ZeRo withdraws from the Smash Scene
July 8, 2020
ESPORTS

ZeRo retires after alleged sexual misconduct towards minors

The Smash scene has been hit hard by recent revelations about predators in their scene. Among the many personalities implicated was also ZeRo. Today he annouced his withdrawal from the scene.

After allegations against Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios were first made public on July 3, there had been a back and forth of statements and responses between ZeRo and his accusers. The initial accusation was made by artist Jacqueline “Jisu” Choe on Twitter as a reaction to ZeRo’s first TwitLonger sharing his stance on the recent revelations.

Following this first accusation other players and community figures also spoke up against ZeRo in support of Jisu, including pro player William “Leffen” Hjelte:


The most serious allegations followed shortly after by a person wishing to remain anonymous and referred to as Katie.

In her TwitLonger she detailled how ZeRo messaged her in a sexually suggestive way while she was 14 years old and underage. Then 19 years old ZeRo allegedly also requested her to “masturbate with ice and take pictures”.

ZeRo’s first response

ZeRo wrote a lengthy Google Doc in response to these allegations in which he claimed ignorance of Katie’s age before she told him and apologized to her and Jisu for being “a stupid irresponsible teenager”. ZeRo did not address the claim that he requested sexually explicit pictures from Katie. In regards to Leffen’s statement he acknowledged what happened and apologized for his behavior back then.

In a follow-up tweet ZeRo also banned himself from attending any Smash Bros. events in the future.

For the accusers ZeRo’s statement was not enough and did not address the main points of contentions. Leffen flat out said that ZeRo was lying in his statement:

With other community members also speaking up and criticizing ZeRo’s response, Jisu took to Twitter again and said that evidence was being gathered to fully expose ZeRo’s misconduct in the scene.

ZeRo “confesses”

Responding to that on July 4 ZeRo issued another statement via TwitLonger.

In his statement he claims to “want this all to stop and for me to at least atone.” He further stated that people should stop defending him as he did not deserve it. Within his “confession” he stated that Katie’s accusations “are true in general”. Additionally he also comes clean about another girl he spoke to during 2014, named Laura. Allegedly she was also underage at that time and ZeRo claims to have apologized to her in private recently.

He closes his statement by retiring from creating videos and urged the scene to not be like him and not forgive him either as he also would not forgive himself.

While there has not been any further statements from ZeRo at this point, Jisu has responded to ZeRo on Twitter.

She stated that ZeRo’s confession was not the end of this as she would soon release the gathered evidence and accusations, that she had been writing about prior.

ZeRo in therapy

On July 8 ZeRo made another short statement on YouTube regarding his current state:

ZeRo's statement on YouTube July 8
ZeRo’s statement on YouTube July 8

He announced that he is currently in therapy for many reasons that were exposed prior and that he might make another video in the future. Leaving the door open for speculation that he might wish to continue creating content at some time later.

Twitch has banned ZeRo

Since his exit there have not been many news about ZeRo’s whereabouts. Tempo Storm and Facebook Gaming have also dropped the streamer while he has left social media. Tempo Storm also offered to reach out and support ZeRo in looking for professional help.

Yesterday, on July 23 Twitch has also banned ZeRo, who first left the streaming platform in December 2019.

According to streamer and developer CommanderRoot the ban is permanent. Twitch was most likely acting in reponse to the accusations against ZeRo, ensuring that the former pro cannot return to their platform should he decide to.

ZeRo was one of the most influential Smash Bros. players of all time, who had amassed a massive streak of 56 tournament victories during the lifespan of Smash 4. After he retired from his progamer career he became a popular streamer and YouTuber who had over one million subscribers to his channel.

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Image Credit: ZeRo via YouTube.
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