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Former top Super Smash Bros. player Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios announced his intention to begin creating content on his YouTube channel again via a video on said channel posted on Tuesday.
This announcement comes after ZeRo was banned from Twitch following his dismissal from Tempo Storm and Facebook Gaming back in 2020 due to allegations of sexual misconduct, which ZeRo admitted to. The new video he released rescinds this confession. Instead, ZeRo states he has never done any of the things he was accused of with minors.
“I have never received explicit images from any underage individual,” ZeRo said in the video. “I have never sent explicit images to any underage individual, I have never made travel arrangements with ulterior motives with any underage individual, I have never been touched or touched in any shape or form any underage individual and I have never had conversations with only the intention to groom an underage individual or take advantage of them. Anything you may have heard or seen that suggests otherwise is a lie.”
ZeRo also stated he has retained legal counsel and is currently engaged in a lawsuit with some of the parties involved in the allegations against him.
In 2020, the Super Smash Bros. community faced a reckoning in terms of harassment and exploitation coming from within. Several prominent members of this scene had allegations ranging from harassment, to sexual assault and grooming raised against them during this time, including ZeRo and Cinnamon “Cinnpie” Dunson, a woman in the space who was accused of having a sexual relationship with a 14 year old player when she was 24. ZeRo admitted to and subsequently apologized for continuing to send explicit messages to two underage women after he found out the real age of one of them.
“I really want to atone, and I just want this discussion to stop,” ZeRo said in his TwitLonger apology post. “I’m not a good person, and it doesn’t matter how terrible my life was, I did terrible things and that’s the end of it. I don’t deserve for people to defend me.”
These allegations came to light after ZeRo posted a different TwitLonger, acknowledging the predatory behavior of some of his Smash Bros. colleagues, Keitaro and D1. In this post, he said, “Today I feel regret because I could have done something. And I also feel pain because people I thought I knew, are not who they are.”
In response to this statement, Twitter user and artist Jackie “Jisu” Choe brought her own allegations against ZeRo to light. She said that ZeRo sent her “explicit Craigslist ads of sex workers and [animated pornography] on the big screen and constantly harassing me … when I was 15.” Barrios confirmed the two of them had lived together for a while between late 2014 and early 2015. Jisu went on to release a 64-page document outlining all of the allegations going around in the Smash community, including hers and another girl named Katie’s accusations against ZeRo.
When these accusations surfaced, Nintendo responded by condemning the behavior in a statement to IGN. “At Nintendo, we are deeply disturbed by the allegations raised against certain members of the competitive gaming community. They are absolutely impermissible. We want to make it clear that we condemn all acts of violence, harassment, and exploitation against anyone and that we stand with the victims.”
ZeRo’s response and future
According to ZeRo in Tuesday’s video, he originally gave his online confessions because he didn’t have “proper evidence, witnesses that came forward later and I just did not have the full picture in front of me.”
“Since at the time I pretty much only had my word and memory to defend myself, I figured it will be a lot easier to just apologize than to fight it,” ZeRo said.
He also stated that one of his confessions was actually a suicide note he had drafted during a “tremendous mental breakdown.”
“I had fully planned to take my life right after posting that document because I pretty much lost all faith in that scenario,” ZeRo said in the video.
Apparently, a YouTuber who goes by Technicals has spent “half a year” researching the situation and collecting evidence to explain what “really happened” with ZeRo. This research is compiled in two videos on Technicals’ YouTube channel.
ZeRo stated that the video he posted Tuesday will be the last time he addresses this situation publicly. He said he will return to uploading content onto his YouTube channel starting on Wednesday at 10 a.m ET.