Statement on Venia
Venia verbally threatened me at a Smash Ultimate local on September 20th, 2019. I have attended AON Gaming on Long Island hundreds of times for Melee over the last few years without incident and always supported the venue. By 2019, I was burnt out and playing for fun since I just dropped out of grad school and needed a distraction.
I attended one Smash Ultimate local when the game first came out, but didn't decide to go to another one until months later. My friend (who I will not name) invited me to celebrate my birthday with him at AON. I was still burnt out, I still wanted to focus on Melee, but it was my birthday and Ultimate sounded enticing enough so I went.
I got there, and a TO told me I would be in bracket for free just go ahead and enjoy myself. So I went ahead and entered bracket.
When my first match was called, I walked over to the TO desk and was greeted with a smile. My next opponent was someone I've played in Melee before supposedly, and he was excited for a rematch of sorts. We walked over to our setup and started the set.
My opponent needed a rest before Game 3, so we relaxed for a brief moment. Someone else walked in the venue basically yelling as loud as he could across the room on his way to the setup across from ours. So as the game loaded, he asked me if I wanted to play it out, wait, or quit out, insinuating to me he was uncomfortable from the loud yelling across the table. As the "top player" in the situation I addressed the strangers calmly, "excuse me, can you stop yelling (we're trying a play our match)" and I use parentheses because I was basically being yelled over before I finished my first sentence.
Here's a basic summary of his tirade against me (which I had literally no chance of rebuttal because he was screaming, as loud as he possibly could, the entire time):
"Excuse me? Excuse you! Do you even know who I am? <Friend>? hey <other friend> does he know who I am? I don't think you know who I am? Who are you? Huh? Who are you? Telling me to shut up?" (Loud)
At this point like, I never told him to shut up. All he heard me say was like "excuse me" and "can you please not yell etc." but he obviously was waiting to get called out for yelling. He yells across the room "Hey Zacky, hear that? This kid doesn't want me to yell. I guess I'll start yelling more then." Then he leans over nearly the whole table and starts smacking the monitor we're playing on and mocking us, saying "you don't need this" and "what if I turned your screen around like this" and was yelling at my face as close as he could get, probably trying to get me to react. He was completely inane, screaming shit like "Ahhhh! Ahhh!" My opponent looks over to me as he continues his tirade, and points saying, "Want me to get a TO?" I say no not yet.
He then goes "Hello? HELLO? HELLO? HELLO? HELLO??? LOOK AT THIS GUY." My response: "please stop..." At this point, his chest is puffed out and he's like addressing the entire room at this point:
"TELLING ME TO SHUT UP? TELLING ME TO SHUT THE FUCK UP? SHAME ON YOU. YOU KNOW WHAT, YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP." "LOOK AT HIM, SO QUIET, HE KNOWS HE'S WRONG." "STUPID BITCH" "FUCKING PUSSY"
I felt so pathetic I just looked down. Where were my friends to defend me? Why was everyone in this venue a bystander to this? Is this how we treat our top players? What kind of community is this?
<I quietly say "stop being an asshole..." under my breath and surprisingly he hears me and tries to like accuse me of verbally harassing him. Not like anyone gave a shit...>
He just kept going. On an absolute fucking tirade. I never even brought up my birthday. I asked my opponent permission to pause our set, and I got someone (a TO) to identify my verbal attacker as Venia. This was a very public thing that happened, so I am sure this may ring a bell to others that were there. By the time I was standing up to report it he would be calling me a "Pussy, Pussy, Pussy, Pussy, Pussy, PUSSY, PUSSY, STUPID BITCH, STUPID BITCH, DUMB BITCH, STUPID FUCKING BITCH yeah go report it to the TOs! Bitch!" I turn back as he says that last part and he's smiling wide and big.
The amazing part is the first time a TO asked him he shook his head and goes "Nah." And the TO walked straight up to me and tried to tell me it's not him. It's shit like that that is the problem. I tell this kid to get me a real TO, one that isn't going to sympathize with him. No wonder people didn't speak out. This guy is their top player, to them I am not at all.
This is my story and my way of trying to potentially give people more perspective. Thanks for reading, sorry for taking so long, this has been keeping me up at night and I feel the need to speak up. I have never experienced verbal abuse so direct and of this nature in Melee, as I have with Venia. This guy was yelling in my face. We "met" that day, on my birthday. He had no reason to go so far and say those things. It is embarrassing and any of his anger was baseless. I just want my story heard.
Anyone who is speaking for good, thank you.