Sexual assault in esports is becoming widely prevalent. As the trend continues, participants in various Esport communities have begun to voice out, and this may lead to some drastic measures to be put in place on multiple platforms.
A vast number of sexual misconduct allegations recently rocked the competitive community for Nintendo’s popular Super Smash Bros. series. There is an unlimited stream of victims — many of them speak against highly qualified, popular, or otherwise strong individuals — to expose the dark base of the scene around which a notable children’s game is played. This has given rise to serious conversations about what is needed in the future to keep people accountable and discourage such systemic abuse.
The allegations fall in the broader sense of sexual harassment in the computer game industry. Yet professional Smash players and fans say the casual nature of the game, inclusive values, and multiple generation attraction have led unintentionally to an unhealthy atmosphere in WIRED interviews. Others claim that a noble ethos and lack of societal ramifications have allowed sexual abuse to take years to travel under the radar. While the Smash # MeToo era begins, the individuals who are close to the game have dug deeper into this canker.
Issues of Sexual Misconduct in the Smash Community
According to Kotaku, last week, about 50 victims have come forward on Social Media to speak about being sexually abused by an individual in the Smash Community.
Such allegations include numerous cases of rape, sexual harassment, and pedophilia, among others. Several bans from different tournament regions have been introduced. Sponsors of sports are a massive retreat. Nevertheless, it is always for the very individual Smash promoters to decide what to do at the local level, without a real regulatory authority that addresses complaints and enforces discipline. As has happened over time, this is also a catastrophe formula, in particular with the number of children attending such activities.
On July 1, a Smash Player by Puppeh wrote a Twitlong article describing his sexual relationship at 14 with the commentator Smash Cinnamon “Cinnpie” Dunson, who was 24 years of age. The same day, on Twitter, a player going to Mikey said that Joey “Mr. Wizard “Cuellar, CEO and organizer of EVO, the world’s largest combat game tournament, allegedly put him on strips to his underwear for small gambling tokens.
Dunson did not reply to the accusations. Cuellar excused and noted that in his now-deleted tweet, he did things that he is not proud of. This year’s EVO online tournament is canceled, and Cueller has been removed.
A litany of statements about Jason “ANTi” Bates have also been released since July 2, some of whom consider one of the best Super Smash Bros. actors for the Wii U period. An unidentified user on twitter, who has deleted their account since then, said that a group of athletes, including Bates, slept with her when she was 15. She claimed that, when they had met in 2016, Bates, who was 21 or 22 years old, told her to tell everybody she was about to turn 18 to prevent suspicion from being aroused.
Bates refused these allegations because, according to him, the anonymous victim said that she was eighteen years old and that there was a “beef” with him by the women of the Smash community. He has since deleted the statement, locked up his Twitter account, and vowed to include lawyers. Bates did not answer multiple comments requests. His sponsor, T1 South Korean esports organization, came to an end after several more women had met Bates.
Is Company Doing Enough?
The promoters of Smash tournament are now rethinking their gaming strategy. Smash Tournament Manager “Bear,” Bassem Dahdouh says he wants to offer colorful wristbands to designate player ages like the ones provided at all-age concerts. Bassem “Bear,” says he also plans to separate younger contestants from older competitors at tournaments. According to him, where there is a mix-up of ages without proper parental guidance, inappropriate acts are bound to occur.
Suggestions trooping in from various angles point to the fact that an anonymous hotline could be employed in this fight as complaints could be channeled through it.
With all these innovative moves, we can only wish for the best in the coming months and years. The issue of sexual abuse should be appropriately managed.