Esports

Evo Online canceled after misconduct allegations against event co-founder

by Isaac McIntyre

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Evo Online has officially been canceled following sexual misconduct allegations leveled at event co-founder Joey ‘MrWizard’ Cuellar, organisers announced on July 2. The company also confirmed Evo's former president "will no longer be involved with Evo in any capacity."

“Over the past 24 hours, in response to serious allegations recently made public on Twitter, we have made the first of a series of important decisions regarding the future of our company,” the event’s July 2 statement read. 

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“Effective immediately, Joey Cuellar will no longer be involved with Evo in any capacity. We are currently working towards his complete separation from the company, and have relieved him of all his responsibilities.”

Finally, the tournament organizers confirmed they would be canceling Evo Online. The TOs confirmed they would issue refunds to all players who purchased a badge, and will be donating the equivalent of the proceeds to Project HOPE.

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The event’s shock cancellation comes less than 24 hours after Evo’s now-former CEO Joey Cuellar was placed on administrative leave following sexual misconduct allegations publicly leveled against him earlier this week.

On Thursday, Cuellar was accused of inappropriate behavior with multiple boys over the past 20 years, beginning in the 1990s.

The allegations mainly related to Cueller’s interactions with underage boys at tournament events. One account alleged he handed out tokens at the local arcade to entice underage boys to jump into a pool in their underwear.

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The news was followed by a number of high-profile game devs, including Capcom, Bandai Namco, and NetherRealm, announcing their intentions to withdraw from the event to “stand in solidarity with those who have spoken out against abuse.”

Five-time Evo champion Dominique ‘SonicFox’ McLean was also among the registered stars who declared they would no longer play in the online-only tournament following the news surrounding Cuellar.

They told ESPN they “could not, in good conscience, participate in an event with the allegations of one of the primary hosts of said event… it doesn’t sit right with me.”

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Five-time Evo champion SonicFox announced he would not attend the online-only event before it was officially canceled.
EVO
Five-time Evo champion SonicFox announced they would not attend the online-only event before it was officially canceled.

Cuellar responded to the allegations with a short statement on Twitter on July 2. He said he was “young and reckless,” and had done “things [he was] not proud of.” He added he “never meant to hurt anyone.”

“I’m sorry… I have been growing and maturing over the past 20 years, but that doesn't excuse anything. All I have been trying to do is become a better person. Once again, I'm truly sorry,” he wrote in his public statement on Thursday.

Evo has confirmed Tony Cannon would step in as acting CEO in the interim following Joey Cuellar being removed from the company’s leadership structure. 

They also stated Cannon would prioritize “greater accountability across Evo, both internally and at our events” as part of his new leadership role.