The Continued, Puzzling Elevation of Infiltration

(UPDATE 7/4/21: The piece has been updated to reflect more recent scandals involving Seon-woo Lee and is more reflective of my current opinion on the matter.)

With respect to Samuel Coleridge, the case of Seon-woo “Infiltration” Lee has become an albatross around my neck.

For those unfamiliar, Lee, a former Evolution world champion and highly popular member of the fighting game community, physically assaulted his wife in 2017, and once the information was revealed in late 2018 by an anonymous Reddit poster, Lee was dropped by his sponsor, Panda Global, and he voluntarily removed himself from competition in the 2019 Capcom Pro Tour. Lee did not attend another big tournament for roughly a year before he returned to the international stage by winning the Samurai Shodown tournament at Evolution 2019 to thunderous applause, including a fawning tweet from the tournament itself.

He began competing regularly again, starting with Evo Japan in January of 2020 and consistently participating in events as the COVID-19 pandemic forced FGC events to go online. In March of 2021, Lee was embroiled in scandal again when an online beginner’s tournament for Street Fighter V he hosted was revealed to have been won by experienced players who had hopped to SFV and merely had low ranked accounts. The players were interested in the prize money the event offered, courtesy of sponsor AfreecaTV, and Lee advised them on the best way to remain eligible for the tournament. Following a derisive speech on his stream, Lee gave a formal public apology on a popular Korean gaming forum.

The collective shrug from the majority of the front-facing FGC influencers and pundits on the matter is to a degree understandable, but nevertheless a source of constant disappointment. Despite a seemingly zealous commitment to “cleaning up” the FGC, few have felt the need to comment on someone who, when given the power to do so, has taken advantage of players in the Korean FGC by both cheating them out of a fair tournament and trying to make them financially responsible for his public embarrassments. Unfortunately, no matter how many large threads are shared that detail the latest information, with translations and links to the original stories, I will hear many people refer to Lee as someone who was unfairly judged by the court of public opinion, “cancelled” for having done something that he did not. This is categorically false.

What explains the dissonance? A conversation with someone who has helped me in this endeavor brought forth a valid critique: I, and others like me, are at times too interested in insulting naysayers rather than educating folks about this information, with the facts laid bare. Indeed, there has been enough twists and turns in the stories that grappling with it is truly difficult, even though I have full confidence in my argument. First I’d like to plainly state the exact truths of Lee’s actions, then debunk common narratives I see across social media with the information and facts that exist. I know that not everyone who reads this will take it in good faith, but I hope those that are on the fence do, because I think this is an important topic. If a community as whole, or any sub-community, is to truly fight toxic elements from within, the first step is understanding why this kind of behavior cannot go unchecked, unquestioned, or unheard, especially amongst its elite.

The Facts

  • On October 22, 2017, Lee and his then-wife (Ms. X) got into a physical altercation that required police intervention. Lee was taken into police custody and Ms. X was granted a temporary restraining order. The altercation was recorded on an audio-recording device.
  • In the early morning of the following day, Lee confessed to committing a crime during police interrogation
  • After charges are filed against him by his Ms. X on November 13, 2017, Lee goes before a judge on November 30, 2017. After reviewing the application from his ex-wife and his interrogation transcript, Lee is issued a fine of 700,000 Won ($630 USD)
  • In 2018 and 2019, Lee attempted to press charges against both Ms. X and 8 posters on the Korean forum DC Inside Fighting Game Gallery for allegedly leaking the initial information about his crimes to the public. None of those parties were found to have committed these alleged libelous crimes
  • On March 21, 2021, Lee hosted an online SFV tournament, sponsored by AfreecaTV with a cash prize. After speculation that some of the players were not actual ranked beginners, Lee harshly criticized the Korean FGC on his stream, referring to them as “assholes.” Subsequent leaked DM’s showed Lee telling high-ranking members of his Discord to purposefully stop ranking up so they could compete in the tournament. Lee apologizes via DC Inside on March 29, 2021

These are the facts, with no spin or framing, as confirmed by Lee himself in posts and interviews done over the last couple years, as documentation later on in the article will show. Given these indisputable facts, there are a few talking points one hears across social media regarding Lee’s situation that ring totally hollow and are easily debunked. Below are some of the most common:

  • “Infiltration was found innocent!”

