Early August 2019, Evo – the world’s largest fighting game tournament – concluded on a tragic note. What should have been a weekend that ended with celebration was instead tarnished by reports of sexual harassment and spiked drinks at the event’s afterparties.
What followed was a surge of support from many of the most prominent voices within the fighting game community (FGC). Victims spoke out about their past traumas, and there was a collective call for action. In what can be interpreted as the FGC’s very own Me Too movement, well-known figures in the community, such as competitor Leah “Gllty” Hayes and photographer Chris Bahn, had allegations raised against them, resulting in public apologies from the pair and a ban forbidding them from entering some of the USA’s largest tournaments.
This recent turmoil has raised uncomfortable and important questions about the FGC, on whether those guilty of these actions are simply bad actors, or whether the FGC has a deep-rooted problem at its core. I talked with women in the community who’ve worked in this environment long enough to know the reality of what it’s like at these events, about their thoughts on the culture, recent allegations, and what needs to change.