Following allegations against Evo organizer Joey Cueller amid a much larger alleged sexual abuse scandal that has recently come to light in the gaming community, sponsors, participants, and more began pulling out of Evo Online. This quickly led to Evo releasing Cueller effective immediately and that he would no longer be involved with the esports organization “in any capacity.” During the same announcement, however, it was also revealed that Evo Online has officially been cancelled.
The Evo 2020 in-person show was cancelled earlier this year and moved to an online format due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, a handful of Super Smash Bros. esports players and members came forward recently with allegations of abuse from other well-known people within the community, Evo president Joey Cueller being among the alleged abusers. It has also been reported that some of the victims were underage at the time of the alleged abuse. Cueller allegedly paid tokens to underage members of an arcade to jump into a pool in nothing but their underwear.
This led to Evo releasing an announcement that they had placed Cueller “on administrative leave pending a third-party investigation.” Later that same day, they announced Cueller had been released from the company and Tony Cannon would be acting CEO moving forward. “Progress doesn't happen overnight, or without the bravery of those who speak up against misconduct and injustice,” Evo said in an official statement. “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.”
In a statement to IGN, Nintendo commented on the allegations against those in the community and provided solidarity with the victims. “At Nintendo, we are deeply disturbed by the allegations raised against certain members of the competitive gaming community,” they said. “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."
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What are your thoughts on this? Do you believe the company made the right choice to cancel Evo Online? Let us know what you think over on Twitter @PrimaGames.