Evo Bans Controversial Street Fighter Champion Infiltration

seon woo "Infiltration" Lee stands in front of a microphone and looks at something off-screen.

Screenshot: evolution

South Korean fighting game player Seon-woo “Infiltration” Lee revealed last night that he has been banned from attending several major community events, including this year’s Evolution Championship Series (Evo). While the news came as a shock, many of those familiar with the successful competitor controversial last consider it a long way to come.

Evo and Combo Breaker (arguably the second biggest grassroots tournament in the fighting game community) contacted Lee via email to inform him that he will not be allowed to compete in their events, according to screenshots Lee posted on Twitter. Both emails cited unspecified violations of each event’s code of conduct policies and offered refunds for Lee’s registration fees.

Talking with KotakuEvo General Manager Rick Thiher explained that the event is “committed to fostering a safe environment for our players and fans” and that organizers require competitors and attendees to “work together with Evo to build a community of support that treat with respect and dignity.” This expectation, he continued, is shared by other events such as Combo Breaker, Community Effort Orlando, East Coast Throwdown and Intercontinental Fight Club, all of which have also banned Lee.

“Evo will not publicly discuss individual execution decisions, but will take the necessary steps to uphold our code of conduct and create a welcoming environment at Evo competitions,” added Thiher. “These efforts are vital to the future of Evo and the experience we strive to create for our community.”

Kotaku also contacted Lee, but did not receive a response prior to publication.

“I legitimately believe that it can be fixed with proper conversation,” Lee wrote in a message from Twitter. “I hope that the organizers will speak up and explain exactly what is the cause of action that has denied my entry. Also from those organizers, I demand a proper apology that has caused financial and mental stress by my planning multiple trips abroad to get to these events and reverse their decision to deny me entry.”

Lee’s statement also detailed several previous incidents of not being allowed to compete in high-profile fighting game tournaments. What he didn’t do, unsurprisingly, is get into the potential reasons for tournaments not wanting him in attendance, of which there are many.

While previously unknown, Lee quickly became a household name in the fighting game community thanks to his third-place finish in Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition at Evo 2010. He spent the next several years earning even more Evo medals and performing well in various fighting games, including Street Fighter x Tekken, Street Fighter V, Samurai Shodown, and Guilty Gear Strive. Lee’s tournament wins were naturally followed by sponsorship deals with businesses like Mad Catz, Razer, and Monster Energy.

But back in 2018, Lee made headlines for different reasons when he was accused of domestic violence against his now ex-wife. AN follow-up investigation by his sponsor at the time, esports organization Panda Global, found these allegations to be credible and removed Lee from their list. Lee also voluntarily walked away from the Capcom official. Street Fighter tournaments for a year, while disputing allegations of abuse for which he was arrested, found guilty by a South Korean court, and fined.

Lee’s unapologetic return to the competition after a year-long absence generated considerable backlash, especially when Evo himself congratulated him on his “triumphant return” after he won samurai duel in 2019. At the time, Evo was still a grassroots operation, but the tournament was recently bought by sony Following the departure of co-founder and CEO Joey “Mr. Magician” Cuellar for allegations of sexual misconduct.

However, instead of keeping his nose clean, Lee continued to stir up trouble. Last year, for example, Lee was supposedly csomething coordinating with friends defraud a beginner street fighter v tournament he hosted with Korean streaming site AfreecaTV, his biggest sponsor at the time.

Discord screenshots show Lee encouraging the person who won that event, a master level player in other fighting games, not to level up. street fighter v rank too high for fear of arousing suspicion. After these details were leaked, Lee angrily addressed his accusers via Twitch calling them “sons of bitches” and “trash” who were only interested in bringing him down.

Lee eventually apologized, but not before AfreecaTV dropped him as a sponsored streamer.

As for how Lee is taking these bans, he spent his first stream on Twitch after hearing the news arguing that it was fine with him. use the n word when talking to black fighting game players. racist comments, explained later, earned him a seven-day suspension from the streaming platform, but Lee still doesn’t think he did anything wrong. Instead, he chose to paint the whole thing as some kind of insidious conspiracy against an innocent man.

“I did a stream explaining what happened to me because of Combo Breaker and Evo and then got banned,” Lee told sympathetic viewers during a YouTube livestream earlier this morning. “Is it just a coincidence? It’s not hate speech. If you saw my last broadcast, it wasn’t hate speech. It wasn’t racism. But people who hate infiltration, record just that moment and maybe send it to Twitch global.