This is just factually wrong, but an understandable conclusion to reach based on what the first big release of information about the situation was.. One of the biggest issues with trying to inform people about this has been the investigation summary report put out by Panda (Formerly Panda Global), Lee’s former sponsor who took it upon themselves to thoroughly investigate the allegations against Lee, and ultimately cut ties after they turned out to be true.

So why, then, would people believe that Lee was innocent?

Panda doesn’t get a lot of scrutiny when discussing this case, most likely due to the extremely difficult position they were in. Their lengthy (months long) investigation went above and beyond what any run-of-the-mill e-Sports organization has done when looking into the behavior of one of its roster, and Panda has since continued to set the bar. The fact remains, however, that this was a gaming company performing human resources damage control as much as it was due diligence. As such, their goal was to present the information they obtained in a way that would exonerate them of any wrongdoing or ethical misstep while not running afoul of their player or, evidently, his legal counsel. 

Here is Panda’s description of what happened between Infiltration and Ms. X, taken from their investigation summary:

PG IS Infil 1

Perhaps you can see the issue. The way the summary is set up is “Allegation vs Truth,” as the original leak of this information included many erroneous claims that were very easily debunked. Unfortunately, it puts forth the impression that the information on the left is the lie, and the truth is on the right. In this context, “Player assaulted his wife” can be read as a falsehood vs the information on the right. In this reading Lee “did not contest the claims” only because of a “police recommendation in order to avoid a lengthy legal battle,” and it notes that Lee did not have legal counsel at the time. Lastly, Panda does manage to throw out that their team did not actually look at a police report that would have contained the factual information as reported by the arresting officers.

So right away, there is a noticeable shying away from the term “assault,” and the document goes out of its way to use neutral language – a “claim” of violence, an “altercation,” a “discussion” that preceded said altercation, etc.. It is totally within reason to read that as Lee not being able to contest trumped up charges due to his then-lack of access to legal resources. The only mention of any physical confrontation at all is the term “fought over their phone,” which again sands away the initial claims of “assault” into less menacing terminology.

But how accurate is that truly? Let’s look at both Lee and Ms. X’s interpretation of that night. Lee’s perspective is taken from an interview he did with gaming outlet IGN Korea back in September of 2019 (Translation lifted from a post on the Reddit forum r/Kappa):

Infil IGN Korea 1

Lee doesn’t deny that he put his hands on her or that he seized her phone from her without permission, although he writes it off as self-defense. He asserts that he was provoked into a confrontation, seemingly with ill intent, and that because he is stronger than her physically, his repeated attempts to defend himself left her injured and him without much damage.

On the flipside, here’s Ms. X in her interview with the Korean Economic Daily, a renowned South Korean newspaper, in October of 2019, following the IGN Korea interview. The translation is a little rough, but it paints a vivid picture:

Screenshot (228)

Ms. X claims that Lee dragged her around the living room and strangled her, threatening to kill her. She describes the incident as “[Lee] essentially tortured me.” Apparently the dragging was so bad that her clothes were ripped, and the paramedics who arrived to help her had to cover her up as they led her out their home. Notice too, that both Ms. X and Lee claimed paramedics came to look at her after the police were called, although they each dispute the degree of involvement. Nowhere in the PG summary does it mention paramedics arriving to tend to Ms. X.

Even if it is just a he-said-she-said, neither of the parties involved deny that there was a physical fight that got very heated and that one side was determined to be the aggressor. That alone should be enough to end any claim that Lee was “innocent,” although the ultimate proof is right there in the PG report:

PG IS Infil 2

Lee was charged and convicted of violence, which is akin to misdemeanor battery here in the US, and paid a fine for it. Simple as that. The crime was not invented out of thin air, and Lee himself admits that he accepted the charges pressed against him. A follow-up property dispute that was found in Lee’s favor does not change that underlying fact.

  • “Infiltration didn’t beat his wife, she wasn’t actually hurt that bad!”

