An Overwatch team found their female player was an imposter.
Second Wind, a North American Contenders team, said their player, "Ellie", was not who she was after mounting speculation about her true identity.
In a statement, Second Wind said Blizzard announced the team Ellie "was not the one they used to … and discovered that the Ellie account was used for purposes we do not support".
Second Wind admitted it failed to properly verify the identity of "Ellie", which they discovered as the rank four player on the North American servers, and blamed the move on time to fill a spot on their team.
"Due to our need to fill a main position as well, closing in deadline for roster submissions, and our team having experience with the player, we extended an offer to play on Second Wind as a substitute. When we originally contacted Ellie, there was nothing that would spark suspicion. seemed to be very genuine and willing to wo rk with us on calls and within private messages.
"Due to the fact that we do not have any physical contact with our players, we wanted to verify their identity but also wanted to respect their privacy as well. We genuinely had the 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. "" Ellie "then stepped down after receiving doxxing and personal threats "due to their anonymity", according to Second Wind. But while Second Wind nor Blizzard has so named the person behind the Ellie account, fresh claims indicate "Ellie" is in fact a man who goes by the name "Punisher"
Live on Twitch, a streamer called Becca "Aspen" Rukavina said "Ellie" was "Punisher" ̵
It looks like this "social experiment", if it was actually intended as such, was a n attempt to make some kind of point about women in esports, but it was heavily criticized. Liz Richardson, boss of Overwatch website Overwatch score, said it will have "lasting ramifications" for women who already face an uphill challenge in esports.
In the seven goddamn thousand levels of livid about this Ellie situation. People involved aside, this "stunt" will have loading ramifications for ANY woman / nb person trying to get into Contenders. They will ALL be subject to "lol are you real ??" harassment.
– Liz Richardson (@mizliz_) January 4, 2019
Richardson was not the only woman to express concern about the situation.
hey punisher im so happy you had a fun time seeing what its like to be a girl playing an online video game for * checks calendar * about 12 days. glad you can go back to normal life now and not have to deal with any of that anymore. wish i knew what felt like!
– nika (@runchranda) January 4, 2019
very cool also that this dude decided he didn't feel like dealing with the backlash of being a woman in gaming anymore so he just got to stop. where's my opportunity to opt out of misogyny
– bonnie 🌻 (@bonniequeue) January 4, 2019
Sexism breeds more sexism, give who would have guessed, time to make a sOCIal eXPEriMen Fareeha (FareehaAndersen) January 4, 2019
And Overwatch players have hit out at the "Ellie" account, too. In one of the top posts on r / overwatch, redditor hydra877 said: "Now, more than ever, any girl that tries to go will get this huge amount of scrutiny and will be practically forced to reveal their personal lives just to prove they're a woman. "Punisher has yet to comment.