Super Smash Bros Ultimate player Bocchi has been in the center of two controversies over the course of the past few months. While Bocchi was put in the spotlight when the 15-year-old defeated Smash legend Ally, she had to face the shocking backlash from the Smash community who relentlessly bullied her in the aftermath of the upset.
While Bocchi was able to weather the storm and came out of it with a strong following, the newly acquired spotlight has shined a light on some heinous statements made nearly a year ago on Discord (Warning: graphic content). Bocchi repeatedly used sexist and racist slurs in a conversation between herself and fellow Smash player Stroder.
Initially defensive and saying she didn’t “mature till recently,” Bocchi would issue a proper apology after being confronted about her statements.
hello everyone. i took time to think and i realized my apology came out completely wrong and self centered in the heat of the moment so i’m here again.— bocchi (@bocchibelle) July 20, 2019
I am extremely sorry for anyone i hurt or harmed in the surfacing of these screenshots. i am not a racist, never have been-
Since the game’s released, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has been a massive hit and is a premier title in the fighting game community, but while the Nintendo brawler is seemingly geared towards a family audience, it is becoming increasingly clear that the competitive scene is out of control.
Smash players RiotLettuce and Osiris197 got into a physical confrontation on the tournament floor at the CEO 19 in Daytona Beach. While nobody was seriously hurt and the competitors were separated, this as well as the above mentioned incident did not bode well for the scene.
Worse yet, Ally, whose real name is Elliot Carroza-Oyarce, would announce on his social media to address reports of the 29-year-old having a romantic relationship with 16-year-old fellow competitor Zack Lauth. Once Carroza-Oyarce returned from the event with the revelation, he retired from active competition and social media prior to receiving a lifelong ban from future competition.
Though Bocchi became a white knight for the harassment she endured from the Smash community, her latest actions cannot be swept under a rug from a halfhearted apology and hiding behind her age. Chances are that Bocchi has caused irreversible harm to what was an otherwise promising career in the emerging scene. A suspension would not be out of the question.
Then again, issuing a severe punishment to Bocchi beyond a suspension would give the Smash community the wake up it needs. Competitors should not ever have to feel at risk or in a position of danger. There seem to be no standards or expectations of behavior within the Smash community, and outside of extreme instances of unethical behavior, there is a chance that this incident will be swept under the rug and filed as another black eye on an already volatile community.
Should minors be allowed to compete in major events? What can be done to ensure professional standards are established in eSports? How should the conduct displayed from Bocchi be handled going forward? We’d like to hear from you on the comments below.