Evo 2020 canceled after co-founder abuse allegations

Event co-founder Joey Cuellar acknowledged the claim on Twitter.

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LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 05:  Players get ready to compete in the Guilty Gear Xrd: Rev 2 finals during EVO 2018 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on August 5, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)
Joe Buglewicz via Getty Images

Fighting game tournament Evo 2020 has been canceled after co-founder Joey “Mr. Wizard” Cuellar was accused of assaulting a minor. The esports tournament, which announced in May that it was going online-only in the wake of COVID-19, will now not go ahead. In a tweet, Evo said that it was parting company with Cuellar, who “will no longer be involved with Evo in any capacity.” Co-founder Tony Cannon will now lead the company, “prioritizing greater accountability across Evo, both internally and at [its] events.” 

Ars Technica reports that Cuellar was accused of assault by Mikey “Crackpr0n” Pham while the latter was a teenager. After his story was posted on Twitter, a number of high-profile players and commentators said they would not take part in this year’s tournament. Cuellar subsequently appeared to acknowledge the accusations in a tweet, saying that he has done things he is “not proud of,” and expressed remorse. Shortly after publication, Evo cancelled the event and dismissed Cuellar from his role. 

A number of video game publishers, who partner with Evo to run the tournaments, sought to distance themselves from the event. In a statement, Capcom said that it would not participate, “in light of the recent accusations of misconduct.” NetherRealm, publisher of Mortal Kombat 11, said that it was withdrawing “in solidarity with those who have spoken out against abuse.” Evo has said that refunds will be issued to all players who had already paid to participate, and that an equivalent donation will be made to Project Hope, an organization training healthcare professionals around the world. 

This is the latest in a series of reckonings in the gaming industry rocked by allegations of sexual abuse. Yesterday, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot pledged reform after a number of people came forward to talk about their experiences of harassment and abuse. Similarly, the Twitch community has been confronting a number of high-profile streamers accused of harassment.

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