This has far less merit than the previous argument, but it’s worth discussing because it’s repeated very often and highlights a clear problem with Panda’s investigation summary. Worth noting too that much of this is rhetorical – the phrase “beating his wife” or “wifebeater” are colloquially associated with whatever cultural image one has of a battered spouse or rampaging man: closed fists, a black eye, bruises all over, and, most importantly, sustained over a lengthy period of time and not just once. While these can all be valid associations, the truth is that assault has clear legal definitions, and it unfortunately doesn’t fit into a sensationalized image of what one imagines it to be like.

When the original leak happened, there were pieces of a transcript, taken from a recording the night in which the assault happened, floating about the internet. I won’t post them here, but there were some quotes that I think are worth remembering:

Lee: “Crawl. Crawl. Crawl.”

Lee: “It’s your life on the line [if] you keep provoking me.”

Lee: “I’ll make it so just the sight of me will make you wet yourself.”

Lee: “You want it bent until your bones get broken?”

Lee: “Hey calm down first.”

Ms. X:  “Why the fuck should I calm down you crazy fuck.”

Lee: “That wasn’t a suggestion you bitch it’s a threat. A command.”

Ms. X: “Stop choking me. It hurts. It really hurts.”

These transcripts, which correlate with a violent situation, were met with the appropriate shock and horror. Were they to be legitimate, it would paint Lee as not only someone who abused his wife, but someone who seemed to revel in making her plead for her life.

The reality is that these transcripts are legitimate. Panda, however, confirmed this in a very confusing way due to the document being soaked in HR and lawyer-approved language. From their investigation summary:

PG IS Infil 3

Right at the top on their “facts” side, we see “The excerpts are from an authentic certified document.” Again, that confirms the legitimacy of the transcripts that many people saw. However, PG does mention that “They were presented out of order,” and were missing “informative elements of the interaction.”

This is where it gets twisted. By having Panda note that the source of their fight was because Lee wanted a divorce and that they threatened to call the police on each other, along with Lee’s statement that he can’t be arrested if he wasn’t violent, doubt is cast, intentionally or not, on the legitimacy of the assault.

Curiously, many people seem to take the “out of order” blurb and extrapolate that into the leaked transcripts being untrue, which is not what the document is saying. The statement was meant to say that the scanned images weren’t collated; instead of pages 1, 2, and 3, we got 1, 5, and 9. I can understand why one could find that unfair for Lee if he’s presented in the worst possible way (this was probably intended by the leakers), but that does not change the content of the documents. PG even notes near the bottom that Lee’s lawyers had a 15-minute audio file, and “The transcript and audio file were confirmed to be the same.”

Lee himself does not dispute that the transcripts are fake, just that he feels he was unfairly characterized. He even admits to using the harsh language seen in the transcript and “attacking” her. Again from IGN Korea:

Infil IGN Korea 2_LI
Infil IGN Korea 3_LI

But where Panda really did a disservice is in the last two paragraphs in the summary above. First, the statement in the 3rd paragraph that “The contents of the document and corresponding audio are consistent with a domestic dispute” is more HR-compliant newspeak. Again, I can only surmise that the intent was to not come across as implying harmful intent on the part of Lee, so they intentionally avoided using the term “domestic assault,” “assault”.

Lastly, the 4th paragraph discusses the physical damage to Ms. X, which is obtained via a note from the hospital that treated her. Described as “bruising and an injury to the wrist,” Ms. X required no hospitalization, which is frequently used by dishonest actors to frame the assault as “not that bad.” Regardless, the real damage follows, where Panda makes a distinction that the brief note did not describe every detail about the injuries, and no photographic evidence was “submitted to court.”

That phrasing got many would-be legal experts to claim that because there was no evidence in a court of law, there was no telling if Lee was guilty or not. It is important to remember that there was no trial, and lawyers did not argue for or against this ruling in a trial setting, as confirmed a few screenshots up by Panda. There was no “evidence” to argue, because that wasn’t necessary; according to the Korean Economic Daily, in an article discussing Lee’s statements about his case, he appeared before a judge and received a sentence upon review of his confession during police interrogation. From a translation on r/Kappa:

KED Infil article 2

Even if there was no photographic evidence submitted, no one but Lee (the guilty party) is disputing that Ms. X had injuries consistent with domestic assault. Ms. X even believes that Panda and Lee downplayed the extent of her injuries. From the Korean Economic Daily again, still a rough translation:

Screenshot (348)

This is stating that there were bruises along her whole body and inflammation in the wrist, a condition known as tendonitis in which the tendons in one’s wrists are torn due to a sudden or repetitive injury. There was obvious physical harm done to Ms. X, and no one involved, not even Lee, denies that a level of physicality that could have caused injury was reached.

