“Overwatch” Contenders team Second Wind announced a recently signed female player known as Ellie was, in fact, an imposter.
In a statement released over Twitter, Second Wind says they were notified by Blizzard of news that their former teammate, known as Ellie, “was not who they claimed to be… and discovered that the Ellie account was used for purposes we do not support”.
The team identifies several issues that led to the identity of “Ellie” going unverified even after her signing to the team in late 2018. Near the time of her signing, Second Wind had lost one team member and were staring down a deadline to submit their new team roster.
Second Wind “desperately needed to find a substitute,” the statement reads.
“As a team, we have always had faith in the leaderboard when it comes to scouting for players, and in our search for a new player we found Ellie as rank four in the North American servers. Our team members had played with them in the competitive ladder several times and saw them to be very skilled with a deep hero pool.”
“Due to our need to fill a main position as well, a closing in deadline for roster submissions, and our team having experience with the player, we extended an offer to play on Second Wind as a substitute. When we originally contacted Ellie, there was nothing that would spark suspicion. They seemed to be very genuine and willing to work with us on calls and within private messages. Due to the fact that we do not have any physical contact with our players, we wanted to verify their identity but also wanted to respect their privacy as well. We genuinely had no idea of what was to come, and at the time we underestimated how important it would be to set an example as the first team to take on a female player for Contenders.”
Following the announcement, Second Wind began receiving questions regarding the legitimacy of her identity. The team says it reached out to Blizzard early on to help verify the identity of the player and “calm the suspicions about our newest player”.
“During this time, we worked with Ellie to improve their public presence by prepping them for interviews, streams, and encouraging an environment where they could play with other team members publicly. This unfortunately fell through due to Ellie opting out for ‘personal reasons’ we did not want to press them for.”
“As a team, we admit we handled this poorly. More could have been done to support our players, but we had found ourselves unprepared for the attention Ellie got upon their onboarding; we had full faith in them. Due to our desperation to fill a roster, we unfortunately overlooked crucial information that should have been paid more attention to. We did not properly allocate enough time to communicate with the public as a means to support our players, and as a result caused more questioning that could have been avoided.”
On Wednesday, Second Wind announced that “Ellie” had left the team following threats of doxxing.
The user first signed to the team of aspiring professional players on Dec. 21, 2018. One day later, a tweet from the user’s personal account showed screenshots of a Discord chat where one user suggests doxxing her — or revealing personal information including an address and phone number which is often used for harassment.
Neither Second Wind nor Blizzard has named the person behind the Ellie account; However, new claims suggest “Ellie” is actually a man known online as “Punisher”.
“Overwatch” streamer Becca “Aspen” Rukavina took to Twitch to claim “Punisher” was in fact “Ellie” and that this was an ill-advised “social experiment” that got out of hand.
“Ellie is not Ellie,” she said during the stream. “The whole situation was meant to be, in a way, a social experiment. Ellie is actually Punisher, and he told me yesterday, so there you go.”
“After investigating the matter, we found that “Ellie” was a fabricated identity and is a smurf account – created by a veteran player to obfuscate their identity,” an “Overwatch” eSports spokesperson told Variety. “The owner of Ellie’s account is a player with no current or prior involvement with any “Overwatch” Contenders or “Overwatch” League team. “Ellie” was never formally submitted to the active roster of Second Wind and never played in a Contenders match.”
“As part of the process to officially add a player to a Contenders or “Overwatch” League roster, we do background checks to ensure that players are who they say they are as well as meet other eligibility requirements, and will take action against players if we discover any behavior that warrants it.”