Accusations against EVO’s Co-Founder Joey ‘MrWizard’ Cuellar alleging sexual misconduct involving minors’ surfaced on Twitter, prompting the organization decision.
Tournament organizers made the announcement on Twitter on July 2.
“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,” the statement read.
— EVO (@EVO) July 3, 2020
The organisation also distanced themselves from Cuellar,
“Effective immediately, Joey Cuellar will no longer be involved with Evo in any capacity.” Read the statement from EVO's official Twitter account. The company announced they are relieving Cuellar of all duties and are “working towards his complete seperation from the company.”
Tony Cannon will perform as acting CEO, “prioritizing greater accountability… both internally and at our events.”
EVO’s tournament organizers also confirmed they'll issue refunds to all badge holders. Promising to donate an equal amount of proceeds to Project HOPE.
EVO's official statement came a few hours after the allegations first came to light. Several game developers and pro players had already taken to social media to announce they would be pulling out of EVO 2020 in light of the allegations. Including Capcom, Netherealm and Bandai Namco, some of the event’s largest sponsors.
— BANDAI NAMCO ESPORTS (@BNEesports) July 3, 2020
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
— Capcom Fighters (@CapcomFighters) July 2, 2020
Former EVO Mortal Kombat champion, Dominique ‘SonicFox’ McLean, also announced he would no longer be participating in the tournament. Speaking to ESPNN, McLean said he could not participate in the event “in good conscience” after the allegations had surfaced.
Also I won’t be participating any longer in Evo online.
— SonicFox 1312 (@SonicFox) July 2, 2020
An industry wide issue
The accusations against Cuellar come amid a slew of accusations of sexual and physical abuse that has rocked the wider world of esports and streaming in recent weeks.
The #MeToo renaissance in the gaming world began last week, since then over 100 accounts of sexual abuse, and misconduct have been shared across social media. With accusations levelled at talent across the industry from Ubisoft to Evil Geniuses.
The reaction among the wider gaming community has been chaotic. Many individuals who came forward were subject to online harassment and abuse from fans of the accused. However there has also been an outpouring of support for victims on social media. As well as recognition from within the industry; with TO's, orgs and developers all acknowledging the need for change.
Feature Image: @EVO