My Experience with Rigz
Hi, my name is milkche, but more people call me Cheri. I want to preface this twitlonger with my first twitlonger (https://twitter.com/milkche_/status/1277185412805677056?s=20). I initially mentioned that I was not going to reveal the identities of these people, but upon realizing that other women in nyc and long island have been sexually harassed by Rigz (was once @/rairigz on twitter but he deactivated) as well, I knew that my experiences were not an isolated incident. I am writing this not only for me and my fellow victims, but for any woman trying to join the smash community. They do not deserve to be treated the way we have been treated.
I don’t remember the specifics of how or when (probably within the first month of my smash career) I met Rigz but he simply introduced himself to me as Jul (@/artisticallyjul)’s brother. The interaction was pretty simple, nothing too elaborate.
I only realized things got a little out of hand when Yvi, a close friend of mine who I met through @frenchtutor’s server discord, came to visit New York. To commemorate her visit, French hosted a big brunch event with active members of his discord and those interested in meeting Yvi, amongst them was Rigz. I should mention that this was probably the first time I actually interacted with him for more than 5 mins. After brunch, I proposed we go karaoke (excluding French, Lonesome, Dara, and Yvi) just to hang out.
~ karaoke (10/13/2019)
On the way to karaoke, me and Rigz ended up sharing some good convo and becoming friends. As mentioned in my first twitlonger, I wanted to be friends with anyone so I opened myself to befriending Rigz. We went karaoke with a bunch of people in which Rigz sat right next to me. In the room, he constantly put his hands on my thighs, butt, his arm was always around my waist, or around my neck. At first I thought it was just in the mood of things but at the same time, with the exception of the first introduction mentioned previously, I’ve NEVER interacted with him, let alone held hands and got touched like that by him. My friends initially didn’t see the problem, which got me unmotivated to not say anything and brushed off the experience entirely.
You can ask Henry/@extra_o_ssb or, if you want, Brandon/ZeroTwoNone (I know how unreliable he is as a source right now, but he was in the room where it happened.) Both of them were right in front of me when it happened.
https://imgur.com/a/ERSP4EQ -- this screenshot hurt to look at. I really just wanted to make friends.
Upon talking about this incident with French and Yvi, they IMMEDIATELY told me that it was sexual harassment. I was confused at first because I thought he was just trying to be friends. French and Yvi both said that since I am 20 and he is 22, it’s no longer just “friendly cuddling.” Below is a screenshot of me explaining to a friend.
I think I was just way too focused on making a new friend rather than realizing what exactly was happening. I ignored it completely, partly because my own friends didn’t think it was a problem and I was just scared.
~ xeno halloween (10/30/2020)
A couple weeks passed and it was finally xeno halloween! I was super excited. I was dressed as Umaru from Himouto Umaru-chan and I even had the chips and coca cola. I also had some cool fansigns for Utopian Ray <3 and Jul that I really wanted to give.
Utoray fansign: https://twitter.com/milkche_/status/1189753413195747328?s=20
Jul fansign: https://twitter.com/milkche_/status/1189752535311097856?s=20
I had a lot of fun honestly! Well, until Rigz came by to me. He approached me and said hi before kissing me there. I was mortified. I was having such a fun day until I suddenly got kissed by someone I barely knew. I spoke about it with Andrew/Shyguy when I got home.
I really tried to suppress this moment. I never even dated anybody prior to this incident, let alone romantically held hands with anybody. Imagine how I felt getting kissed by someone I didn’t know. I really really REALLY tried to forget about it but when I went home, I called a friend and broke down.
Broke down not because I got kissed or touched, but broke down because I no longer knew my place in the smash community. I wanted to make friends, I wanted to share art, I wanted to play the game. A couple weeks prior to this event, I drew my first PR graphic for New York (https://twitter.com/NYPowerRanking/status/1183095011468070912?s=20)
I was and am SO proud of my work; I incorporated fansigns and worked hard to draw each player and character to the best of my ability. I kinda suck at the game but I thought that I could finally give back to a community that I loved so much with my drawings.
But even before this incident, I was sexually harassed and hit on by multiple people in the smash community. I began to question my own self-worth and if the lack of respect I’ve been given was justifiable. I hate how I stopped dressing so nice and stopped attending tourneys under the excuse of school in fear of harassment. I hate how I couldn’t trust meeting new people because I didn’t want them to think my kindness was a means for them to get too comfortable. I hate how I no longer felt welcomed in the smash community.
