This may be one of my more moronic moments. On the night of September 20th, I wrote the article below. My editor told me that our site could not publish it because of how much speculation there was. I agreed that we should not have published it, and commend my editor for seeing that. So, I sent it to several teams of journalists. Since then, nothing has happened or come forth. So, I am publishing the full, unedited document on my personal site.
Joseph “Mang0” Marquez is arguably the most popular Smash player in the world. His aggressive and evolving playstyle have become iconic in the scene. He is the most subscribed Melee player on Twitch. He can play a crowd to bolster himself during swing moments of a match. It is no surprise that his fanbase is the largest in the entire Smash scene.
On the night of September 19th, his girlfriend, Lauren, accused Mang0 of domestic violence and cheating on Twitter. She claimed that this was an issue that is long term and ongoing. She claimed that she has tried to keep it quiet to keep from disturbing the greater Melee scene. At the time of writing, her Twitter account has become protected. Also at the time of writing, Mang0 has made no public statement on the matter. His mother has defended him over Twitter, and has thanked his fans for sticking with him. Mang0 is known for being an alcoholic. Rumors have also circulated in the past about Lauren being involved in altercations.
Since the accusations have come forward, a community wide silence has become prevalent. Given how quick the original accusation was closed off, many might not have heard it. Though, Reddit threads and Melee Hell pictures have begun to circulate. Little discussion has been had on the topic itself. What conversation there is tends to be vague and roundabout. Some popular voices are even avoiding the topic altogether with hashtags like #juiceoverdrama.
The Smash scene has had various allegations of sexual assault in the past year. Most have fueled a public debate about the toxicity of the greater Smash community and the safety of women within. Some within the community worry about how this will further affect the reputation of the Melee scene to outsiders. With Smash seen as the younger brother to the greater Fighting Game Community, some worry about reputation makes sense. Add in a good number of viewers who might stop watching altogether, and this may change the future of Smash as an esport.
At the time of writing, nothing is known about where the allegations have gone. Whether the allegations were brought to the legal system is unknown. Whether Lauren has left the house is unknown. Where this will leave Mang0’s sponsorship is unknown. Where this will leave the greater Melee and Smash scene is unknown.
In all honesty, I was surprised by this incident. Mostly with the community reaction. Voices which rang out with calls of misogyny and toxicity were silent. Hashtags were made to sweep the incident under the rug. See, I’m okay with that. What I am not okay with is the selective application of principles.
As a fan, I understand the reluctance of wanting to get involved. Hell, I’m all for the community handing allegations over to the police and not making them public. That isn’t this community. This last year has shown a community that is willing to speak out on sexual assault. Yet, when Mang0 gets accused of domestic violence? We don’t need no drama, guys!
The swing away from principles was astonishing to watch in real time. As a fan, I understood why so many just wanted to turn their head away. As a journalist, I refuse to let this go by without a report of some kind.
I am not advocating for action of any kind. At the time of writing, Lauren has made her twitter public. She has claimed that the matter is being handled privately. If this is in the legal system, then they will handle it. If the charges were dropped, then that is what happened. Rather, I saw that this incident was being passed by. So, I’m publishing what I wrote. Because it may be the only writeup of what even happened.