My thoughts on Samsora
CW/TW: sexual assault, sexual misconduct, grooming
A fair amount of people have been asking me about the Samsora situation and why I and others didn't speak on it. I will talk about it here and also want to talk about the reasons why i, and possibly others, have been hesitant to speak on it. It would've been like a 15-20 tweet thread so I'm making this instead
I think it is fair to say that there is a noticeable difference between Samsora (knowing about Zack/Ally and Zack/Nairo) and Zack (being the actual perpetrator of sexual assault on Nairo [Assuming we believe nairo, which I personally do]). I don't feel it is fair to put Samsora in the same category of people who committed sexual assault, sexual harassment, grooming, and stuff like that. However, the more I think about it (and my opinion has changed several times in the past few months), being aware of and not reporting 2-3 minor/adult relationships, being Ally, Nairo, MattyG, is REALLY bad and endangered a minor, Zack. Obviously I believe that Zack is the predator in at least the Nairo situation, but that doesn't mean that at the time Samsora shouldn't have been more responsible and reported it. I don't know if he is a danger to anyone else, but that pattern is worrying and i don't know how likely it is that this pattern could continue. The decision to ban him doesn't fall on me, and my opinion of this situation has changed drastically each time new information comes out so it could change again. I definitely have spoken about this to people privately even since September, but I didn't have a concrete opinion on what i felt about it enough to make my own statements, so I instead chose to boost Tamim and Samsora's twitlongers.
As for why I haven't said anything up until now, MVD already touched on this on his twitter and I wanna echo his sentiment. Many of those who talked about issues in the scene, whether it was amplifying victims' accusations/stories, thinking about ways to make minors safer from all the grooming that has happened in the scene, talking about the rampant misogyny in the scene, has been met with A LOT of harassment. Any time I would see people stand up for women or victims, regardless of how much the community likes them, they would receive harassment. People were more concerned with debating and being "right", or making memes, or "dunking" on whoever, instead of looking at the bigger picture which is that the scene is unsafe and has a pervasive culture that allows a lot of bad stuff to happen within it. No matter what the topic, as long as social issues were brought up, harassment by a ton of people ensued.
Here I'm gonna speak from my own experience, and I don't speak for everyone. This is not lumping in criticisms for my past mistakes and failures, those critiques are warranted. Outside of that, I've received a lot of harassment from the community for pushing it to be better. It is incredibly mentally and emotionally draining, causes a ton of anxiety, makes me disinterested in the online Smash community, and honestly just makes it difficult to want to tweet anything important. I know I'm not the only figurehead that feels this way, and to have it happen when we are trying to discuss important issues like predatory behaviors, grooming, and sexual assault while trying to protect people and make the scene better makes it difficult. We have been told we are speaking too quickly, we need to wait, we need to see both sides, why are you jumping on people so strongly, why did you believe zack and not nairo, etc. There is a culture on Smash twitter where people are more concerned with being correct than for the safety of members in the scene which should ALWAYS be the priority.
Samsora's situation, in my opinion, is a lot harder to navigate than many of the situations we've faced before. We aren't equipped to mediate criminal cases, we are literally only able to decide who can and can not play smash. I think there are some situations that are out of the scope of what the scene can handle. I do think that Samsora's involvement in Zack's situation has dangerous implications, or at the very least was negligent in a way that lead to dangerous situations. I believe that bans should always, first and foremost, be in the interest of the victims and protecting others in the scene.
We all need to use our energy to help better the scene and protect the people in it. That includes victims and it includes potential future victims. The scene will not be the way it was before the pandemic because a lot of people, including myself, are realizing just how enabling the Smash scene was, and that has allowed a lot of traumatic events to happen to a large numnber of people. Instead of worrying about who is right or wrong, let's worry about people not being hurt in the first place.