The EVO 2020 fighting game championship, which was shifting to an online tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been canceled after sexual abuse allegations against co-founder Joey “Mr. Wizard” Cuellar.
EVO 2020, which was set to feature the likes of Mortal Kombat 11, Street Fighter 5 and Tekken 7 in an online tournament that was supposed to run for five weekends starting July 4, will no longer happen after developers withdrew their support.
Mikey “Crackpr0n” Pham made sexual abuse allegations against Cuellar on TwitLonger, involving mostly young boys in the ’90s, and himself in 2001 when he was 18 years old.
The claims prompted NetherRealm Studios, Capcom, and Bandai Namco to drop their participation in EVO 2020, pulling out the games that would headline the event.
We stand in solidarity with those who have spoken out against abuse. We will be pulling MK11 from EVO Online.
— NetherRealm (@NetherRealm) July 2, 2020
— Capcom Fighters (@CapcomFighters) July 2, 2020
— BANDAI NAMCO ESPORTS (@BNEesports) July 3, 2020
As more participants also revealed that they will no longer join EVO 2020, Cuellar published a statement that acknowledges Pham’s accusations.
I'm sorry. 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.
— Joey Cuellar (@MrWiz) July 3, 2020
EVO 2020’s organizers then released a statement that the online tournament is canceled, and that it is cutting ties with Cuellar while placing fellow co-founder Tony Cannon in an acting CEO role.
— EVO (@EVO) July 3, 2020
Refunds will be issued to people who already paid for EVO 2020, with the organization promising to still make a donation to Project Hope.
The cancellation of EVO 2020 is the latest consequence in the series of sexual harassment and abuse allegations that have rocked the gaming industry. Ubisoft, which brought in external consultants to investigate the accusations against several employees, will revise its editorial department, among other changes, according to an open letter by CEO Yves Guillemot. Twitch, meanwhile, has started suspending streamers amid such allegations, though it remains unclear if this is why Dr. Disrespect was banned from the streaming platform.
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