  • “Infiltration was framed!”

This is where the most egregious of Lee’s lies comes to fruition. Recall again that Lee stated to Panda who included it in their investigation summary, that he did not contest the charges against him on advice of the police who arrested him:

PG IS Infil 1

Lee further confirmed this to IGN Korea:

Infil IGN Korea 4.png

Lee further went on to say that he felt threatened into confessing, and that he only did so because the police told him exactly what his fine would be and that his criminal conviction would be legally stricken from his record in a few years. Also from IGN Korea:

Infil IGN Korea 4-1.png
Infil IGN Korea 2-1.png
Infil IGN Korea 5

While this certainly would help paint Lee in a more sympathetic light, the reality is that these were lies. It started with Ms. X, who hinted that the Korean police were thinking about bringing charges against Lee for libel. Again from the Korean Economic Daily:

Screenshot (348)

This was confirmed in the follow-up article from KED, where the police transcript is reviewed by the reporter as well as Lee’s claims about his sentencing:

KED Infil article 1
KED Infil article 2
KED Infil Article 3

Not one of his claims held up to even minor scrutiny from basic fact-checking. This should cast major doubt on not only the seriousness that Lee claims his arrest was treated with, but the legitimacy of almost any of the statements he’s given about this in the two years since it happened. Remember too that he lost a libel case against Ms. X, as stated here in the KED story about Ms. X:

Screenshot (229)

Roughly, she’s saying that 8 users of a Korean social media site and she were threatened with legal action since Lee claimed that she purposely leaked this information to damage his reputation, a crime in South Korea. She was able to prove her innocence, however, which may contribute to why she’s back to giving public statements again. One of Lee’s only defenses was that he was set up by Ms. X, but despite his “evidence,” none of that seemed to hold much water in the legal realm.

Far be it from me to blindly trust a police statement, but if not even the basic facts aren’t going to stand in Lee’s favor, then what credibility does this conspiracy theory really have? If the law, in many of his defender’s eyes, is so sacrosanct, then wouldn’t the fact that he was charged and found guilty of a crime, failed in filing a libel suit based on a lack of legal merit, and the cops are threatening a lawsuit over his public statements be incredibly damning?

  • “All the reporting was biased towards Ms. X”

This probably has the least basis in reality, but nevertheless it is seen more than one might think.

Once again, one can look at the Panda summary and find that, if anything, Ms. X isn’t represented remotely fairly. In debunking every single accusation that the unknown 3rd party levied against Lee in the initial leaks, Panda refuted a falsehood that Lee broke into his home and hurt Ms. X again:

Screenshot (155).png

While I agree that it was important to debunk false claims and establish that no violence was done to the victim again after the fact, Panda decided to include the intimate details of why Ms. X wasn’t going to let Lee back into the home based on his personal text message records. Unfortunately, this is all purely based on Lee’s account.

Panda’s claim is that its unbiased, but at every step, there are attempts to paint Ms. X as erratic and irrational. There is a section in the summary where Panda attempts to debunk the idea that Ms. X was “scared for her life”:

Screenshot (156).png

This is far and away the most ethically dubious part of this summary. Recall again Ms. X’s own words on the subject, from the KED interview:

Screenshot (228)

Scroll back up and read back the quotes from the transcript of the audio taken from that night. There was a very clear threat, in Lee’s words, toward Ms. X about the safety of her health and well-being. If one was thinking in the most myopic possible sense, then yes, it would seem odd that if all this really happened the way it appears, she probably would be trying to get away from him and not care about his well-being over hers.

