Super Smash Bros. Conduct Panel changes stance on sexual violence to lifetime ban

This could be a big step for the Smash community if handled correctly in the future.

Screengrab via Nintendo

The Super Smash Bros. Conduct Panel provides a set of ethics that every tournament organizer can follow within the Smash community, but their decisions aren’t always perfect. The panel reversed its decision on ban lengths for sexual violence offenses today, stating anyone found to have participated in the offense will receive a lifetime ban.

Over the last few days, the panel decided to ban both Zack “CaptainZack” Lauth and Kayla “Mew2Queen” Mackay for various offenses, but the ban lengths applied to those breaches in the Code of Conduct caused a wave of backlash within the community.

CaptainZack admitted to willingly participating in match-fixing in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. At the time, the council deemed his actions an “impulsive, emotional desire to harm an individual,” but after reviewing the situation, the panel upped his temporary suspension from the initial hearing to an indefinite ban with a chance for appeal after five years. 

Related: Smash pro CaptainZack admits to fixing matches amid controversy

In that same hearing, Mew2Queen, a prominent female figure within the community, was also banned with a chance for appeal after two and a half years. This caused discourse within the community since she was banned for sexual assault. Players within the community were worried that this would set a precedent for sexual abuse to be taken lightly compared to offenses such as match-fixing. 

Outrage surrounding the differing ban lengths forced the panel to make a response. The Code of Conduct was officially amended shortly afterwards with a zero-tolerance policy in regards to sexual violence. 

“Effective immediately, all instances of sexual violence will be punished by lifetime ban,” the Conduct Panel said. “This includes but is not limited to the recently released decision regarding Mew2Queen.”

This is a massive change that, according to one of the more vocal panelists Dr. Piggy, is something that has been a goal since she originally joined the panel. 

“I’ve wanted the committee’s original outline to work,” Dr. Piggy said. “It was a collaborative effort based on precious volunteer hours, sweat, and blood. It was careful, it was legally vetted, it was new and better than the old way. Yet: it was embedded in the old way.”

You can read the Dr. Piggy’s full explanation on the situation on her Twitter and view all of the Smash Code of Conduct on the official document

It is currently unclear just how many bans will be retroactively changed because of this decision, but the community can now move forward with confidence that things will finally be changing for the better. All of these lifetime bans are applied directly to Major events like The Big House, Genesis, Shine, and countless others because members of their staff and various top level TOs are a part of the panel

This rapid response to the sexual assault outrage could also lead to a change in CaptainZack’s ruling too, depending on how the panel takes comments based on the ban. Match-fixing is usually deemed as a lifetime ban, but his circumstances could be taken into a different light during a potential reconsideration.