In one of the weirder stories to happen in gaming recently, there is "Ellie." A story about an Overwatch pro player that quit the professional team Second Wind following massive amounts of harassment and doxxing. This abrupted in community division since this isn't at all an uncommon issue and many industry professionals and fellow gamers alike had something to say. From there, the stranger reports only got stranger - including the one that ended up being true: It was all a social experiment - "Ellie" wasn't "Ellie" at all.
“As of today, Blizzard had gotten back to us on the background of Ellie, and notified us that they were not who they claimed to be, and discovered that the Ellie account was used for purposes we do not support,” the team Second Wind wrote on a TwitLonger post. “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.”
The team's manager even admitted to not vetting "Ellie's" admission because they "desperately needed to find a substitute." Since "Ellie" mentioned that they wanted to go by a simple name out of an interest of protecting their privacy, the team said that they didn't really find that suspicious - especially given the rising toxicity and doxxing seen in the present community. Wanting to protect one's space isn't necessarily a "weird" thing.
“We genuinely had no idea of what was to come, and at the time we underestimated how important it would be to set an example as the first team to take on a female player for Contenders,” continued their message.
"As a team, we admit we handled this poorly. More could have been done to support our players, but we had found ourselves unprepared for the attention Ellie got upon their onboarding; we had full faith in them. Due to our desperation to fill a roster, we unfortunately overlooked crucial information that should have been paid more attention to. We did not properly allocate enough time to communicate with the public as a means to support our players, and as a result caused more questioning that could have been avoided."
Following this, the team is in talks with Blizzard for future applicant consideration. Due to our desperation to fill a roster, we unfortunately overlooked crucial information that should have been paid more attention to. We did not properly allocate enough time to communicate with the public as a means to support our players, and as a result caused more questioning that could have been avoided.”
As reported by DFTG, a friend of Punisher and fellow streamer Aspen mentioned “Ellie is not Ellie,” she said during a stream. “The whole situation was meant to be, in a way, a social experiment. Ellie is actually Punisher, and he told me yesterday, so there you go.”1comments
Unfortunately, this stunt has done a lot more harm than a simple experiment. The treatment "Ellie" endured may not have been real for that player, but it is real for many others. Doxxing is nothing new, even I received several death threats when I ran the first story, and this falsehood now gives many of those trolls the vindication they are looking for and many in the community fear what that means for the future of the professional (and online) gaming scene.
Thoughts? Join in on the conversation in the comment section below, or hit me up over on Twitter @DirtyEffinHippy!