And yet, domestic abuse is a funny thing. The National Domestic Violence Hotline website specifically lists a large number of reasons as to why someone would still pursue a relationship if there is abuse. Ms. X actually commented on this in the KED article:

Screenshot (349)

In Korea, the role of the family looms large over the culture. It is not unreasonable that the potential shame one could feel in leaving their spouse, even over abuse, would keep them from speaking up. And as the NDVH lists, cultural constraints and shame are both known reasons why someone might stay with an abusive spouse. To presume that she is not fearful for her life because of some unexpected behavior is not only ignorant, but also deeply biased in favor of the accused.

If the original PG document is starting to look like a carefully coached defense of Lee, there may be a reason for that. In the preamble of the investigation summary, PG breaks down who was helping them with their investigation, and one line, underlined in red, is pretty illuminating:

Screenshot (151)_LI

Lee’s personal counsel was reviewing any and all information and documents cited by Panda. This makes sense, especially since the information was going to be released publicly, but it does taint the document. Their job, by nature, is to defend a client, and that means that any claims which could incriminate him must be taken at its least charitable interpretation in order to prove his innocence. I don’t fault them, that’s the job, but there is a conspicuous absence of equal representation for Ms. X. According to Dr. Alan Bunney, Panda’s CEO, in a now-private YouTube video recounting the summary, there was an attempt made to reach out to her side, but no response was given.

I have no reason to believe that would be a lie, but it is hard to ignore that Ms. X herself, via Twitter, had this to say regarding that statement:

Ms X Twitter 1

She says that no contact was even attempted. Even if she were contacted, it is important to note that due to the way Korean law works in regards to defamation through slander or libel, one can face criminal charges for publicly releasing even true statements that are seen as defamatory. As mentioned earlier, Lee sued Ms. X for this very reason, claiming that she leaked the information to damage his character. As such, any public statement of hers could have ended badly for her, and it makes you wonder if she could have even contributed to the PG document without compromising her case. From a statement by Ms. X on Twitter:

InkedMs X Tweet 2_LI.jpg

I have no idea how one could even begin to justify the violence in this situation, but I understand why many people have their doubts that it happened at all. The Panda summary is woefully biased in favor of Lee, and the argument that this was all a smear is ludicrous.

Those tend to be the most common untruths about Lee that are seen whenever this case gets brought up, and all are fairly easily debunked just by looking at statements from both sides. The idea that Lee was framed, didn’t do anything wrong, and is in fact completely innocent should be put to rest where it belongs.

With all that being said, I think it’s fair to give credence to a very valid counterpoint: people can grow and change from their actions, he did lose out on some things for this, and a person’s private behaviors don’t indicate a public danger.

In spite of his actions in 2017, I do not think Lee, at any point now or in the future, would become violent towards someone at a fighting game event. Domestic abusers are a cowardly lot, and would usually only physically hurt someone that they could easily overpower and intimidate into silence. I don’t think anyone would be in any danger were he to attend a tournament, which he has several times since.

Lee withdrew from the Capcom Pro Tour for 2019, avoided most tournaments until roughly the summer of that year, and he lost out on a sponsor as well as his good standing in the community. These are not-insignificant losses, and I think there is a tendency for the online discourse to discount the fact that for him, this will never go away. The internet has a way of preserving history quickly and with brutal prejudice; until he deletes his account, Lee is going to be hounded by Twitter trolls and stream chats that he’s a wifebeater, and vice-versa for Ms. X. This also means that, as a person nearing 40 who has been a pro-gamer for most of his adult life, there is likely little opportunity career-wise for Lee elsewhere should his ability to monetize his indisputable skill at video games shore up. If a simple Google search could reveal this article, as an example, that would significantly impact his ability to pass a background check for any regular job. I think those truths are well worth taking into consideration, as is the notion that no one is inherently irredeemable and unable to move on from the mistakes they made, even abusers. Accountability is, unfortunately for the lovers of bread and circus on Twitter, a private act that is mostly beneficial for that person, and not measurable by any reasonable means. It’s easy to note that the inciting incident in this instance happened 4 years ago, and appears to be in a holding pattern for the past 2; this is an awful long time for someone to re-evaluate themselves and learn from their mistakes.

But what do you do if someone isn’t willing to put in the work to change?

