Smash pro player Saleem ‘Salem’ Akiel Young has been banned from some Smash events, months after they were accused of serious allegations in the controversy between fellow pros CaptainZack and Nairo.
In July 2020, the Smash scene was irreversibly changed after a wave of sexual assault allegations came out against some players. One such allegation was against Nairoby ‘Nairo’ Quezada, who was alleged to have had sexual relations with Zack ‘CaptainZack’ Lauth when the former was 20 and the latter 15.
Nairo was swiftly banned from competing in Smash tournaments, but later broke his silence where he accused CaptanZack of blackmailing him in exchange for sexual acts. After CaptainZack’s initial allegations were deemed false, Nairo was later unbanned.
A major part of the initial accusations involved leaked DMs between CaptainZack and an unknown second party, who was later revealed to be Salem. Salem was consequently accused of ‘enabling pedophilia’ and was given compassionate leave by their sponsor to seek psychiatric therapy.
Our update on Salem. pic.twitter.com/tgZ45T5keu
— Most Valuable Gaming (@MVGLeague) July 11, 2020
Salem banned from Smash tournaments
In the wake of the controversy, Esports consultant Cyrus Gharakhanian announced Salem would be banned “indefinitely” from competing in Smash tournaments run by himself and other organizers.
“His involvement during what occurred in July as well as multiple concerning instances in recent months, show that he should be not be permitted to compete in tournaments,” Gharakhanian said.
“While we do recognize that he has gone to therapy and has addressed his case several times, it is clear that his involvement in this community is an issue.
“This situation was not handled properly and our communication regarding this was poor. We apologize & will improve on that.”
While we do recognize that he has gone to therapy and has addressed his case several times, it is clear that his involvement in this community is an issue.
This situation was not handled properly and our communication regarding this was poor. We apologize & will improve on that.
— Cagt (@Cagt3000) March 20, 2021
Salem responds after Smash ban
Salem has since responded in a Twitlonger, where they explained they had never paid attention to Nairo’s age when discussing his sexual relationship with CaptainZack.
“I assumed [Nairo] was like 16-17 at most,” Salem said. “Zack always talked about sex casually to everyone as well. Not just to me. I was happy for Zack to be happy in a relationship I thought was just two kids.”
“What I said was very questionable and I understand that and know what it looks like. Yes, I see that what I said makes it look like I’m enabling pedophilia.
— 🏳️🌈 (MVG) Salem ☆ #BlackLivesMatter (@SalemBane_) March 21, 2021
“I made a huge mistake, this doesn’t excuse me making assumptions and not questioning Nairo’s age once during the times I saw them together and that’s completely my fault for that.”
Salem reiterated their claim that another Smash pro, Matt ‘MattyG’ Ganshirt, was involved in a mentally abusive relationship with CaptainZack. They claimed MattyG threatened to release images of Salem getting CaptainZack drunk if he was named in Salem’s Twitlonger.
Salem also asserted Ezra ‘Samsora’ Morris was involved in encouraging CaptainZack to publish his initial false allegations against Nairo.
Samsora and MattyG are both yet to publicly respond to these allegations made by Salem.