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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

How The Media Botched The Bocchi Bullying Debacle

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Or, why you shouldn't go repeating that the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate community chased a 15-year old girl away.

Since the beginning of July (or before), you may have read this on places outside of KoopaTV: The collective Super Smash Bros. competitive community is horrible. They're bringing stench. They're bringing crabs. They're rapists. And some, we assume, are good people. But as a whole, at least half are deplorables. They're racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic... you name it.

In our evidence-based quest for promoting individualism, we've avoided such ghastly generalisations on KoopaTV. But they're unavoidable if you venture outside of here, and they're driven by lazy media narratives and the lowest-of-effort identity politics.

In this article, I'm going to discuss how the media treated the Super Smash Bros. community with the story of Bocchi, who appears to be a sweet 15-year old Isabelle player who beat one of the most established Super Smash Bros. players, Ally. I'll direct most of my judgment and criticism towards the media instead of the minor (though if the media is being contributed to by minors, then so be it). ...But not all.

Warning: This article contains uncensored slurs. ...From the 15-year old.

The Bocchi vs. Ally Battle

The story begins in mid-June, at a reoccurring New York local.

Ally is a super-good Snake player who has been using him since Super Smash Bros. Brawl. You can see in that video that Bocchi, a relatively unknown Isabelle player, beat him in a minor local tournament. Isabelle is commonly seen as one of the characters with the least potential in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (while Snake is one of the best), but she managed to win due to Isabelle's somewhat unique characteristics that let her counter Snake. Bocchi did a good job knowing her character, and pulled a clutch, upset victory. Ally did a good job adapting, too.

Side note: After this match happened, Ally retired from competitive Super Smash Bros. Ultimate upon confirming that he was in a relationship with Captain Zack, that Bayonetta player from Super Smash Bros. For Wii U back at EVO 2018. This is a problem because of their ages (Ally has 12 years on Zack) and some murkiness/disgust around age of consent (16 is legal in Canada where Ally lives, but not in Louisiana where Captain Zack lives).

The Bullying Claim and Media Reports

On July 3, Bocchi wrote on her Twitter account that she's been getting a lot of negative attention due to her victory, presumably from Ally fans, and a lot of it seemed to be gender-tinged and sexist. She was expressing regret that she ever took the victory because she couldn't deal with all of the fame and attention she was getting. In fact, she said she'd quit Twitter (well, that's not a bad thing—especially now that Twitter got redesigned to be even more garbage) and perhaps the entire competitive scene.

Here's the problem: Bocchi offered no examples of this bullying actually taking place. All we had was her word. No quotes, screenshots, hyperlinks, or anything. Just that she was upset about how she has been treated. Because there's an #IBelieveHer culture. (Not sure if that's an actual hashtag.)

Usually when people make accusations, they either name a specific person because they want to destroy them, or they actually provide some proof. Even Anita Sarkeesian, to back up her statements about being harassed by a big social media mob, provided some irrefutable screenshots labeled One Week of Harassment on Twitter to show the world she wasn't making that stuff up. And hey, I even got harassment for publishing Defend Anita Sarkeesian, so there's definite truth to that.

But Bocchi accused the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate community at large, with no evidence. Not a person. A community can't defend itself. Only individuals can. That makes a community a very easy target, and gets individuals to say things like #NotAllSmashPlayers. Because rather than defend the community (can you really defend an entire community, filled with people you can't personally vouch for?) it's best to distance yourself from it. And no one's going to doubt your claim, because if you do, you're a bad person and you must be part of this horrible community that bullies little girls.

Just check out these three websites that reported on the matter. These sites were all cited by people discussing the story outside of Twitter, on various forums and other social media. 
  1. MSpoweruser: Smash Ultimate fans bully 15-year-old who beat pro player 
  2. Super Smash Bros. Community Bullies 15-Year-Old Girl For Beating Pro
  3. 15 Year Old Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Player Bullied for Beating Pro 

These stories feature body-lines such as, 

“Despite her win eventually bringing out a bad audience, her victory was celebrated locally.”
“some people online reacted negatively and decided to bully Bocchi on Twitter and in her livestreams. The bullying, which included sexist comments, got so bad that Bocchi at one point considered retiring from streaming and playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate competitively altogether.” 
“As you can see, the harassment and negative attention got so bad that Bocchi had to take a break from streaming and social media,” 
“Again, the Super Smash Bros. community has a track-record that includes some rotten things, so, sadly, this isn't very surprising. And, as you will know, the harassment of top female players and pros is still a prevalent problem that impacts all competitive games.”

All of these media outlets are more than capable, at least according to their respective About Us pages, of applying some degree of skepticism when reporting their stories. You see, a journalist isn't supposed to just take someone's word for it. They're supposed to investigate and dig for the truth. These websites aren't journalistic and are not reliable or to be trusted. They don't care about the truth. They care about pushing their narratives, whether or not those are based on any facts. They also care about advertisement revenue through any means necessary, and you can see on those sites a whole host of advertisements.

