There are very few females in the Overwatch esports scene. In fact, the entirety of OWL Season 1 only saw one female professional in Se-Yeon “Geguri” Kim [ Shanghai Dragons]. In a recent series of events, an Overwatch account came under public scrutiny.
Haku, the captain of Second Wind Overwatch team was caught in a controversy in December. His statement regarding the gender of players in Overwatch was distasteful and extremely controversial. The player apologized the very next day on Twitter.
Dear Overwatch Community,
First off, I want to apologise for my recent comments regarding the gender of players in my games. I was in a heated comp game and emotions ran high, I didn’t mean what I said in regards to the skill level of players in relation to their gender. I regret making the comment and undervaluing the successes of those who have also progressed into the highest levels of Overwatch. This does not excuse what I did, and despite these circumstances, what I said in the heat of the moment doesn’t accurately represent my thoughts and opinions on the matter. I am working towards keeping a clear head while playing, and while I still have a long way to go, I feel like this has helped me take a step in the right direction and recognize a need to reevaluate my mentality.
Robert “Haku” Blohm.
An Overwatch account with the name of Ellie came into existence on the 16th of December. The account saw itself rise through the ranks with a very high win rate. One of Ellie’s first tweets mentions her dup queue with Sugarfree, a player for Atlanta Academy. She quickly started gaining followers on her Twitch stream. However, it was around this time that there were questions raised regarding the player’s identity. There were sections in the community and professional gaming community which doubted whether she was really a girl. At the same time, many defended her against such ‘sexist’ remarks.
The sudden rise of this account gave rise to suspicions that there was another player playing on this account. Smurfing is a serious problem in Overwatch where a player of a higher skill plays on a lower ranked account. It creates an unfair playing field for the other players who have to compete against a higher skilled player.
Tier two organisation Second Wind signed Ellie to their roster on the 21st of December. The player’s flexible hero pool, the high SR and high skill were factors that helped her signing with Second Wind.
Ellie will be our replacement for Coluge as a sub. Since she’s rather flexible in hero pool, has the raw comp queue stats that fit our scouting requirements, and has played with our players before giving them synergy, she seemed like the obvious pickup for us for a sub. We’ve always turned to the ladder to find good, reliable players when we need them, and Ellie will be another example of that when we get the chance to show off her skills.
this guy is a fucking psychopath pic.twitter.com/xWf3Jy4aLS
— ellie (@ellie_ow) December 23, 2018
Haunt was one of the first persons to raise doubts over her legitimacy. He mentions she does not have her first name and last name updated on the team’s webpage. It was a legitimate question since there is no other Overwatch Contenders player whose name is not known publicly.
Dafran, an OWL player for the Atlanta Reign laid bare his thoughts on Ellie. He felt that there was someone playing on the account with a girl named Ellie right beside him. Despite Ellie speaking on stream several times in the past she had never really turned on the camera. This attempt was obviously in an attempt to legitimise herself in front of the community.
Dafran’s opinion was met with harsh criticism from a few players and some of the community. The reaction was critical of Dafran because they felt that he was picking on Ellie due to her being a female. As we now learn, this was not the case and Dafran was right all along.
Unfortunately, due to some unforeseen reactions, Ellie has opted to step down from the team. We hope you continue to support her in her ventures in Overwatch as we will
— Second Wind (@SecondWindGG) January 2, 2019
Despite not having played a single match for Second Wind, Ellie quit the team. The Second Wind owner blamed the community for their actions. He believed that the community pressure and doubts on her identity forced her to quit the team.
We wanted a player, but it seemed like the public wanted something else.
Second Wind owner Justin Hughes.
(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
Cloud9 streamer Becca, who goes by the Twitch name of Aspen confirmed on stream that Ellie was a fake account. She mentioned Pro player Punisher as the one playing on this account.
She claims that Ellie was a misguided social experiment. Punisher wanted to expose Sexism in esports. Ofcourse things did get out of hand very quickly with the account receiving a lot more exposure than he intended.
Slasher reached out to Ellie, the girl who spoke during the streams. She confirmed that the Second Wind players and management had no idea of this ‘experiment’. They had no idea that the person playing on the Ellie account was actually Punisher.
Punisher, the player assumed to have played as Ellie, is just another NA ladder player. Not a pro smurf or semipro. It is also possible more than one person played under her name.
Correction: The meeting between Blizzard and SW has not yet occurred, will happen in the next hour.
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) January 4, 2019
He reveals Battle.net chat leaks between Punisher and other streamers. Punisher claims that he has an egirl smurf account where he practices different heroes.
In a Youtube Video, RedShell proved that Ellie is actually Punisher. They have the same playstyle and they even talk the same way. Coluge also revealed a private chat with Punisher on Twitter. Punisher is clearly telling Coluge that he does the girl’s voice.
Doing it for the clout. pic.twitter.com/JAFmMFapIx
— Later (@Colugeisgone) January 5, 2019
We know that Blizzard is already in talks with Second Wing management and players. Hopefully, they should take action against Punisher in an effort to straighten out such incidents for the future. It is essential that professional players do not get away with such actions. Despite having such low professional female players, we cannot have the community making fun of exisitng members via such means. It is demeaning and discouraging for existing female players.
very cool also that this dude decided he didn’t feel like dealing with the backlash of being a woman in gaming anymore so he just got to stop. where’s MY opportunity to opt out of misogyny
— bonnie 🌻 (@bonniequeue) January 4, 2019
how is it so hard for men to just like. Listen to the stories that women share about poor treatment in esports or gaming communities. why is that so difficult why do u have to go undercover to be like “huh.. maybe they were telling the truth all along”
— nika (@runchranda) January 4, 2019
hey punisher im so glad you had a fun time seeing what its like to be a girl playing an online video game for *checks calendar* about 12 days. glad you can go back to ur normal life now and not have to deal with any of that anymore. wish i knew what that felt like!
— nika (@runchranda) January 4, 2019