Super Smash Bros. "Harassment Task Force" accuses top Melee player Nightmare of sexual misconduct

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In April, a group of prominent Smash community members formed a task force with the purpose of documenting and reducing instances of inappropriate behavior or sexual harassment by members of the scene. This task force quickly sprang into action, creating a longform code of conduct that included a system of panel-assigned punishments in order to prevent players with a history of harassment from continuing their behavior at a selection of prominent signatory events. For the most part, their efforts seem to have been successful. However, this task force is currently facing its biggest challenge yet.

In a Smashboards post, task force project manager Josh “Roboticphish” Kassel described a legal threat being leveraged against large tournaments by a high-profile Smash player facing accusations of inappropriate conduct:

A prominent member of the community (who will remain unnamed) is currently accused of the grooming of a minor and sexual assault, however this person has hired a lawyer on retainer who has threatened to litigate against any tournament who tries to bar him entry into their event. While the victim has opened a criminal case against this person, and while it is obvious that the community should want to bar him from all events, the very real and serious threat of litigation is far too much for any tournament to afford. Tournaments already strain and struggle just to break even; defending against a $20k defamation lawsuit would bankrupt every TO in the world.

— Josh "Roboticphish" Kassel

Though such a defamation lawsuit would likely be unsuccessful if the allegations against the Smash player in question are true, even the act of hiring a lawyer to defend oneself might break the bank for larger tournaments, which have historically struggled to turn a profit. In effect, this community member is holding these tournaments hostage by threatening legal action.

Several days after Roboticphish's original Smashboards post, top Canadian player Vikram "Nightmare" Singh released a statement implying that he was the individual mentioned in the task force's post:

Though Nightmare's post denies the allegations, his lawyer's statement appears to confirm that he was romantically involved with a minor and went to court as a result of their relationship. Until more information comes to light, it's unclear whether Nightmare will continue to be allowed to attend tournaments—or if he even desires to do so until the situation is clarified. This writer can only hope that, whatever the outcome of this controversy is, it will result in a safer and fairer Smash community for all.