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Seon-woo "Infiltration" Lee stands in front of a microphone and glances at something off-screen.

Screenshot: Evo

South Korean preventing sport participant Seon-woo “Infiltration” Lee revealed final night time that he’s been barred from attending a number of main neighborhood occasions, together with this 12 months’s Evolution Championship Sequence (Evo). Whereas the information got here as a shock, a lot of these conversant in the extremely completed competitor’s controversial previous contemplate it a very long time coming.

Evo and Combo Breaker (arguably the second most vital grassroots event within the preventing sport neighborhood) contacted Lee through e mail to tell him he won’t be allowed to compete at their occasions, in response to screenshots Lee posted to Twitter. Each emails cited unspecified violations of every occasion’s code of conduct insurance policies and supplied refunds for Lee’s registration charges.

Talking with Kotaku, Evo basic supervisor Rick Thiher defined that the occasion is “dedicated to fostering a secure setting for our gamers and followers” and that the organizers require opponents and attendees to “work along with Evo to construct a supportive neighborhood that treats each other with respect and dignity.” This expectation, he continued, is shared by different occasions like Combo Breaker, Group Effort Orlando, East Coast Throwdown, and the Intercontinental Battle Membership, all of which have additionally banned Lee.

“Evo won’t be discussing particular person enforcement choices publicly, however will likely be taking mandatory motion to uphold our code of conduct and create a welcoming setting at Evo competitions,” Thiher added. “These efforts are important for the way forward for Evo, and the expertise we try to create for our neighborhood.”

Kotaku contacted Lee as nicely, however didn’t hear again earlier than publication.

“I rightfully consider that it may be sorted with a correct dialog,” Lee wrote in a Twitlonger message. “I hope the organizers communicate up and clarify precisely what the reason for motion is that has denied my entry. Additionally from these organizers, I demand a correct apology that has triggered monetary and psychological stress of my planning of varied abroad journeys to get to those occasions and reverse their determination of denying my entry.”

Lee’s assertion additionally detailed a number of earlier incidents of not being allowed to compete in high-profile preventing sport tournaments. What he didn’t do, unsurprisingly, is get into the potential causes for tournaments not wanting him in attendance, of which there are various.

Whereas beforehand unknown, Lee rapidly turned a family identify within the preventing sport neighborhood because of his third-place end in Avenue Fighter IV: Arcade Version at Evo 2010. He spent the following a number of years incomes much more Evo medals and performing nicely in varied preventing video games, together with Avenue Fighter x Tekken, Avenue Fighter V, Samurai Shodown, and Responsible Gear Attempt. Lee’s event wins had been naturally adopted by sponsorship offers with companies like Mad Catz, Razer, and Monster Power.

However again in 2018, Lee made headlines for various causes when he was accused of home violence in opposition to his now ex-wife. A follow-up investigation by his sponsor on the time, esports org Panda World, discovered these allegations to be credible and dropped Lee from its roster. Lee additionally voluntarily stepped away from Capcom’s official Avenue Fighter tournaments for a 12 months, all of the whereas disputing the abuse claims for which he was arrested, discovered responsible by a South Korean courtroom, and fined.

Lee’s unapologetic return to competitors after a 12 months away garnered appreciable backlash, particularly when Evo itself congratulated him on his “triumphant return” after he gained Samurai Shodown in 2019. On the time, Evo was nonetheless a grassroots operation, however the event was lately bought by Sony following the departure of co-founder and CEO Joey “Mr. Wizard” Cuellar over sexual misconduct allegations.

Slightly than hold his nostril clear, nonetheless, Lee continued to create issues. Final 12 months, as an illustration, Lee was reportedly caught coordinating with pals to defraud a newbie Avenue Fighter V event he organized with Korean streaming web site AfreecaTV, his largest sponsor on the time.

Discord screenshots present Lee encouraging the one who gained that occasion, a master-level participant in different preventing video games, to not elevate his Avenue Fighter V rank too excessive for concern of elevating suspicion. After these particulars had been leaked, Lee angrily addressed his accusers through Twitch by calling them “motherfuckers” and “rubbish” who had been solely excited about tearing him down.

Lee ultimately apologized, however not earlier than AfreecaTV dropped him as a sponsored streamer.

As for a way Lee is taking these bans, he spent his first stream on Twitch after studying the information arguing that it was alright for him to use the n-word when chatting with Black preventing sport gamers. The racist feedback, he defined later, earned him a seven-day suspension from the streaming platform, however Lee nonetheless doesn’t consider he did something flawed. As an alternative, he opted to color the entire thing as some form of insidious conspiracy in opposition to an harmless man.

“I did a stream that defined what occurred to me due to Combo Breaker and Evo after which I received banned,” Lee informed sympathetic viewers throughout a YouTube livestream early this morning. “Is it only a coincidence? It’s not hate speech. When you guys watch my final stream, it wasn’t hate speech. It wasn’t racism. However individuals who hate Infiltration, they clip solely that second, and possibly ship it to Twitch world.”


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