EVO 2020 Cancelled After Allegations of Sexual Misconduct by Founder
While it may be difficult to imagine in retrospect, the FGC was largely intact a mere 24 hours ago. There was general distaste for a few members of the community whose past actions had recently resurfaced, but these were fairly isolated incidents. Now as the day winds to a close, the FGC finds itself beset on all sides as several high-profile members of the industry have serious allegations levied against them. Not the least of which is co-founder of the Evolution Championship Series Joey “Mr Wizard” Cuellar whose past actions have led to EVO Online 2020 being cancelled and left the EVO brand itself forever scarred in his wake.
Why Was EVO 2020 Canceled?
Earlier today, severe allegations of sexual misconduct involving minors were exacted upon Mr Wizard. Initially, EVO issued a statement indicating that Mr Wizard would be placed on administrative leave pending a third-party investigation. This clearly wasn’t enough, however, as participants in the event steadily withdrew their involvement.
The wave of disavowals slowly trickled in throughout the day as everyone from SonicFox to Sajam and, finally, the game developers whose titles formed the backbone of the event themselves announced they would no longer be partaking in the event as long as Mr Wizard was still connected to EVO.
After public outcry and show of support for those sharing their stories of sexual abuse, the organization has announced that Mr Wizard will be stepping down from his position as CEO. Tony Cannon (another EVO co-founder) will be taking his place. The event itself has been cancelled, and all participants will receive refunds for their entry fees.
Dark Times for the FGC
In many ways, 2020 was slated to be the year for the fighting game community. Early on things seemed better than ever with a properly organized, global Super Smash Bros tournament finally materializing. Fighting games garnered more interest than ever and big plans lay ahead for the FGC’s Super Bowl equivalent EVO 2020. These plans were quickly derailed as COVID-19 put a stop to any in-person events and a lack of quality netcode made many fighting games nigh unplayable in a competitive setting.
Despite all of this, there was still hope as the FGC has always excelled at turning lemons into lemonade. However, a rash of increasingly distressing stories about members of the community has dashed the hopes of many.
It’s times like these that make it worth remembering that learning about the failings of your favorite player, content creator, or community member is not the end of the FGC. Nor does the cancelation of EVO 2020 signal the end of high-production value tournaments. At its core, the fighting game community is born out of pure passion and love for one of the gaming industry’s truly unique genres of self-expression.
Famed content creator and ambassador for fighting games, Maximilian Dood, said it best: “My FGC was never the figureheads of the community in the early 2000’s. It was the friends I always knew would be at the arcade. It was the person I knew only by the characters they played. It was the idea I could go to a place where every1 loved the same things I did.”
In the wake of recent revelations and EVO 2020 being cancelled, the future looks bleak for the FGC. But it’s important to remember that the community is much, much more than the sum of its parts.