While still at Xeno Halloween I mentioned to Brandon/ZTN that I wanted to go to Encore (Westchester tourney) the next day. I forgot the reason why but it was important that I went that day. Brandon said we could take a train but later on he said that he hooked us up with a carpool.
… A carpool with eviL, Jul, and Rigz. I just cried because of Rigz the night before but I still persisted.
I want to add this disclaimer once again, most of my screenshots have Brandon/ZeroTwoNone as a witness. Although I do not agree with his choices over the past couple weeks, he and Andrew/Shyguy were some of the only people I could rely on during these events.
In this screenshot, I asked Brandon to sit in the middle of the car if Rigz were to sit in the back, in which he did. It’s ok if you don’t think Brandon is a reliable source: focus on my words instead.
https://imgur.com/a/koVajXK thank you, brandon.
I thought that was enough, but I was WRONG. Despite Brandon being in the middle of the back seat, Rigz still reached over Brandon to caress, play, and touch my hair. I tried to move away but I was restricted. Brandon, with a throbbing headache (and bad car sickness), kept maneuvering himself to get Rigz to stop.
I wish I could just grab his arm and tell him to stop. I wish I could’ve spoken up. I wish I did something. I didn’t want to cause a scene in the car, but still. I really regret thinking back on it.
The entirety of Encore, I was attached to either Brandon or Andrew depending on who was available. The moment I was left alone, Rigz would always try to get near me but luckily I was never left alone for long. I always had “something to show on my phone in private” to Brandon and Andrew always “helped me get water.”
Honestly, I can never thank you guys enough for that.
~ return to yoshi’s island + after
Return to Yoshi’s Island was an event in and of itself, but it was the day that Jul approached me with Venia and Brandon about the events that happened at Encore and the car. And I was… shocked. I never told them. But yeah Brandon is a notorious loud mouth (sorry) and said it to them.
I’m not going to address outing my story without my permission but Brandon speaking out for me did create some change.
Before I go further, I want to mention that I am a big fan of Jul and I’m pretty sure he’s aware of this, too. I play Robin and his Robin was something I loved to watch even before joining tourneys. I know better now to not idolize my favorite players but back then I was still getting myself woven into the smash community.
Jul speaking to me directly scared the living shit out of me. I wanted to cry… which I did when I left the venue to cry in the parking lot for a while. I texted Andrew how I felt about jul and venia knowing: https://imgur.com/a/weMXKmS
I spoke to Malachi/Lonesome about it as well. He walked outside of AON for a good 30-40 minutes with me and talked to me about everything. He helped me clear my mind so much. Thank you so much. He left early, but these are my thoughts and his words of advice:
I don’t know what happened after this honestly, did Jul’s words reach Rigz? Because Rigz cut all contact with me, maybe with the occasional hi here and there. Was it because I started dating my boyfriend? I wasn’t sure. I never got answers.
He deleted his twitter and for some reason, it really got me mad. He was supposed to have a convo with Kingarc about matters but decided to dip when things got tough. I was… angry. Me and Yvi were angry, but it still wasn’t enough for me to make a statement.
When I became aware that a girl from Long Island was also harassed by Rigz, I knew that it wasn’t just me and it wasn’t JUST going to be me. I couldn’t help but think about other girls who might want to join the scene. I didn’t want them to doubt the smash community and its members like I did.
It hurt reading through old messages, it hurt seeing how impressionable I was and how much I was taken advantage of because I wanted to make FRIENDS. It hurt seeing me change myself and continue to doubt people because of these experiences. It hurt that prior to writing this, I broke down in tears. I kept asking myself so many questions.
What did I do to deserve this? Do I deserve this? Is it because I’m a girl? Would things have been different if I were a guy? Would things have been different if I dressed differently or if I didn’t style my hair or anything? To some extent, I still do believe this.
If I could feel this way, then any girl in esports and fgc could feel this way. I may not be a big voice or someone big in the NYC smash scene, but I AM someone in this community.
And to Jul... if you’re reading this, I’m sorry. I didn’t write this to hurt you or Rigz. I’m doing this to stand up for the women in smash and help create a safer community.
Thank you very much for reading.
I want to finish this twitlonger with a photo of my fansign and kind words that Malachi wrote on the back of it.