The past few days on this subreddit have been disheartening. This community seems to swing back and forth day by day in how most people are responding to the allegations. My position is the same as Leffen's: "I do still think they are redeemable as humans, but it will take a LONG time and it should NOT happen within the smash community, ever." I wanted to make a post to explain the practical necessity of public outings and refute the terrible, disingenuous arguments used to defend exploiters in our community. If there's any arguments I've missed then I encourage you to leave a comment.
Please note that anything I say here only goes for people whose accusation have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Obviously the right thing to do when accusations come out is to back off and let the involved parties present their evidence before presuming anything about the accused or accuser. This is only in regards to people like Zero, Keitaro, and Nairo who don't have room for doubt left. Zero will be my example here as he has received more defense than anyone else by far. However, many of the arguments here are widely applicable and can be adapted for other instances/perpetrators of sexual misconduct.
"Why not settle this privately/legally instead of relying on the mob?": Jisu and Zero is actually a textbook case of why. Jisu says in her second statement that she had already spoken to lawyers and they said nothing could be done. This is consistent with the legal system's track record of inadequate response to sex crimes. Additionally, even Jisu herself didn't know Zero was soliciting porn from minors. That only came out because her story encouraged others to come forward.
"The community is not judge or jury. You don't get to decide anything.": This is only true for the legal system. Our community contains tournament organizers and sponsors who are the judges oF their tournaments and sponsorship deals respectively. They deserve to know the truth and be able to make decisions around it too.
"He's already not going to tournaments, why not just let him Youtube in peace?": Abusers and their fame cannot be separated. A starstruck person (especially if they are young) will be far more lenient towards any creepy behavior their idols exhibit. Zero and Katie is an example in action of this. From her conversation with Jisu: "I rolled with it and faked what I was doing...I was massively embarrassed at the time but didn't want to break the 'friendship'" There are still thousands of kids in Zero's subscriber base who would love nothing more than to meet their internet hero. It's an extremely vulnerable audience.
"He has nowhere else to go. Kicking him off Smash and Youtube is basically murder!": That's on him for not having an out then. He had the choices of not being a sexual predator or coming up with a contingency plan and he chose neither. What, are we going to implement extra harsh standards on people with college degrees because they could get another job easier? Because that is effectively the same as going light on him for a lack of one.
"Is this really bad enough to lose your career over?": Yes. It happens all the time in the adult world for less. I'll use myself as a quick example. I got fired from my first job as a shoe store clerk because I showed up late twice. Was it an honest mistake? Yes. Was my firing unwarranted? Not at all. I demonstrated an inability to do the job I was hired on for. This happens to people all the time. If minimum wage workers can stay employed under that level of scrutiny then I'm not going to weep for the millionaire that loses their job through deliberate dishonesty and pedophilia.
"It happened a long time ago. They're a different person.": If someone has changed then they should demonstrate it. Remorseful people don't just acknowledge what they've done wrong. They start taking steps to fix it. Is there anything Zero, proven liar, has done recently to make you think he's trustworthy? I feel the need to bring up Ally here too with his alleged vendetta against the CoC and his attendance at locals. Those are not the actions of a genuinely sorry person.
"All it takes is a couple mistakes and the whole community wants to cancel you!": This type of statement is a motte and bailey, an easily defendable statement used to defend something much less defensible. When people call Zero's or other abusers' actions 'mistakes' they are deliberately obfuscating both the intent and content of what they've done. While the word 'mistake' technically fits Zero's actions but is a vague word chosen to conjure up a nicer image. Making the conversation about whether society is too slow to forgive 'mistakes' is much easier than actually addressing the facts. Whenever you see this kind of language I encourage you to mentally replace weasel words with the actual facts. "All it takes is a couple mistakes soliciting at least two different minors for nudes and then lying repeatedly about it and the whole community wants to cancel you!"
"The only reason anyone is still talking about him is so they can have their virtue-signalling circlejerk.": I so wish this was true. We would stop piling on if not for Zero's (and Ally's while we're at it) attempts to worm their way back to prominence. Everyone was through talking about Zero until he made his Youtube statement. For preventative reasons as outlined above Zero shouldn't be let off the hook until he no longer has a platform. On a more personal note the support he's gotten from his fans and parts of the wider community is unnerving. I've thought about bringing my little sister to Smash tournaments when she's old enough. I don't know that it's safe when so many here would choose a creep's freedom to play Smash Bros over hers should anything happen. This community doesn't have room for both.
Edit: fixed some typos
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