EVO Online, the online replacement for EVO 2020, has been cancelled. This is due, in part, to the recent events within the video game community — individuals coming forward, sharing their stories that contain allegations of sexual abuse committed by notable members of the esports community. One person that was named is the now-former CEO of EVO, Joey “MrWizard” Cuellar.
Initially, the official EVO Twitter account posted the following statement in response to the multiple allegations that were shared last week:
“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.
Please direct all event inquiries to email@example.com”
The next day, a followup statement was issued by EVO that included the cancellation of EVO Online. Posted as an image, we’ve transcribed the statement:
“Over the past 24 hours, in response to serious allegations recently made public on Twitter, we have made the first of a series of important decisions regarding the future of our company. Effective immediately, Joey Cuellar will no longer be involved with Evo in any capacity. We are currently working towards his complete separation from the company and have relieved him of all his responsibilities.”
Going forward, Tony Cannon will act as CEO; in this position, he will take a leadership role in prioritizing greater accountability across Evo, both internally and at our events.
Progress doesn’t happen overnight, or without the bravery of those who speak up against misconduct and injustice. We are shocked and saddened by these events, but we are listening and committed to making every change that will be necessary in making Evo a better model for the stronger, safer culture we all seek. As a result, we will be canceling Evo Online and will work to issue refunds for all players who chose to purchase a badge. We will donate the equivalent of the proceeds as promised to Project HOPE.”
Prior to the above announcement, multiple video game companies/esports organizations (NetherRealm, Capcom, Bandai Namco, and Mane6) issued statements where they announced their withdrawal from EVO Online. IGN also reached out to Nintendo about EVO Online as well as the allegations concerning well-known Super Smash Bros. competitors and received the following:
“At Nintendo, we are deeply disturbed by the allegations raised against certain members of the competitive gaming community. They are absolutely impermissible. We want to make it clear that we condemn all acts of violence, harassment, and exploitation against anyone and that we stand with the victims.”
Given the sensitive topics covered, if you need to report abuse and/or want to learn how to stop the cycle of abuse, please visit RAINN.org.
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