, Philippines – In the past few weeks, the gaming and streaming community saw a surge of individuals who bravely stepped forward to share their experiences of sexual harassment and misconduct in the industry.
The ongoing #MeToo movement in the community – which has exposed several gaming personalities from streamers, casters, and company executives – has sparked outrage and forced several organizations to part ways from the accused offenders. Here are some of the stories:
Joey Cuellar, co-founder and president of the world’s biggest fighting game tournament Evolution Championship Series (Evo), was accused by a Twitter user of inappropriate behavior toward teenage boys back in 1990-2000s.
The accusation forced major game developers such as Capcom (Street Fighter), NetherRealm Studios (Mortal Kombat) and Bandai Namco (Tekken) to pull out from the tournament.
As a result, Evo announced on Friday, July 3, that it canceled the Evo Online 2020 event and dropped Cuellar from the company.
Cuellar posted an apology in his Twitter account, saying that he’s not proud of the things that he made in the past.
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
Super Smash Bros.
Streamer and caster Cinnamon ‘Cinnpie’ Dunson joined the long list of Smash Bros. personalities who were accused of sexual misconduct.
In a tweet posted by Troy ‘Puppeh’ Wells, one of the top Smash Ultimate players, he accused Dunson for manipulating and sexualizing him when he was 14 years old.
“Sometime before the summer of 2016, Cinnamon initiated sexual conversations on Snapchat with me and I would respond but I never truly knew if anything would come of it,” said Wells.
“I truly believe most of my mental issues stem from that summer and how she treated me. She would tell me things like, ‘we can get together when you are 18.’
“She would consistently gaslight me and make me question myself all the time while I was only 14 and still trying to find myself as a person,” he added.
Dunson, who was 24 at the time, did not respond to Well’s allegations.
On Friday, July 3, Nintendo released a statement to IGN, condemning all the acts of violence in Smash and fighting game community:
“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 clear that we condemn all acts of violence, harassment, and exploitation against anyone and that we stand with the victims.”
Among the initial stories that came out were from multiple women accusing Dota 2 caster and content creator Grant ‘GranDgranT’ Harris of harassment.
Former Mineski coach Anthony ‘Scant’ Hodgson made a thread on Twitter that discussed how Harris repeatedly harassed and bullied former commentator 'LlamaDownUnder' to force her out of the Dota 2 scene.
“We’ve all been far too quiet for far too long about Grandgrant,” said Hodgson. “He has for years shown a consistent pattern of behaviour of harassing and degrading women.”
A Twitter user named Wicked also posted a detailed story of how Harris drugged and sexually assaulted one of his victims during The International 2014.
About Grant. (CW: sexual assault, being drugged)— Wicked (@Wickedscosplay) June 23, 2020
Following the accusations, esports organization Evil Geniuses immediately dropped the caster from its talent pool.
Harris, who did not deny any of the allegations, posted an apology and announced that he will leave the broadcast table.
“I just want to apologize to everyone in the Dota scene, the things I have done in the past really are just horrible to look back on,” said Harris. “I’ll be leaving Dota and the esports scene for a long time, if not permanently.”
Aside from Harris, prominent broadcast personalities such as Paul ‘Redeye’ Chaloner and Toby ‘TobiWan’ Dawson also decided to leave the esports scene after the accusations of assault and harassment came out.
The group of content creators and streamers, Offline TV, became the center of the movement after its member Lily ‘LilyPichu’ Ki and house manager Yvonne Ng accused co-member and housemate Federico ‘Fedmyster’ Gaytan and former manager Chris Chan of sexual harassment.
my truth— yvonne (@yvonnie) June 28, 2020
In her statement, Ng said that Gaytan “overstepped boundaries” and used “being drunk” as an excuse for his actions.
Ki followed up on Ng’s story on her now-deleted statement and stated that Gaytan tried to take advantage of her after suffering from a painful breakup.
Offline TV is a group of content creators who live in one house. Their members are known for streaming games such as League of Legends, Teamfight Tactics, Valorant and Minecraft.
Right after their stories came out, several streamers, including their co-member Imane ‘Pokimane’ Anys, also shared their experiences with Gaytan.
Pokimane, the top female streamer on Twitch, said Gaytan falsely claimed and told people that they are in a relationship and tried to make her look like a bad person to their friends by telling false narratives.
Fedmyster did not respond to Anys’ statement but admitted to Ng and Ki's allegations against him.
In light of recent events, this pained me greatly as it was not and has never been my intention to hurt those closest to me. I fully understand the importance of having their voices heard, and I believe I should take a step back, give them space and listen to their story.— FED (@Fedmyster) June 28, 2020
“This pained me greatly as it was not and has never been my intention to hurt those closest to me,” said Gaytan.
“I fully understand the importance of having their voices heard, and I believe I should take a step back, give them space and listen to their story.”
Gaytan was immediately removed from the group.
Aside from Fedmyster, Ki also exposed Chan and shared that during their business trip in Taiwan back in 2017, he wrapped his arms and legs around her without his pants.
Chan also admitted the accusation and apologized, saying that he is “deeply ashamed and disappointed” by his actions.
Reddit also compiled a list of allegations. – Rappler.com