I can tell you that, as someone who isn't a journalist, I've spent the past three weeks repeatedly scouring Twitter's search function for any public harassment towards Bocchi in the time period she specified. There wasn't anything that was bullying behaviour. Instead, I found overwhelming congratulations, support, and positivity for Bocchi. Whenever I encountered someone discussing the incident on social media or a gaming forum, I asked them if they had any examples of the bullying taking place. Their responses ranged from an honest “No, I just am repeating what I heard from the news” to them linking me to one of the aforementioned news sites that did not provide any evidence of Bocchi's claims outside of her generalised, evidence-free statement. 

If you actually look into Bocchi's previous public statements, you can get the very quick impression that she's easily triggered by things, including people talking about her opinions of the Isabelle-Snake match-up in her presence. Which, if you're one of the random people, is a normal thing to do if you think about it. If you're in a tournament and you're spectating, and a player you recognise is on the stage playing and you're talking to other people next to you, yeah, maybe you'll talk about what or who you're watching.

I'm not saying Bocchi didn't get bullied. But I am saying that you can't accept it as the absolute truth without any proof. And the media should know better. In fact, some sites (Kotaku, Polygon) that I would have expected to have written garbage on this topic have avoided it entirely. Credit to them. Unfortunately, other sites spread this, and it reached a lot of corners of the community that it should never have. I personally (because I'm a reliable trusted source) even got asked by the Battlefy guys what was going on with this story and if their Nintendo-sponsored tournament had anything to do with it, which it didn't.

And now people will use this as yet another incident to attack the Super Smash Bros. community with, even if it may not have ever happened. But wait... there's more.

The “Bocchi is a Racist” Claim

At the end of last week, some evidence did actually appear. ...Of a completely different side of Bocchi. The narrative is now that Bocchi is a racist, and very much unlike her claims of being bullied, there's a screenshot to give credibility to the claim that she is a racist. (Archived version here.) To be exact, as recently as October 2018 (before the June 2019 tournament match with Ally, obviously), she was quoted as saying “fuck niggers” and “I love dick and lynch niggers”. It's unclear what that last message actually means because it's grammatically incoherent, but so is everything else Bocchi writes on her Twitter account, so that checks out. Assuming it's a joke, it's not really funny to use lynching as a punchline. And it's really not funny when it's written so poorly.

Bocchi's defence is that she was an immature 14-year old at the time, but that's a bizarre excuse when she's currently 15. Still, I don't think she's a racist. An idiot with poor judgment and poor grammar, yes, but not a racist. That's basically how I feel about President Donald John Trump, and I voted for him, so that's not the worst place to be.

What I won't forgive Bocchi for is the use of identity politics regarding gender. I haven't mentioned it yet, but Bocchi is biologically male. At some point in her life, she transitioned to a female. (None of the other media sources have mentioned this, by the way. They're content saying the Super Smash Bros. community are sexist monsters who bully little innocent girls.)

Bocchi Isabelle player transgender transfemale trans male to female bocchibelle
“Yes, i am trans”
“Straight. I'm also trans soooo yeet. Trans female who likes dude lol.”
“I'm also a very emotional girl, being a teenager is actually the worst especially in an extremely male dominated community it's very weird.”

But Bocchi is attacking the male members of the community—or at least that's how the media is portraying it. Despite, you know, biologically being one of them. I guess she outgrew it and has absolved herself of the sin of being a guy.

If you're mature enough to decide to take actions in expressing your transgender-ness, you're mature enough to know that saying “lynch niggers” is... dumb. Actually believing the sentiment behind that is morally wrong, though I'm not convinced that anyone involved in this story does believe that sentiment. I'm just convinced the media enjoys making certain communities look awful to make themselves look fantastic, and they picked a pretty flawed person to get behind.

By the way, a guy died at a New York tournament that included Super Smash Bros. over the weekend (Defend the North 2019), though he was more of a Street Fighter fellow. The media is mostly silent on that, but that is an on-going investigation where a lot of the initial Twitter reports were incorrect, so that's a bit justified. As for this story, have you heard about it? Have you been provided any examples of this bullying taking place? Do you agree with Ludwig that people should have to provide evidence or at least names before having their accusations believed? Are you less forgiving than Ludwig is regarding what Bocchi said about lynching? Ludwig would also like to disclose that KoopaTV also exists to push a narrative, but KoopaTV is guided by the values of truth & levity because there doesn't need to be any fake news created to drive that narrative. He added the three bad media sources he wrote about in this article to KoopaTV's Shit List. ALSO, if you have evidence of this bullying occurring, please tell Ludwig in the comments section so then KoopaTV can be home to something that other media outlets are not.

1 comment :

  1. Now that I think about it, there are a TON of similarities between Bocchi and President Donald John Trump.

    Both made surprising underdog (Isabelle, much less fundraising) wins against establishment figures (Ally, Hillary Clinton). Both like to make claims of victimhood without providing evidence (harassed, election/investigations rigged like only lost popular vote because of 3 million illegals or whatever). Both accused of being a racist.

    The only difference is that only Sean Hannity takes President Donald John Trump's word on everything. With Bocchi, that's the whole media.


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