A female Overwatch Contenders player has stepped down from competing after questions were raised about her gender.
Contenders NA team Second Wind announced on December 22 that “Ellie” would be joining their line-up.
Ellie had no history in organized competitive play and no profile as a content creator, but had risen quickly into the top 10 on the ranked ladder as a DPS player.
Shortly after her addition, however, some began to question who was really behind the moniker, leading to a community debate over whether or not Ellie was really who she claimed to be. Some suggested that it was instead another high-ranked player using a different account.
Though Ellie spoke during several streams on Twitch in an attempt to verify herself, many remained unconvinced.
After running into Ellie in a ranked match, popular streamer and Atlanta Reign DPS player Daniel ‘Dafran’ Francesca speculated that the person talking wasn’t the same person playing the game.
As a result of the drama, Second Wind have now announced that Ellie has chosen to step down from the team before having played her first official match with them.
Second Wind owner Justin Hughes also took to Twitter to criticize the community’s response to Ellie’s signing, hitting out at both those who questioned her legitimacy and those who elevated her as a “symbol of empowerment”.
“It seems that the OW community isn’t ready to just view a player as just a player.” Hughes said, “We wanted a player, but it seemed like the public wanted something else.
(2/2) their Messiah. Between needing a player to live up to huge expectations and having to question their own safety, it seems that the OW community isn't ready to just view a player as just a player. We wanted a player, but it seemed like the public wanted something else.
— Justin Hughes (@SwerteSiJustin) January 2, 2019
With Ellie stepping out of the spotlight, it seems likely that her real identity, which she chose to keep publicly hidden, will remain so.