Overwatch Contender Player 'Ellie' Revealed As Imposter In Controversial 'Social Experiment'
Overwatch Contenders is a tournament for potential pro players. Twelve teams in each of the seven Contender regions battle it out multiple times a year, and the winners have a chance of joining the Overwatch League.
Overwatch Contenders team Second Wind signed on a player only known as Ellie at the last minute. Every other player has listed their full name and gaming handle, but Ellie reportedly did not want to reveal her identity in order to avoid harassment. Overwatch fans immediately began to speculate about her identity and many concluded that she was a fake. Ellie eventually left the team due to pressure and harassment. Second Wind owner Justin Hughes noted, “...on one side, we had people questioning her legitimacy, issuing threats, etc. while on the other hand, we had people acting like they had found their Messiah.”
Shortly after Ellie left the team, it was revealed that she was an imposter. An Overwatch representative stated, “After investigating the matter, we found that ‘Ellie’ was a fabricated identity and is a smurf account – created by a veteran player to obfuscate their identity.
Ellie is actually top-500 player named “Punisher”. Overwatch streamer Aspen remarked, “The whole situation was meant to be, in a way, a social experiment. Ellie is actually Punisher, and he told me yesterday, so there you go.” This statement was further confirmed by Overwatch streamer Redshell, who posted images of a conversation she had with Punisher.
How did Ellie aka Punisher slip through the cracks? Blizzard typically conducts background checks to ensure that all of their players are legitimate and meet their eligibility requirements. However, Ellie was never formally added to the roster and was therefore never formally confirmed. Second Wind remarked, “Due to our desperation to fill a roster, we unfortunately overlooked crucial information that should have been paid more attention to.”
It is unclear why Punisher decided to conduct this “social experiment”, but many members of the Overwatch community are livid. Several streamers have argued that Punisher has made it more likely that women who join an Overwatch league will face harassment. So far, neither Punisher or Second Wind have been punished for their actions.