EVO Online will not be happening this year. After fighting game player Mikey “Crackpr0n” Pham alleged that EVO CEO Joey “Mr. Wizard” Cuellar behaved inappropriately toward him and a number of other teenage boys in the ‘90s and early ‘00s, several companies including Capcom, NetherRealm, Bandai Namco, and Mane6 pulled out of the event. In addition, several high profile players and commentators like Dominique “SonicFox” McLean refused to play in the event.
— EVO (@EVO) July 3, 2020
In response EVO has canceled the event. All players who purchased “online badges” to the event will be refunded. In addition, an amount of money equivalent to the proceeds will be donated to Project HOPE.
Joey Cuellar has been removed from his position at CEO and will no longer be involved with the company in any capacity. He will be replaced with Tony Cannon, one of the Cannon Brothers, similarly a co-founder of EVO, developer at Riot Games, and co-developer of GGPO, one of the first widely available rollback netcode libraries for fighting games. Cuellar has not denied the allegations, instead saying:
I’m sorry. I never meant to hurt anyone. I was young and reckless and did things I’m not proud of. I have been growing and maturing over the past 20 years, but that doesn’t excuse anything. All I have been trying to do is become a better person. Once again, I’m truly sorry.
— Joey Cuellar (@MrWiz) July 3, 2020
EVO Online was originally set to run over the month of July as a replacement to the traditional Vegas event which was canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Four titles were chosen as online replacements for the standard lineup, while the original lineup would be fought in exhibition format. Many major announcements of upcoming games and DLC happen at EVO, and now will likely be happening at individual direct to consumer events instead.