Overwatch League pro steps down after harassment over her identity

Player for Second Wind in the Overwatch minor league Contenders constantly harassed about whether she was actually a woman or not.


After constant harassment ultimately spurned by sexism, a professional Overwatch League player has quit her team. The player known as the handle "Ellie" stepped away from Second Wind, a team competing in the Overwatch minor league Contenders, after her identity was regularly questioned despite livestreaming to prove herself. Ellie's only statement since stepping down is the tweet below:

Kotaku reported that fans believe initial speculation about Ellie started because of her full legal not being added to the roster like her other counterparts in the league. "Who is Ellie?" focused gossip sprung up, with the foundation of theories being that a male player was impersonating a female professional. This was not a theory solely created by fans of Overwatch League and its esports leagues, though. Professional player Daniel "Dafran" Francesca of Atlanta Reign and previously banned Overwatch player Haunt questioning her identity. The later even argued in favor of doxxing her.

overwatch league ellie player professional pro woman second wind

Here's a statement from Second Wind owner Justin Huges, shared on Twitter after Ellie stepped down from the team:

When we brought her onto the team, people acted like we had brought on a symbol of empowerment. I get that people meant well, but on one side, we had people questioning her legitimacy, issuing threats, etc. while on the other hand, we had people acting like they had found their Messiah. Between needing a player to live up to huge expectations and having to question their own safety, it seems that the OW community isn't ready to just view a player as just a player. We wanted a player, but it seemed like the public wanted something else. Sorry about my pronoun usage. However, the message remains the same.

In the interview below, professional gamer Kelley Kelley spoke at length about female gamers in the esports space. When asked why she believed there weren't many women in esports, she pointed out there are "not a lot of opportunities for them" and that guys disregard women in the space without considering their skill or talent.

"We all want to win. We all want to grind. We all want to be super driven but, at the same time, we're not given the chance. So, the more girls that come out and showcase their talent and put on a good show, it'll just help everybody. It'll help out all the other women in the world in gaming."

What are your thoughts on Ellie stepping down after being harassed about her identity as a professional female player? Let us know in Chatty and stay tuned for additional updates.

Charles Singletary Jr keeps the updates flowing as the News Editor, breaking stories while investigating the biggest topics in gaming and technology. He's pretty active on Twitter, so feel free to reach out to him @The_CSJR. Got a hot tip? Email him at Charles.Singletary@Shacknews.com.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    January 4, 2019 9:35 AM

    Charles Singletary Jr posted a new article, Overwatch League pro steps down after harassment over her identity

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      January 4, 2019 9:57 AM

      I’m not sure I quite get this story. Was she being harassed because she’s a woman? Or was she being harassed because people thought it was a man pretending to be a woman? Both?

      But if it’s No. 2, why would a guy impersonate a woman? To what end?

      As for No. 1, yeah, video game culture has been hostile toward women forever so that’s no surprise. And I think it’s the wrong move to surrender to such harassment.

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        January 4, 2019 10:09 AM

        I have no horse in this race and I do not care about esports whatsoever, but as for #2, perhaps the combination of a talented but unattractive male gamer doing the playing for an attractive female actress posing as a gamer, either for profit (see: Ninja paycheck) or to advance an agenda (I.e., challenge preconception of female gamers).

        aka the Milli Vanilli playbook.

        If this woman was live-streaming to prove that she is who she says she is and the more conspiratorial minded are still insisting that some sort of man-behind-the-curtain shenanigans are going on then that could imply that the preconception is pretty strong.

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          January 4, 2019 9:32 PM

          Haha, the Milli Vanilli maneouver would work well for streamers, you'd think. I wonder if people are already doing it.

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        January 4, 2019 2:31 PM


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      January 4, 2019 12:13 PM

      update: it was a guy doing a social experiment


      obviously the harassment and doxxing are stupid incel shit that we need to address, but I did follow the story and was suspicious that a 4600 SR account with mostly doomfist(who got nerfed) was hired by a contenders team. and her gameplay on stream was..not good. But yeah the community went way too hard on this because shes a girl for sure

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      January 4, 2019 2:30 PM


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