A high-profile Super Smash Bros. professional player was dumped by his sponsor after being accused of "groping" a woman during the Evo 2016 fighting game tournament event.
Mexican player Cristian "Hyuga" Medina, known as one of the best Super Smash Bros. Brawl Toon Link players in the word, was accused of molesting a caster and streamer while she slept in her hotel room at the Las Vegas tournament.
"VikkiKitty", from Miami, Florida, reported the incident to police and wrote about it on Twitter on 17th July. She said she and her boyfriend allowed Hyuga to stay in their hotel room because they didn't want him wandering around Vegas "drunk and alone".
VikkiKitty recounts the incident:
"I fell asleep next my boyfriend on the bed and I woke up to Cristian in between my boyfriend and I, rubbing against me and sliding his hands up my shirt and another down my pants.
"I'm Cuban and know a good amount of Spanish so I told him to leave me alone and to get back on the floor, repeatedly. He's drunk and doesn't get off me so I say it even LOUDER until someone in my room woke up to see what was going on.
"That person, Stefan, gets up and tells me immediately to sleep on the other bed where he was on and I changed beds. 15 minutes pass and I have still not fallen back asleep before Hyuga slides between the person I was on the bed with and tries to do it once again before Nick Riddle woke up and kicked him out of the room.
"Again, this has never happened to me and I was frightened so after they kicked him out I started to break down in tears. Did my 'friend' actually attempt doing this to me? Why wouldn't he leave me alone? What if I was alone? We filed a police report."
Following the incident, Hyuga's sponsor, Smash Bros. broadcaster VGBootCamp, announced it had dropped the player, who had been knocked out of Evo 2016's Super Smash Bros. for Wii U tournament during the Top 32 Loser's Bracket over the weekend.
The organisation issued a statement on Twitter:
"Although he was heavily intoxicated during the incident there is absolutely no excuse for his actions. Starting immediately, Hyuga will no longer be a representative of the VGBC pro team. We want to set a precedent for all teams and sponsored players in the smash community to say that these actions will not be glossed over and ignored. To be absolutely clear, as of right now, we have dropped Hyuga from our team completely."
Hyuga has come under universal criticism for his behaviour, and, after blaming his actions on alcohol, deleted his Twitter account. It seems his professional gaming career is now over.
As for VikkiKitty, she has found herself in the disappointing position of having to defend her actions on Twitter.
because he was our friend that we've known for some time and did not want to have him wandering Vegas, drunk and alone.— VikkiKitty @ Home (@VikkiKitty) July 18, 2016
It's a blow to the reputation of the fighting game community and the generally superb Evo tournament. However, VGBootCamp has been praised for its swift response, and the competitive Smash community has rallied around VikkiKitty, offering support.
In a later Tweet, VikkiKitty said she didn't want to take legal action against Hyuga because of the impact it would have on her family.
"My goal within the Smash community is to grow not only as competitor but as a professional caster as well," she said.
"I do not want this situation to dwell above my head for a long period of time. I made a tweet about the situation to spread AWARENESS. I do not want this to happen to ANYONE ELSE. The judgement of the community will take it's turn with this situation and hopefully bring more awareness to tournament safety.
"If I go through with further legal action, I will never be allowed to go to another out of state tournament, again. Coming from a Hispanic family, they will never let me travel out of fear for my safety and I do not want to bring them any worry."