‘Overwatch’ Contenders Team Loses Female Player After Community Harassment

CREDIT Blizzard Entertainment

CREDIT Blizzard Entertainment

That someone named Punisher made a decision to do it for a social experiment.

Blizzard has confirmed the suspicions of many in the Overwatch community involving the conspiracy regarding a player called "Ellie". Twelve teams in each of the seven Contender regions battle it out multiple times a year, and the winners have a chance of joining the Overwatch League. With Second Wind having only been informed of Ellie's identity after the owner of the account departed the team, it's unclear if they plan to reveal who was behind the hoax, or if they will hide the identities of those involved to prevent further backlash. According to Second Wind, "Ellie" did not want to reveal her last name or identity out of fear of harassment. Immediately after, some members of the fan community online started to question her legitimacy, combing through her stats and even attempting to doxx her, or share her personal information publicly via the internet. On Jan. 2, 2019, less than two weeks later, the account announced that Ellie had stepped down from the team. After Second Wind's long rant by team owner Justin Hughes about how he brought her onto the team and how he wanted a player, but it seemed like the public wanted something else, Second Wind quickly had to turn on their heels and issue a further statement when it broke that Ellie wasn't actually a real person. These controversies, along with the rampant misogyny and online harassment women in male-dominated spaces such as the esports industry have to face, led to Ellie stepping down before even playing her first game.

An Overwatch esports spokesperson has told Dot Esports that Ellie is in fact a fake identity. Punisher is a top-500 player and a friend of Aspen's, with his name having previously been brought up in accusations made against Ellie.

On Jan. 4, Aspen an Overwatch Streamer for Cloud9 said on stream that it was a fake. Blizzard are set to meet with Second Wind.

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Punisher and Ellie, as well as Second Wind, have yet to issue any statements regarding the incident. 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. On Twitter, Hughes replied that "we do what we can for our players, but when it comes down to it, there are only so many things we can do when safety of a player comes into question".

"Ellie chose to step down on their own, and shortly afterward we announced their departure from the team". One Overwatch League player, Luís "Greyy" Perestrelo of Paris Eternal, reacted by tweeting "xd" a playful emoticon that implied he was making light of the situation, but he later apologised.

"When we originally onboarded Ellie, we had just recently lost players for various reasons and we desperately needed to find a substitute". Pros like Gladiator Legions player Daniel "Gods" Graeser and Guangzhou Charge player Charlie "Nero" Zwarg reacted with sadness. "We have to do better, not just for the women and girls playing this game now, but for those growing up watching us".

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