3:59 PM ET
Arda OcalESPN Staff Writer
Amidst several recent allegations of sexual misconduct and assault circling the Super Smash Bros. community, former Smash for Wii U pro Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios has apologized for sending sexually suggestive messages to minors.
Barrios, one of the most successful Smash players of all time, addressed past allegations and new ones Saturday in a Twitlonger post. In it, he admitted to sending messages to two people he later found out were minors and continuing to send suggestive messages after discovering the age of one of the women.
“I really want to atone, and I just want this discussion to stop,” he said in his Saturday post. “I’m not a good person, and it doesn’t matter how terrible my life was, I did terrible things and that’s the end of it. I don’t deserve for people to defend me.”
Barrios also announced he would be eliminating all of his sponsorships and no longer be creating content in gaming.
Tempo Storm, Barrios’ gaming organization, has also announced they are cutting ties with him and have offered to provide professional support to any victims.
Our statement and next steps regarding ZeRo: https://t.co/600UNfZIix pic.twitter.com/wmYTY3AyTj
— Tempo (@Tempo_Storm) July 4, 2020
The statement comes after days of denial and clarification by Barrios following initial allegations against him on Thursday by Twitter user Jackie “Jisu” Choe, who lived with Barrios for a period from late 2014-early 2015, Barrios said in a statement.
Barrios had initially written a Twitlonger statement on Thursday commenting on sexual misconduct allegations against several other members of the Smash community that he was friends with. He ended the statement with, “Today I feel regret because I could have done something. And I also feel pain because people I thought I knew, are not who they are.”
In response to this, Choe claimed that Barrios had showed her “explicit Craigslist ads of sex workers and [animated pornography] on the big screen and constantly harassing me … when I was 15.”
To anyone who thinks just because someone confessed that it’s over,” Choe posted Saturday after Barrios’ statement, “it’s not over until you tell the entire story and show just how exactly things went down.
“Thank you to everyone who believed in me, in Katie, and everyone who’s spoken up. It’s not over yet…I’ll update soon.”
Katie is another accuser of Barrios who claimed she and Barrios had intimate interactions when she was underage.
Barrios posted two Twitlonger statements following these accusations. The first was a response to Choe claims denying he had made suggestive comments to her or had any memory of similar misconduct. In a second Twitlonger, sent Friday, Barrios apologized to Choe, Katie and Smash pro William “Leffen” Hjelte following a multitude of allegations regarding messages he’d sent and his conduct in private settings.
On Saturday, Barrios admitted to a third interaction with another woman, who he said he shared messages with in 2014. He claims he did not know she was underage at the time.
Choe responded shortly after the Saturday statement by Barrios.
“After 2 twitlongers, blatant lying, and several attempts of damage control via messaging figureheads and victims only for you to realize you’re finally screwed– you finally fess up,” she said. “Except this isn’t all of it. I’ll be releasing my statement and everyone’s accounts soon.”
More than 200 members of the general gaming community have spoken up about abuse, harassment and assault in the esports and gaming industry in the past week. In the Smash scene specifically, prominent competitors and commentators such as Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada, Cinnamon “Cinnpie” Dunson and D’Ron “D1” Maingrette and Jason “ANTi” Bates have been publicly accused of misconduct in the fighting game community.
The Evolution Championship Series, the largest fighting game tournament in the world, has also been canceled after co-founder and president Joey “MrWizard” Cuellar was accused of sexual misconduct and fired by Evo.