Evo 2020 Cancelled Following Allegations Against CEO
Each year, many of the most formidable fighting game players have gathered for the Evo Championship Series, with the event often attracting competitors as well as viewers from all around the world. Due to this year’s extended COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 proceedings were set to be reconfigured for an online format, ensuring the contest would officially go live starting July 4th (today, as of writing). However, revelations within the esports community have effectively called these plans into question over the last few days, now culminating in the cancellation of Evo 2020 altogether.
Evo’s cancellation was announced recently over social media, the decision coming after allegations of sexual misconduct were levied against the event’s co-founder and CEO Joey Cuellar. As per an official statement, Cuellar has been removed from his position “effective immediately” and “will no longer be involved with Evo in any capacity.” In the wake of this departure, Evo co-founder Tony Cannon has stepped up as interim CEO, hoping to establish “a leadership role in prioritizing greater accountability across Evo, both internally and at [the company’s] events.”
— EVO (@EVO) July 3, 2020
“Progress doesn’t happen overnight, or without the bravery of those who speak up against misconduct and injustice,” the statement continued. “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.”
Evo 2020 going dark happens after several publishers and studios pulled their games from the online tournament, with the likes of Capcom’s Street Fighter 5, NetherRealm’s Mortal Kombat 11, and several Bandai Namco fighting titles no longer appearing due to these allegations. Joey Cuellar’s ousting has been part of a greater outpouring of claims made from across the fighting game community as of late, with several high-profile Super Smash Bros. esports personas accused of abuse on social media. Nintendo publicly condemned these players’ actions as “absolutely impermissible” in a statement with IGN.
“At Nintendo, we are deeply disturbed by the allegations raised against certain members of the competitive gaming community,” the company said in a statement. “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.”
What do you think? Are you upset that Evo 2020 has been cancelled, or do you feel it was very appropriate given these shocking and upsetting circumstances? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow Don’t Feed the Gamers on Twitter and Facebook to be informed of the latest gaming and entertainment news 24 hours a day! For more headlines recently featured on DFTG, check out these next few news stories:
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Phone-browsing Wikipedia in one hand and clutching his trusty controller in the other, the legendary Eric Hall spreads his wealth of knowledge as a writer for Don't Feed the Gamers. Be sure to catch his "Throwback Thursday" segment for a nostalgic look at trivia from the past.