Overwatch Contenders’ ‘Ellie’ controversy sets back women in esports

A female pro player named Ellie in Overwatch Contenders turned out to be an impostor, an alleged social experiment that did more harm than good to women in esports.

It all started when Second Wind, an esports team participating in Overwatch Contenders, contacted Ellie, the fourth-ranked player on North American servers, to join their team. Overwatch Contenders is a series of tournaments held around the world that gives aspiring pros their best shot at being scouted to join Overwatch League teams.

Ellie, however, was forced to quit from Second Wind after being harassed, as she was accused of being fake due to her anonymity. It turned out that she really was fake, as the player behind the username was Punisher, a male North American pro player.

In a statement, Second Wind said that it desperately needed to fill out its roster for Overwatch Contenders after losing players for various reasons. However, it admitted that it overlooked crucial information that resulted in the controversy, with Blizzard eventually informing Second Wind that Ellie was a fake account.

“We apologize to the community as a whole for not handling this situation better when we should have, and we will aim to do better,” Second Wind said.

“After investigating the matter, we found that ‘Ellie’ was a fabricated identity and is a smurf account — created by a veteran player to obfuscate their identity,” said an Overwatch representative.

On Twitch, streamer Becca Rukavina, better known as Aspen, confirmed that Ellie was Punisher, and that the whole thing was an ill-advised social experiment that went “out of hand.”

The social experiment apparently intended to make a point to support women in esports, but it ended up damaging the cause. Liz Richardson, Managing Editor of Overwatchscore, sums up the effect of the Ellie controversy perfectly in her tweet.

Punisher has not yet issued a statement regarding this social experiment. It remains unclear what he was trying to prove by masquerading as a female pro player and signing up with an Overwatch Contenders team.

Overwatch esports was heading in the right direction with the addition of Kim Se-Yeon, the Overwatch League’s first female player, to the Shanghai Dragons. The controversy has set back progress, but here’s hoping that the community will be able to rally together because of it.

Gaming

Here’s everything we know about the zombie-infested, survival horror Days Gone

Days Gone, the first PS4 title from Sony's Bend Studio, looks to offer a different type of zombie game. Here's everything we know about the forthcoming title, from the setting to its gameplay.
Movies & TV

The best movies you’ll find on Hulu right now (February 2019)

From dramas to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Movies & TV

J.J. Abrams wraps production on Star Wars: Episode IX with a heartfelt message

Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams has wrapped production on Star Wars: Episode IX, which he directed and co-wrote. Here's everything we know about the movie before it premieres in December 2019.
Gaming

Feel the love this Valentine’s Day with these 12 romantic video games

In celebration of Valentine's Day, we take a look at games that offer heartfelt romances. From the Mass Effect series to Stardew Valley, each of these romantic video games offers a layered depiction of love and relationships.
Gaming

Here’s how to set up a virtual private network (VPN) on your Xbox One

Online privacy is more important now than it's ever been, and gaming is happening online more than ever before. Here's a quick guide on how to set up a VPN for your Xbox One so you game in safe anonymity.
Gaming

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially popular League of Legends.
Gaming

Scalebound could be revived for Switch following Xbox One cancellation

Microsoft canceled the Xbox One and PC exclusive Scalebound more than two years ago, but a new report claims Scalebound could have found a new home as an exclusive on Nintendo Switch.
Gaming

Among hundreds of choices, these are the best 25 SNES games of all time

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System might be the greatest game console ever made, but what are the best titles for the system? Here are our picks for the best SNES games.
Gaming

Clear up some space on your Xbox One hard drive for the latest games

Removing and reinstalling games on the Xbox One's hard drive isn't difficult, but it's a process that not everyone is familiar with. Thankfully, our guide will run you through each step.
Gaming

From the beta to dark zones, here's everything we know about The Division 2

The Division 2, the sequel to Ubisoft's most successful new franchise, arrives on PS4, Xbox One, and PC on March 15. The Division 2 has a new setting, interesting new systems, and much more. Here's everything we know about The Division 2.
Gaming

Path of Exile’s Synthesis expansion arrives in March, brings new way to progress

Grinding Gear Games announced Synthesis, the newest expansion to online action-RPG Path of Exile. The expansion adds a new map meta-game, new items, and balance changes that improve the lives of wizards.
Gaming

Want to share your Xbox One games with a friend? Here's how to do it

Sharing games on modern consoles is possible, but it takes a few steps. Here's how to start sharing games on your Xbox One console, so friends and family can easily access your library.
Product Review

Anthem shows a glimmer of brilliance that's quickly dampened by its grind

Anthem is an online shooter from BioWare that’s already proven to have a stunning open-world with action-packed combat that distinguishes itself with its story, characters, and lore. But will it continue to invest in those things as we…
Computing

Here's what you need to play games and watch movies in 4K on your PC

4K display tech is now cheaper than ever, but there's more to running stuff at such a high display resolution than just handing over the dough for a 4K-equipped display. Here's what you need to run 4K.