Skullgirls Boss Mike Z Faces Backlash After Controversial DMs
Mike “Mike Z” Zaimont has been a most beloved member of the FGC for years, especially after his debut of Skullgirls and being a huge advocate for improved net code. He has even helped some developers improve their net code over the years. However, he’s now found himself at the center of controversy after a member of the Skullgirls community came forward with awkward Twitter DMs that have not painted Mike Z in the best light.
This happened in the wake of another incident, during one of the most turbulent weeks of protest regarding black rights in the United States, in which he parrotted “I can’t breathe,” which is what Eric Garner said as he was tragically choked to death by a police officer last month.
What Happened With Mike Z?
Mike Z engaged in an unadvisable conversation with a female cosplayer about the inclusion of BDSM in Skullgirls. From there, the conversation quickly spiraled out of control. You can view the full conversation here.
Mike Z quickly began asking personal questions to the Cosplayer, BunnyAyu, asking about the recent string of sexism in the FGC, and then spiraled further bringing up genitalia and trying to “acknowledge the brain inside the lady.”
Many members of the Skullgirl community and the wider FGC came out against Mike Z, not only for this recent allegation but also for the previous controversy surrounding his comments on stream involving the BLM movement, including SonicFox.
A Cautionary Tale of Social Media Use
Social media, for better or worse, has become a normal, everyday part of life. When you become famous on social media or have a following because you’ve accomplished something, everything you say to anyone becomes an issue of public opinion and scrutiny. While Mike Z and others may have construed their actions as “friendly,” and even might have walked away from the interaction thinking they had the best of intentions, being that forthcoming puts them at serious risk.
It’s far better to keep the flirting and other such conversations to more private forms of social media, like dating apps, where these sorts of advances are expected and (in some cases) welcome. Public figures, especially in esports, need to learn to keep their fans and other contacts at arm’s length, and remember that while not everyone is out to get them, they don’t necessarily know what some random person’s agenda is.
Likewise, fans need to try and keep in mind that while these players and developers might be available for conversation and feedback, that they are humans too, and a show of interest could send the wrong message, especially in text when most people have a hard time construing tone, sarcasm, and other social cues.