Later last year, two-part professional Overwatch team announced Second Wind that they had signed a female player. The woman, who passed the "Ellie" mark but kept much of her identity privately, was lined up to be one of the few to play in Overwatch Contenders.
Although many were thrilled to see some variation in the male-dominated scene, Ellie was immediately subjected to harassment, including doxxing threats. Before she played her first game this week, she chose to go down.
So Second Wind announced that Ellie was "not as they claimed to be" and the whole hell broke loose.
Andre Winds's statement does not address details of Ellie's identity, but others' claims point to two main suspects, probably working together: ex-Winds player Colin "Coluge" Arai (who was lost for bad behavior and increase), and one top unsigned player known in the game as Punisher.
A streamer walking by Aspen also said the Punisher had confessed her, and esports consultant Rod" Slasher "Breslau wrote further screens where Punisher apparently discusses his" egirl smurf [account] for ellie. " According to Breslau, the 17-year-old girl who voted Ellie, teammates also admitted that she hadn't been the one who was playing, just talking.
"The whole situation was supposed to be in a way like a social experiment," Aspen said. For his part, Arai claimed, "I just wanted people to stop thinking Coluge was poisonous, or Coluge was washed up."
Finally, although who Ellie was and what their motivation was, is secondary to the detrimental effect they have I have had on women in the esports industry.
Those who immediately disliked Ellie, often argued that it had nothing to do with gender, and yet these same accusations seem to come up for top female players, regardless of their veracity. Overwatch League's only female player, Kim "Geguri" Seyeon, was forced to prove she was not cheating after receiving harassment for her performance, including another prospective threatening: "I can visit Geguri's house with a knife in hand. I'm not shocking. "
And in 2015, a Hearthstone player was known as Lee's" MagicAmy "Hyerim center for an amazingly similar story to this one. As reported by Kotaku at the time, pros and fans believed Lee was just a front for some – a man, of course – who really played the games. Lee was cleared of suspicion by his team, Tempo Storm, who wrote: "We believe MagicAmy is a person and that Hyerim Lee is actually who she claims to be. This is based on several eyewitnesses and first-hand testimonies claiming that they interacted with her individually … The personal information she has provided us, combined with her recruitment record with Lunarch Studios, relationship with players, and the fact that she has met people face to face, is enough to confirm her identity. " It is not difficult to see how the current situation will be used even more ammunition to doubt women trying to move forward in the future.
If "Ellie" really was a social experiment, it was a bad one. If it is designed to show what women are experiencing, it actually has the same effect of listening to women without putting us back. And if it's designed to show that women are easily brought up by teams, you might want to look at the reaction to see which systemic barriers actually exist.
For example, after Ellie was signed, it reignited a discussion among top female Overwatch players, who shared experiences of male peers ending or throwing their games simply because of women's presence. It is by no means a new conversation, but it caused some male professionals, like Houston Outlaw's general manager, Matt "Flame" Rodriguez, to pick up these issues for the first time. He wrote : "I understand that the female player base may have substantially higher [skill rating] if they did not have to deal with morons throwing their games for existing ones."
The Outlaws, was one of the teams that once used another barrier to entry, single-gender team houses, to explain why they couldn't retrieve Geguri. This is an excuse that has also been used to carry other women, like Molly "Avalla" Kim.
Second Wind himself has had players tweet sexist statements, like team captain Robert "HaKu" Blohm, who said "women should not be in My [top ranked] games." He later apologized and stated that it only was said "out of rage."
Second Winds official statement also suggests much of poor governance about this situation. In addition to asking many questions unanswered on how this type of deception can occur in an official league, they write "we underestimated how important it would be to set an example as the first team to take on a female player for Contenders." Although they were wrong – there have been several female players in Contenders already – combined with a previous statement calling the reaction to her "unforeseen", showing a serious lack of foresight despite the predictability of her harassment.
Furthermore, team-owner Justin Hughes originally placed the same guilt in that Ellie retired on women who were thrilled to see representation, tweeting: "When we took her into the team, people we had brought on a symbol of empowerment acted. I understand that people meant it well, but on the one hand we had people asking questions about their legitimacy, publishing threats, etc. while we had people acting as they had found their Messiah. "
Navigating an Understanding For women and other marginalized players can be complicated – I have written about it for a long time – but it is unfortunate to say that it creates the same pressure as doxxing threats. And now, of course, there is the question of who actually liked these two things, because Ellie was not a woman under pressure for her sex. Was it Hughes, Arai, Punisher or another man who chose to blame women alike?
Nor is it the other part of the pro-society whose reactions have been disappointing. Many made light of the situation or fell back on old arguments that the esports were a meritocracy. "There are no gender restrictions in esports, if any are good, they are picked up," tweeted (currently unsigned) World Cup player Jørgen "Decod" Myrlund, obviously lacking literally everything this situation has shown about gender restrictions in esports.
But Team UK and Paris Forever plays Harrison "Kruise" Pond summed up well : "Although it was a social experiment … it did more harm than good." I have no doubt that more information comes out of this situation, but the negative effect it has is already well established.