If you follow Overwatch, you’re probably aware of “Ellie,” who recently made headlines for receiving doxxing threats and harassment from the game’s community (including banned player, Haunt). Ellie was thrust into the limelight after professional team Second Wind announced that it had signed her on but with next to no information about her identity, a portion of the Overwatch community accused her of lying about who she is.
In a bizarre twist, while the toxicity Ellie received was real, Ellie was not.
A bunch of Overwatch streamers including Punisher, who Ellie apparently streamed with, are now claiming that she was a “social experiment,” sparking backlash from those who empathized with her. As PlayStation LifeStyle’s very own Cian Maher points out in a Twitter thread worth reading, the “experiment” hampers genuine efforts to combat sexism in esports, which players like Geguri are all too familiar with.
Reports suggest that Blizzard is planning to hold meetings to prevent this from happening again. Meanwhile, Second Wind – who was also duped by Ellie – has released an official statement on the matter, admitting that it should have done more to investigate the player’s background.
As soon as Ellie was announced, many questions came up regarding the legitimacy of the player. We reached out to Blizzard early on to help verify their identity and calm the suspicions about our newest player, doing the best we could for the time being. During this time, we worked with Ellie to improve their public presence by prepping them for interviews, streams, and encouraging an environment where they could play with other team members publicly. This unfortunately fell through due to Ellie opting out for “personal reasons” we did not want to press them for. Ellie began receiving doxxing and personal threats due to their anonymity. In a bid to respect Ellie’s request for privacy, we contacted Blizzard about not having their name published on the Contenders website. As a team, we admit we handled this poorly. More could have been done to support our players, but we had found ourselves unprepared for the attention Ellie got upon their onboarding; we had full faith in them. Due to our desperation to fill a roster, we unfortunately overlooked crucial information that should have been paid more attention to. We did not properly allocate enough time to communicate with the public as a means to support our players, and as a result caused more questioning that could have been avoided.
Ellie decided to step down on their own, and shortly afterwards we announced their departure from the team. As of today, Blizzard had gotten back to us on the background of Ellie, and notified us that they were not who they claimed to be, and discovered that the Ellie account was used for purposes we do not support. We apologize to the community as a whole for not handling this situation better when we should have, and we will aim to do better.
Here’s hoping that the players behind Ellie will also reflect upon their actions.
[Source: Second Wind]