Evo Suspends CEO Following Sexual Misconduct Allegations

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The co-founder and CEO of massive fighting game competition the Evolution Championship Series has been placed on administrative leave following allegations of past sexual misconduct, the organisation said on Wednesday evening.

The announcement came a few hours after veteran competitor Mikey “Crackpr0n” Pham accused the CEO, Joey “Mr. Wizard” Cuellar, of repeatedly preying on teenage boys at Southern Hills Golfland, which prior to its closure in 2002 was a miniature golf course whose arcade was a popular meeting place for fighting game competition in Southern California.

Pham described multiple instances, taking place in the early 2000s, of Cuellar using gifts of arcade tokens to bribe teenage boys into stripping down to their underwear and jumping into the miniature golf course’s water hazards. He also described a personal incident involving Cuellar in 2001. During a discussion amongst the arcade-goers about penis sizes, Pham volunteered that he was “above average.” Cuellar, he said, bet him $US20 ($29) that he was not, and asked to see Pham’s genitals in person. Pham did so in the arcade’s restroom, and Cuellar gave him $US20 ($29), he said. Pham was 17 at the time, and Cuellar would have been either 23 or 24.

It wasn’t until years later that Pham realised that he had been taken advantage of. “I recognise how stupid I was in the situation for not realising it, even though I also recognise how it’s not my fault for not being able to recognise it,” Pham wrote.

Cuellar has occupied a position of power within the fighting game community for decades. He co-founded what would become the Evolution Championship Series series in 1996 and continues to work as one of its key organisers. Evo, widely regarded as the pinnacle of fighting game competition, consistently broke attendance records year on year. 2020’s competition was cancelled in favour of a smaller, online tournament due to the covid-19 pandemic.

In light of these allegations, several high-profile members of the fighting game community have announced that they will no longer be participating in Evo Online, including Dominique “SonicFox” McLean, Jachin “SKD” Harte, Dawn “Yohosie” Hosie, Steve “Lord Knight” Barthelemy, and Stephen “Sajam” Lyon.

Evo has said that it will conduct a “third-party investigation” of the situation, but did not provide details. Kotaku has requested comment from Evo and Cuellar, but has not heard back.

Comments

  • Capcom just pulled out of Evo. NRS also just pulled MK11 from Evo. Seems like Evo is done for this year. It will be interesting to see if anything on Evo Japan happens.

    The FGC is pretty torn at the moment. Which is completely understandable given the circumstances and everyone coming forward. Hopefully, everyone can learn and grow from this to make the FGC what it could and really should be. An inclusive and open community that comes together for the appreciation, enjoyment and competition of fighting games.

      • That it’s interesting that certain incidents that are quite huge and arent being reported on.

        Hassan Bokhari – Accusations came out same time as the others, no mention in any articles. Is the Director of account partnerships at twitch

        Cinnpie – Accusations came out the same time as other EVO accusations, She is quite literally a pedophile who groomed a young boy. No mention in any articles.

        It would be like the media not reporting on Epstein at all and instead reporting on some random sexual assault.

        • If only there was something you could do instead of repeatedly sounding like a conspiracy loon with a very particular axe to grind!

          Maybe someone could develop a means for you to electronically communicate directly with the author, instead of huffing about in the comments section.

          It’s a mystery 🙁

        • maybe because there is a little thing of common sense and understanding that here in the real world (unlike your head) there is a very good reason why you cant just go around stating someone IS a pedophile. She is ACCUSED.

          Also given that story involves minors it makes reporting on it a minefield for reporting, for obvious reasons. I really have no idea.

          Here is an idea, park your internet outrage for internet equality in possible allegations and leave the assigning of guilt, especially for one of the worse possible crimes in the world, to the law.

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