Smash Bros. community and top EVO organizer implicated.
Advisory: This article contains allegations around sexual misconduct. Strong, precise language is used. We have made an editorial decision not to name the victims at this time in the piece but we have linked to their Twitlonger statements. We are opting to call “statutory” rape simply “rape”.
In the past 24 hours the fighting game community broadly and the Smash Bros. community specifically have seen numerous sexual abuse allegations surface, many of them involving minors, in what can only be described as the community’s #MeToo moment.
Joey Cuellar, the President of EVO–the iconic fighting game tournament–has been placed on administrative leave by the organization pending an investigation. The investigation will follow claims that he engaged in sexual acts, including paying minors on “dares” to exhibit their penises to him or otherwise strip, while building the fighting game community.
Minors cannot consent to sexual activity with adults.
As the allegations surface EVO has faced swift reprisals. SonicFox, a multi-game champion, have announced they will no longer be participating in EVO events. Capcom, Bandai Namco, and Netherrealm Studios have all pulled their games from the EVO lineup in response to the allegations. EVO has since cancelled this year’s EVO Online.
Simultaneously, allegations against high ranking Smash Bros players and prominent casters emerged.
D1, a player and commentator who Nintendo promoted heavily alongside Super Smash Bros for Wii U, has been accused of raping a woman and competitive player on her 18th birthday. D1 has tried to explain the story away by arguing he was drunk at the time and has “zero recollection”.
Intoxication is not an acceptable excuse for sexual abuse.
ANTI and Keitaro have similarly been accused of grooming female victims and plying them with alcohol.
What is grooming?
Grooming is when someone with sexual interests in minors begins a process of preparing the minor for sexual abuse. The process can happen over the span of years and often includes building a relationship with the child, creating wedges between them and other trusted adults, gaining necessary authority, committing the act(s), and keeping it secret.
Read: What Parents Need to Know About Sexual Grooming on Psychology Today
In a response to the allegations, Keitaro admitted to the actions:
“People were playing a drinking game where if they lose a game in Smash they take a shot. She said she was down to try it out. I asked if she drank before as she was young (she was 16 turning 17 by midnight) and she said yes. So I agreed to try playing against her in Smash. I won 4 games in a row.” […]
“After playing for a bit she was like “omg I have to take 4 shots!” and I mentioned “it’s okay, you don’t have to take them if you don’t want to…” and she picks up all 4 shots and downs them.”
Keitaro claims the alleged victim initiated the whole process including sexual intercourse.
Minors cannot consent to sex with adults.
Meanwhile, Nairo has been accused of raping a (then) 15 year old competitive player while he was 20 years old.
“I was told that by “doing my part” by not telling anyone about our relations, i’d receive financial help from him,” the allegation reads.
“The first $2,000 that I was sent was equal to the amount that I would have received from my sponsorship had I not been dropped. This was after [another] situation came to light, Nairo IMMEDIATELY started calling me because some people were trying to bring our situation to light.”
Nairo has since deleted his Twitter profile.
Noted commentator Cennpie has also allegedly groomed a minor and engaged in sexual acts with the minor. Regarding one of her alleged first advances the accuser notes “I wasn’t really opposed to it though since I was 14 at the time and I liked her a lot.”
Minors cannot consent to sex with adults.
Cinnpie has not addressed the allegations though last year rumours surfaced about a relationship between her and her accuser. She swiftly denied these calling them “disgusting rumors“.
Additional allegations have started emerging surrounding other players as well, ranging from prominent champions to lesser known players, though it appears the floodgates remain open. This is a developing story…
Suffering from mental health concerns including around sexual abuse? A number of options are available to you. In Canada, Kids Help Phone: www.kidshelpphone.ca 1 800 668 6868. In Australia, Kids Helpline: www.kidshelp.com.au 1800 55 1800. In the United States, TeenLine: teenlineonline.org/ 310-855-4673. Take This has prepared a collection of mental health resources.
If you’ve been the victim of sexual abuse, options are available to you. (US) National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673 www.rainn.org/about-national-sexual-assault-telephone-hotline | Rape, Sexual Assault, Abuse, and Incest National Network – offers online chat. (CANADA) Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres casac.ca/anti-violence-centres/ (province-by-province contacts). In an emergency, call 911 or visit your nearest Emergency Department.