Overnight, the ground seems to have fallen out from below the feet of the competitive community around Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as several figureheads and pro players in the game’s community have been credibly accused of sexual assault.
Wednesday morning, 18-year-old professional player Troy “Puppeh” Wells released a detailed statement regarding his statutory rape by match commentator and community figure Cinnamon “Cinnpie” Dunson.
“Throughout the entire summer of 2016 I had a sexual relationship with Cinnpie (Cinnamon as she was known as during that time). She was 24 and I was only 14 during my experiences. I was manipulated, used, and sexualized,” Wells wrote.
Dunson has yet to respond to the allegations, and her social media remains undeleted.
After Wells’ bravery in coming forward with his story, the floodgates opened on other survivors willing to share their up-until-now hushed experiences of abuse from community figureheads.
Pro player Zack “CaptainZack” Lauth released a statement late Wednesday night alleging of a sexual encounter between him and another pro player Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada when Lauth was 15 and Quezada was 20.
“I’m Tired of Living a Life of Lies,” said Lauth.
In his statement, which includes chat logs detailing the graphic events, Lauth also alleges that Quezada bribed Lauth to remain quiet on the matter.
Since this, Quezada has been fired from his esports team, NRG, and has released an apology on his Twitter after briefly deactivating.
Quezada, in his statement, apologized to Lauth for “making you feel like you had to carry a burden all these years. That is not fair to you. I am truly sorry.” Prior to these events, Quezada boasted one of the largest followings on Twitch in the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate community with over 300,000 followers on the streaming platform. “I failed you all,” he wrote. “I am sorry.”
After this, rumors began floating around online of incidents regarding sexual assault among other prominent community figures.
An anonymous Twitter account by the name of @ER120R, which was created just to expose this information, began to leak stories. Some of the allegations were later corroborated by the survivors of such incidents.
Twitter user @shxvah released a statement Thursday morning regarding the unwanted exposure of her story involving commentator Richard “Keitaro” King Jr.
“I have literally never told anyone about what transpired between me and Keitaro. However, someone decided to take it upon themselves to tell my story for me,” she said. “It’s true. Keitaro has already admitted in his Twitlonger that it happened. He knew I was a minor. I really don’t want to get into the specifics because quite frankly I don’t want to relive that night.”
Richard “Keitaro” King Jr. had earlier released a statement in which he confirms that he had given alcohol to @shxvah when she was a minor and had sex with the then-16-year-old.
“With everything happening in the community, I hope for it to become a better/safer place, even if that means I have to withdraw myself from it,” said King. He has since deleted his Twitter account.
Alongside this, prolific match commentator D’Ron “D1” Maingrette was accused by Kaitlyn “KTDominate” Redeker of raping her on the day she turned 18 in 2016.
“I’ve never been brave, and I’ve never spoken out, but I’m hurting. I’ve been hurting for years and here is my courage of coming out,” Redeker began her statement.
Maingrette addressed the allegation in an “Apology to KTDominate.”
“I should have never gotten so drunk that I couldn’t remember these events in the first place,” wrote Maingrette. “I am so sorry to KTDominate for the pain I caused her as a result of this situation. I spent so much time feeling powerless over the situation and having anxiety because of it, but only now do I realize that the pain you must have been suffering the entire time was far greater.”
Thursday afternoon, via an anonymous private message sent to @shxvah, a 19-year-old member of the community alleged that pro player Jason “ANTi” Bates engaged in sexual activity with her when she was 15 and Bates was aware of the fact.
Following these allegations, Bates was fired from his esports team, T1.
Bates released a statement later in the afternoon in which he vehemently stood behind his innocence. “You see it all the time, they talk their shit 24/7 on Twitter and found the perfect opportunity to ruin me, and for now. They succeeded,” wrote Bates. “Well all in all, since I’m being labeled a ‘pedophile’ even though I clearly know Im fucking not. I will be taking a step back from this community.” Despite these claims, Bates did not deny sleeping with the person in question and, in fact, reasserted it: “We slept together and eventually hooked up that night, under the pretense that she was of legal age and since that’s literally what she told me when I asked her on Tinder I didn’t think anything of it.”
He later deleted the statement, writing in a follow-up tweet, “I think it’s wiser to contact a lawyer to address these allegations.”
After this initial wave of survivors coming forward, the dust has settled somewhat, but the work to rectify and grow past this culture of toxicity has barely started. As shown by released statements that imply other top figures in the community knew about these instances of assault yet chose to remain silent, it seems almost all but certain that the coming days will only yield more unpleasant information.
Now, the Super Smash Bros. community has a tremendous amount of self-reflection to do. While this is all undeniably terrible news, it also provides the opportunity to fully remove from the fold people who would commit such heinous acts or stay silent on them and foster a better, safer community for everyone involved. It is now possible, thanks to the bravery of those who have come forward with their experiences of abuse, to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.