EVO Online Has Been Canceled
Following abuse allegations against EVO president, Joey Cuellar and multiple companies removing their support for the tournament, EVO Online has been cancelled.
In lieu of abuse allegations leveled against Joey “Mr. Wizard” Cuellar, co-founder and former president of EVO, as well as multiple companies including Capcom and Bandai Namco ending support for the tournament, EVO has fired Cuellar and canceled EVO Online.
Throughout the last two days, the fighting game community has exploded with allegations of sexual harassment, grooming, and other forms of abuse, especially in the Super Smash Bros. scene, with members of the FGC on every level of involvement and prominence coming forward with their stories. This follows a tumultuous week in the games industry at large, with other abuse survivors addressing their experiences and companies scrambling to take action accordingly.
Wednesday night, a Twitter user by the name Mikey (@PyronIkari) outed Cuellar as an abuser, detailing his misconduct in a TwitLonger. You can click here to read the TwitLonger, but we’re attaching a content warning, as this account contains sexual abuse, homophobia, transphobia, and racism.
Following the allegations, EVO released a statement on its official Twitter account this morning.
The statement reads: “We are aware of the accusations that have been made against Joey Cuellar. The behavior in these accusations runs directly counter to Evo’s mission of building a safe, welcoming environment for all of our players and attendees. We take this responsibility seriously. Accordingly Joey has been placed on administrative leave pending a third party investigation.”
A message to all players, attendees, and fans pic.twitter.com/TJfNxVPiXC
— EVO (@EVO) July 2, 2020
Later today, the official Capcom, NetherRealm Studios, and Bandai Namco Twitter accounts each released statements almost simultaneously, stating that they would no longer participate in or involve themselves with EVO Online, the world’s biggest fighting game tournament’s solution to the need for social distancing. Released within a minute of each other, the twin statements indicate the circumstances of the severance and state in no uncertain terms that it is entirely as a result of accusations against Cuellar. Capcom’s only game that was set to be represented at EVO Online was Street Fighter V, so they released their statement via the official Street Fighter Twitter account.
— Street Fighter (@StreetFighter) July 2, 2020
NetherRealm’s considerably more succinct statement stated that they weren’t just ending their support for the tournament, but that they were pulling their game from the tournament entirely.
We stand in solidarity with those who have spoken out against abuse. We will be pulling MK11 from EVO Online.
— NetherRealm (@NetherRealm) July 2, 2020
Following the statements from both Capcom and NetherRealm, Bandai Namco also announced their departure from the online tournament.
— BANDAI NAMCO ESPORTS (@BNEesports) July 3, 2020
After the previous statements, Them’s Fightin’ Herds developer Mane 6 announced that they would also be ending their support for the tournament and removing their game from the lineup.
— Mane6 Dev Team (@ManeSix) July 3, 2020
Soon after Mane 6 announced their departure from EVO Online, the official EVO account followed up on their comment from this morning, detailing EVO Online’s future. EVO will be issuing refunds to everyone who bought a badge and donating the rest of their proceeds to Project HOPE. Cuellar has since apologized via Twitter claiming that he “Never meant to hurt anyone,” and that he is “truly sorry.”