At no point since the incidents came to public light has Lee shown any signs of acknowledging the harm he perpetuated. The lawsuits that followed the understandable disputes of private property rights are just one example of Lee trying to control the narrative, to silence Ms. X and others from commenting on what she knows to be true while he is afforded the right to do that freely. This has had a real effect; Ms. X described to KED that she is planning to counter-sue Lee because fans of his in the Korean FGC hound her over social media, which is where she posts reviews for her job:

Screenshot (230)

Everyone who says a bad thing about him is lying, the police mislead him, the press is out to get him, the FGC turned against him, etc. There’s always a convenient narrative but no book to ground it in. Panda couldn’t even have the decency to just let Lee rant on his own social media feed; in another blunder, they published a statement of him denying everything, even in the face of the overwhelming evidence that he was charged with a criminal act. He played the martyr, and it was incredulously published:

Even more damning is the fact that Ms. X wasn’t the only person he turned his vengeful eye towards. As mentioned earlier, 8 posters from a Korean social media site, DCInside Fighting Game Gallery, were lumped into Lee’s libel lawsuit against his wife. Lee was very public about this, taking to Twitter in 2018 to condemn the people in his scene he felt were disrespecting him:

Infil lol

As we know, Lee did end up making good on his threats, which means that even his local FGC was harassed into silence. If being an unrepentant abuser who is so willing to uphold a bald-faced lie that he would try to bring financial peril onto people who would dare even post about that fact on social media isn’t enough to question what value someone has to the community, I don’t know what is.

While it might seem that these interactions and behavior was limited solely to this highly personal realm of a messy divorce, it turns out that Lee’s habit for lying and being nasty towards people in fighting game communities may just be a feature, not a bug. In March of 2021, an anonymous user on Reddit posted a thread to the fighters subreddit with an accusatory claim: Lee had hosted a tournament intended for bronze ranked Street Fighter V players and knowingly let a friend with lots of experience across fighters to participate and easily take the cash prize.

As documented here, there’s evidence that suggests the player, an ultra-bronze rank, is far better than that ranking might imply, and anecdotally the two in the finals are claimed to have reached at least Master rank in Granblue Fantasy Versus, another fighting game. Even more suspicious, there are leaked Discord logs where Lee urges the player who eventually won this beginner’s tournament to brink his rank up higher in bronze than where he was a few days before the tournament because if he played at a skill that is clearly above most people his rank, he “can’t cover that up.”

Infiltration’s last two responses, roughly translated, are “I can’t cover that up” and “There is a limit to how much I can help”

The tournament was an idea by Lee’s then-sponsor, AfreecaTV, and they had also fronted some money for a decent cash prize. Ultimately, 8 people who are trained in Infiltration’s Discord played in the tournament, and 7 made it to the quarter finals. While that isn’t proof of anything, the fact that he was actively telling an experienced player in his Discord (the eventual winner) to up his rank a little to avoid suspicion and that he made the bracket would naturally taint the results For all intents and purposes, it appears Lee gave preferential treatment to his Discord members who were high-ranked in other fighters but low in SFV in order for them to take 1st or 2nd place and win some money. This is further confirmed by the winning player’s blasé attitude in later Discord posts:

Translation: “Who would’ve known of Ultra Bronze with 88% win rate? I’ve only played this game for a month but y’all already wanna move me up in the field, I just wanna win 2nd just so I can do more of these lol”

This didn’t go unnoticed from his community, obviously, who immediately cried foul. It may come as no surprise that Lee did not take this well, and while on stream he had harsh words against the people denouncing the tournament for its blatant corruptness

He derides the “motherfuckers” who have the gall to sit at home and criticize him while he went out and became a 5-time Evolution medalist, saying that this Afreeca tournament “didn’t come free” and was a result only of his hard work doing so much for the Korean FGC. Not only has he “suffered for 10 years” to be a pro, but “assholes” come in and troll him, saying ridiculous things like “pro players matchfix, stay in tribes, and only hang out with themselves.”

This won him even less fans, but he still took to Twitter to address the situation:

Once again, he derides the forum DCInside as “an all-time garbage site” and that its users are pretend that they know justice and want to “kill a person again”. Lee is going to ignore them, however, because they “already framed me once.” Evidently, he still takes the idea that he was “framed” as an abuser by members of a fighting game forum, a battle he lost years earlier.

