Evo Online 2020, the tournament dedicated to fighting games from Dragon Ball FighterZ to Tekken, has been cancelled after its co-founder, now ex-president, Joey ‘MrWizard’ Cuellar, has been accused of sexual misconduct.
In the wake of the allegations, Evo has made a number of changes to the company, removing Cuellar from his position. In a statement published on Twitter, Evo explains its decision: “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 great 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 cancelling 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 (@EVO) July 3, 2020
Before this announcement was made, several companies and organizations made the decision to pull out of Evo themselves. This includes Capcom which notes, “Out of respect to those who have been affected and to the current investigation, we felt [pulling out] was the appropriate course of action.”
— Capcom Fighters (@CapcomFighters) July 2, 2020
Bandai Namco also made a statement saying that it has “decided to end our participation in Evo 2020 in response to recent abuse allegations.” It also stated it stands “in solidarity with the individuals who have spoken out against abuse within the fighting game community.”
— BANDAI NAMCO ESPORTS (@BNEesports) July 3, 2020
Perhaps the best-known fighting game specialist at the moment is Dominique ‘SonicFox’ McLean who also dropped out before Evo’s announcement. The 2018 winner of the Game Award’s Esports Player of the Year has been very vocal about the situation, especially condemning those who display predatory behaviour, saying “It doesn’t matter how good you are at your game, work, art, crafts, etc. A predator is a predator” on Twitter.
Also I won’t be participating any longer in Evo online.
— SonicFox 1312 (@SonicFox) July 2, 2020
Following the cancellation of the tournament, Cuellar issued an apology on Twitter. “I’m sorry,” his statement reads. “I never meant to hurt anyone. I was young and reckless and did things I’m not proud of. I have been growing and maturing over the past 20 years, but that doesn’t excuse anything. All I have been trying to do is become a better person. Once again, I’m truly sorry.”