The Esports Problem

Covering a more serious topic this time, friends. For those who aren’t aware or don’t partake in the esports scenes revolving around certain games, this news may not have found you yet. However, there has been a tremendous number of stories coming out over the last few weeks. These are stories exposing figures within their respective scenes as abusers, paedophiles, and more. 

Dota 2


There are 2 specific scenes that a lot of this news has been coming from; Dota 2 and Smash Brothers. Let’s chat about Dota 2 first. Some really prominent figures within the Dota 2 casting scene have been outed as abusers and harassers. The first being one of the largest supporters of North American Dota, Grant “GrandGrant” Harris. I will summarise a series of Tweets and Twitlongers:

This story starts with the original accusation that Grant has harassed a woman at the afterparty of The International 2017. Saying that Grant wouldn’t let go of her, propositioned her for sex and even began to undress himself. Grant later apologises for his actions.

The victim proceeds to accept the apology, believing that he has the ability to improve himself. Shortly after, a second story appears that centres around a female caster by the name of ‘LlamaDownUnder’. She was an excellent female caster who seemingly disappeared from the scene after having cast the regional qualifiers for the biggest Dota 2 competition in 2016. Seems odd. As it turns out, Grant had quite literally harassed Llama out of the Dota 2 scene completely. She even sought a restraining order on him.

Grant has since announced that he will be leaving the Dota 2 scene, most likely permanently. His sponsor, Evil Geniuses, have dropped him. In addition, his fellow casters and personalities within the scene have made their comments on this set of events, saying that Grant should not be allowed to participate in Dota 2 events anymore.


Toby “Tobiwan” Dawson is quite possibly one of, if not, the most popular and well known casters in the entirety of Dota 2. He is famous for casting numerous International Grand Final games, alongside having some of the most memorable lines during his casting career. To name a couple:

  • “No one has ever done that in the history of Dota!”
  • “It’s a disastah!”
  • The 6 million dollar echo-slam

So the stories revolving around him were especially eye-opening. The spiral for Toby started when he requested to settle things in private. This felt like an attempt from him to try and cover himself and reduce his chances of being cancelled. 

Another Dota 2 caster and previous colleague of Toby’s, Austin “TheCapitalist” Walsh, tweeted that he always believed that Toby was a “Socially awkward person”. He also states that should any stories come out regarding Toby, that he will support those victims. After this, two notable cases rose to the top:

  • Botjira – “He pinned me down in a hotel room. I almost didn’t escape”
  • Meruna – Tobiwan did not take “No” for an answer.

Toby has since removed himself from the Dota 2 scene and will now be inactive with regards to the game in any and all capacities. His signature lines, which had been incorporated into the game’s chat wheel, have also been removed from the game.


Earlier on in the Smash Ultimate’s life, pro player Ally was removed from the scene due to everything that had gone on regarding fellow player, Captain Zack. After that, we didn’t hear too much, until a couple weeks ago where everything just kind of exploded and the Smash scene was purged of these people. Brace for impact, there are a lot of players involved. Some of which are huge names in the scene.

  • Cinnpie – Numerous accounts of manipulation and sexual assault with underage males.
  • D1 – Accounts of non-consensual intercourse.
  • Keitaro – Accounts of sexual assault on minors.
  • Nairo – Account of sexual relations with a minor.
  • Sky Williams – His house was basically a grooming house. Housed numerous other accused people, such as D1 and Keitaro.
  • Zero – Numerous accounts of misconduct with minors. 

These are only a few. There is a large summary on r/smashbros of all the people who have been exposed. I wanted to highlight these figures above as some are huge names, casters and personalities that many previously looked up to within the Smash community. I personally enjoyed watching Nairo, Keitaro and D1 a tremendous amount and to hear all of these things is honestly quite depressing. 

The Esport Environment Needs To Change

Can we not just be excellent to one another? Gaming is something that people usually take up as an escape. It’s something that can help those who have difficulties when it comes to social interaction or real-life situations. When people travel to these events, they want to play the game with other like-minded individuals who share that passion. Not to become a ‘Me too’ story. 

Women have it hard enough as it is, and we NEED to make sure that they can be comfortable/protected at events, without the worry of becoming the goal of some fool’s conquest. 

Once things return to whatever normal is, events need to make sure that security is improved. This means afterparties as well. Minors need to be accompanied by parents/guardians at events. We need to make sure that people are protected.


This has brought to light that there are still so many issues within the esports scene. People are having to come to the realisation right now that many of the players and personalities that they may have looked up to aren’t just the people they see on streams or playing in tournaments. These are people you are only seeing one-side of, and you don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. 

Idolising people you look up to is fine, but you have to make sure to remember that you aren’t friends with these people. You aren’t able to see everything. It’s a bitter pill to swallow at the moment. Some of the accused may well say they have changed, but until they are held accountable, we would never have known. 

To those brave enough to come forward with your stories, we thank and support you. You are the ones who will be responsible for making these competitive gaming scenes a safer and better place. 

Let’s just play some video games for f**ks sake.


Conor Evans
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