[Correction: A previous version of this article misrepresented a tweet from Bahn's significant other as a confirmation of the allegations. It was not, and we apologize for the error.]
Evo 2019 may be over, but in the weeks since, the fighting game community has been dealing with the fallout of accusations in the wake of it. Over the past week or so, several notable members of the competitive fighting game community (or FGC) have been accused of sexual assault and unwanted advances.
This culminated last night in the banning of high-profile Street Fighter player Leah "Gllty" Hayes by the Capcom Pro Tour, following "multiple violations of [Capcom's] player code of conduct," including in appropriate and public harassment.
Capcom response to allegations against Leah "Gllty" Hayes pic.twitter.com/ba7QsZFmZV- Capcom Fighters (@CapcomFighters) August 15, 2019
But while Hayes is the most visible recourse taken, several other members of the FGC have had accusations brought against them, leading to confessions, more bans, and some rebuttals. It's enough that other major figures like Mortal Kombat 11 Evo champion Dominique "SonicFox" McLean have been expressing their disappointment with members of the community, but the wave stems back all the way to this year's Evolution Championship Series.
It goes back to Evo
The first major accusations brought forward were from several women who attended the officially sanctioned Evo afterparty and say they were sexually assaulted by attendees. While the event was intended to be Evo-centric, it had no cover charge and was open to anyone over the age of 21. This influx led to accounts from people like Zorine Te and Ana "SMGxPRINCESS" Black of sexual assault from attendees, as well as tournament organizer Tong Lee taking a drink intended for a woman that turned out to be apparently drugged.
While it raised questions of event security and general player conduct, it was among several stumbles at Evo, including a tweet lauding Lee "Infiltration" Seon-woo's "triumphant return" with a win in the Samurai Shodown finals. Lee had, a year prior, been dropped by his team and left Street Fighter competition amid accusations of domestic abuse.
Soon after the conclusion of Evo 2019, more accusations began to arise within the fighting game community. Though it's unclear what spurred them on, several people began to come forward about incidents in the past. Event photographer Chris Bahn has been barred from events like Combo Breaker following allegations.
Smash Bros. player Davon "Promaelia" Crawley confessed to two separate incidents of "uninvited sexual contact" while intoxicated in a since-deleted tweet, though IGN has preserved portions of it. Both Crawley and Bahn have stated they are seeking recovery.
"There was never any retribution, but sexual assault doesn't just vanish from people's minds," Crawley wrote in his post. "Especially from the minds of the people who see me every week, who knew that every month something new popped up on the timeline while I remained unaffected - it could only go unaddressed for so long."
It seems like the dust is starting to finally settle, but this great upheaval highlights the fighting game community's ongoing efforts to deal with some of its deep-rooted issues. Hopefully this cleaning up leads to a stronger, safer community during the world's biggest fighting game competitions, and a more inviting atmosphere for incoming folks. The fighting game community is ostensibly about letting anyone have a place to put up a quarter, so the more these incidents get brought to light and properly handled, the safer people will feel approaching the sticks.