The heat was so immense from this bungle, however, that Lee used the same “garbage site” he had just referred to in order to do damage control, apologizing for his remarks and behavior. If the comments are anything to go by, it wasn’t terribly well received either.

Not only did the DCInside forum users decry the apology, but it appears to have cost him the sponsorship with AfreecaTV. A web archive link from November 2020 shows him on the roster, while the site now no longer shows him to be on the team. Having to lose two sponsors in as many years for poor behavior is not a ringing endorsement for his character.

At the beginning of this piece, I called this situation an albatross around my neck, and I mean that. The albatross was a symbol of the guilt and shame that the ancient mariner felt for his actions. Standing in the ballroom at Evo 2019 and seeing Lee’s gamertag blazing across the giant LED screen, a mark of celebration for his victory, was one time that I truly felt ashamed to be a part of the FGC. The fact that every announcement he does on Twitter about a tournament he will attend gets loads of fawning praise continues to turn my stomach.

Yet at the same time, my neck is even heavier when confronted with the difficult realities of what to do about those feelings. While I was always morally outraged by the things he did in 2017 and his subsequent non-apology for it, I always weigh that with the idea that I’m not sure if destroying the private and public wall any further in order to justify banning someone I don’t personally like but isn’t a danger to others is a good thing. I do believe that people’s private lives should be their own business and as long as they aren’t hurting others, it really shouldn’t matter. But then I see things like him trying to bring legal action to randoms in the community for embarrassing him, and what just happened last March, and I start to wonder that maybe this person can’t be trusted to hold any sort of power over someone or represent a community, because he’ll just end up abusing it for his own selfish gains should he get the opportunity.

But what’s the next step? I’m not entirely sure myself. The rules for banning someone, in the current FGC structure, don’t make a lot of sense – you can threaten someone with clear innuendo of physical violence and not even miss a step because you’re “not in a position to determine intent,” but you can also make a bad joke at a politically inconvenient time and get a ban from virtually every section of the community, corporate and grassroots, intent apparently never so clear. In Lee’s case, it was determined by Capcom that it was completely okay for him to make a ruling against himself, relieving them of the stress of having to make a tough decision, and most major TO’s capitulated to that as well. Like I said, inconsistency reigns and it’s hard to get a sense of what the appetite for anything like that is, especially considering how COVID really put a dent in how things will be operating for the time being.

What I do know is that Lee will continue to be invited to damn near any big invitational, and I think that’s a real shame. I’ve rarely seen a situation where someone with such blind contempt for anyone who doesn’t think he’s the greatest thing to happen to gaming is allowed to treat others like garbage and the only response is “please sir, can I have some more?” It reeks of the exact things that Esports types try to get you to believe isn’t true, which is that money (or the thought of money – I’ve seen no proof that Lee is actually a draw) trumps all. If someone thinks they can get a buck and some good play out of him, it’s clear he’ll get every opportunity to do so, no matter how much he degrades new players and continues to insist that people made-up his real assault. Putting together a phony bracket and letting his buddies win a small, low-stakes online tournament may not seem like much compared to the domestic violence, but it’s arguable that this is indicative of a pattern of behavior where he has little regard for other persons when it comes to getting what he wants. It’s my belief that this behavior shouldn’t be elevated or respected when it comes to big opportunities such as invitationals.

I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, and that’s fine; if I learned anything in my time in education, it’s that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. If none of this information sways you, then God be with you, and we’ll agree to disagree. But if your blood gets as angered up as my does when you read this, then share it. If you see people asking what the deal is with Infiltration, show them this. Make them see how his statements match up with that of Ms. X, see how he lies about his punishment, see how unrepentant he has been for his past, and how he’s willing to cheat rookie and novice players out of a chance to show their improvement and mock them if they call that out. I’d like to think that guys like him are poor representatives of the great communities that make up the FGC, and any time he gets to be that representative in an invitational is a profound embarrassment.


34 responses to “The Continued, Puzzling Elevation of Infiltration”

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