EVO Online, the socially distanced alternative to the annual fighting game tournament that was planned to begin this weekend, has officially been cancelled following allegations of sexual misconduct against co-founder Joey Cuellar.
Allegations first arose when Mikey “Crackpr0n” Pham made a lengthy Twitlonger post detailing alleged interactions between Cuellar, himself, and other teenage boys in the 90s and early 00s. EVO posted a statement on its social channels indicating it was aware of the allegations and had put Cuellar on administrative leave while a third party investigation was being conducted:
“We are aware of the accusations that have been made against Joey Cuellar. The behavior in these accusations runs directly counter to Evo’s mission of building a safe, welcoming environment for all of our players and attendees. We take this responsibility seriously. Accordingly Joey has been placed on administrative leave pending a third party investigation.”
Following this, NetherRealm Studios, Capcom, and Bandai Namco all announced their decisions to remove themselves and their games from EVO Online.
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
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Shortly thereafter, EVO released another statement cancelling the event this year and announcing Cuellar would no longer be part of any future EVO events, and that steps were being taken to untangle him from the company entirely. Tony Cannon is now the acting CEO and the statement says he will be prioritizing accountability both within the administration and at the events themselves. Along with cancelling the event and issuing refunds to players who paid for an event badge, EVO is donating an equivalent amount to the proceeds to Project HOPE, a healthcare organization dedicated to providing medical care to areas in need.
Read EVO’s full statement below:
“Over the past 24 hours, in response to serious allegations recently made public on Twitter, we have mad the first of a series of important decisions regarding the future of our company. Effective immediately, Joey Cuellar will no longer be involved with Evo in any capacity. We are currently working toward his complete separation from the company and have relieved him of all his responsibilities.
Going forward, Tony Cannon will act as CEO; in his position, he will take a leadership role in prioritizing greater accountability across Evo, both internally and at our events.
Progress doesn’t happen overnight, or without the bravery of those who speak up against misconduct and injustice. We are shocked and saddened by these events, but we are listening and committed to making every change that will be necessary in making Evo a better model for the stronger, safer culture we all seek. As a result, we will be canceling Evo Online and will work to issue refunds for all players who chose to purchase a badge. We will donate the equivalent of the proceeds as promised to Project HOPE.”
In response to these events, Cuellar also responded on Twitter with an apology:
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
As the responses illustrate, people aren’t having it.