In an uncharacteristic move for the Japanese company, Nintendo has issued a formal statement addressing allegations of sexual abuse and assault within the Super Smash Bros. community.
Nintendo described the instances as “absolutely impermissible” and stated that they “condemn all acts of violence, harassment, and exploitation against anyone and that we stand with the victims”.
This statement came after a recent flood of allegations from players who spoke out about their experiences of grooming, paedophilia, sexual assault and even rape. The sudden outcry came after an announcement from player Troy “Puppeh” Wells in early July, in which he accused Cinnamon “Cinnpie” Dunson of sexual assault which began when he was 14 and she was 24, and led to dozens of other players coming forward with similar stories.
Many of the allegations stem from the fighting game series’ tournaments, which are generally not organised by Nintendo itself. At these tournaments, competitors sometimes shared houses, including those with large age differences. Many of these alleged offenders are known as high-ranking players within the community, but also include commentators and tournament organisers.
While many of those accused have issued reactive statements, some have consequently had their sponsorships terminated. Only yesterday (30 July), former world no. 1 Smash 4 player Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios was banned from Twitch. This came shortly after the player, famed for his record-breaking streak of 56 tournament wins, was removed from both Facebook Gaming and Tempo Storm after admitting to sending sexually explicit messages to minors.
Nintendo’s response comes as a surprise because the company has generally distanced itself from the Smash community’s unofficial grassroots tournaments.
The misconduct allegations are, however, not limited to the Smash community, or indeed to Nintendo, suggesting that a seismic shift is needed in both the gaming industry and community to prevent this sexist and sexual abuse.
Words by Grace Dean
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