Attempts to reach Cuellar through the event’s administration were not returned at the time of publication.
Held annually in Las Vegas before the novel coronavirus pandemic shifted the 2020 event to an online only format, Evo is the premier esports event for the fighting game community, usually featuring titles such as Super Smash Bros., Street Fighter and Tekken. The prize pool for the 2019 event was more than $250,000 dollars, according to the site esports Earnings.
The move by Evo to place Cuellar on leave comes amid a flurry of similar claims against professional gamers and streamers over the past two weeks. The most recent of those claims also rocked the fighting game community.
Esports franchise Team NRG cut ties Thursday with pro player Nairoby Quezada, who plays competitive Super Smash Bros. under the handle Nairo. In a Twitlonger post early Thursday morning, another Smash player, Zack “Captain Zack” Lauth, accused Quezada of sexual misconduct at a 2017 tournament event in Orlando, Florida. Lauth alleges the incident occurred when Quezada was 20 and Lauth was 15, and that Quezada and his brother subsequently paid Lauth money to keep quiet.
Lauth’s post was the first Team NRG had heard of the incident, according to a person familiar with Team NRG’s deliberations who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
Quezada subsequently posted an apology via his Twitter account Thursday afternoon.
“I’m not making excuses. My behavior was wrong. I was wrong. I messed up tremendously,” he wrote. “To Zack, I apologize for making you feel like you had to carry a burden all these years. That is not fair to you. I am truly sorry.”