A number of major video game companies have announced plans to pull out of EVO Online following allegations of sexual misconduct against EVO CEO and co-founder Joey Cuellar. In separate statements released on Twitter, Capcom, NetherRealm Studios, Bandai Namco, and Mane6 have all released public statements regarding the upcoming digital tournament. At this time, it remains to be seen whether or not the event will proceed at all, but these cancellations make it extremely unlikely that the fighting game tournament will be held this year. Readers can view all four statements from the companies in the Tweets below.
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
EVO is considered one of the biggest fighting game tournaments in the video game industry, attracting some of the biggest names in esports. If the event does somehow proceed, however, it will be missing many of those competitors. In addition to the announcements made by Capcom, NetherRealm, Bandai Namco, and Mane6, several prominent members of the fighting game community have also announced their plans to avoid the tournament. Those competitors include Dominique “SonicFox” McLean, Dawn “Yohosie” Hosie, Stephen “Sajam” Lyon, and more.
EVO 2020 had already faced a number of struggles this year prior to the allegations against Cuellar, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. In early March, Cuellar stated that the event would proceed as planned, but the fighting game competition was officially changed to a digital event shortly after. As a result, a streamlined version of EVO was planned, with far fewer games.
As of this writing, Cuellar remains on administrative leave from EVO. EVO Online was scheduled to kick-off on July 4th with the game Them's Fightin' Herds, but that will not be the case following Mane6's statement. With less than two days until the event was scheduled to begin, it seems that an official cancellation for the event is all but assured.
To learn more about what you can do to prevent sexual violence, please consider donating to RAINN or visit RAINN's website for a number of resources. If you or a loved one has suffered because of sexual violence, contact RAINN's National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline.