A female “Overwatch” Contenders player stepped down from North American team Second Wind just weeks after signing, following harassment and doxxing threats from some members of the game’s community.
Ellie first signed to the team of aspiring pro-players on Dec. 21, 2018, according to an announcement on the team’s official Twitter account. “We’re happy to announce @ellie_ow will be the newest addition to our roster for this season of Contenders!” reads the tweet.
One day later, Ellie tweeted 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. “It’s doxxing time,” reads the chat message, “not for malicious intent[. J]ust to figure shit out.”
Ellie first became a target for commenters following her quick rise to a top 10 rank position for damage per second in the game. Suspicious users pointed to her account’s single bronze star to suggest the account holder is smurfing or using a boosted account. Others have noted that Ellie is the only player on the Second Wind player roster to not have her legal name listed on the official “Overwatch” Contenders website, leading some to believe she is being dishonest about her identity.
The news of her departure was announced in a statement on the official Second Wind Twitter account. “Unfortunately, due to some unforeseen reactions, Ellie has opted to step down from the team,” the tweet reads. “We hope you continue to support her in her ventures in “Overwatch” as we will.”
Second Wind team owner Justin Hughes also made his thoughts known over Twitter. While Hughes offers no specific account for what led to Ellie’s departure, he says that threats from some in the “Overwatch” community played a role.
“When we brought her onto the team, people acted like we had brought on a symbol of empowerment,” writes Hughes. “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.”
Variety reached out to Ellie and Second Wind for comment.