Apex Organizer Steps Down in Light of Recent Harassment Controversy

By on January 20, 2015 at 10:45 am


Apex has been in the news quite a bit lately thanks to this year’s record-breaking installment and a partnership with Nintendo, but new developments for the Smash scene’s largest tournament are far less positive.

Over the course of the past few days, a number of women have bravely stepped forward with allegations against Apex CEO and co-creator Johnathan “Alex Strife” Lugo, accusing him of repeated harassment that, as of yet, had gone unchallenged on a wide scale. While his abysmal behavior wasn’t limited to female Smashers, as described in accounts from CLASH Tournament’s Mark “Chibo” Korsak, they were frequently the lightning rod that attracted his attention.

Lugo’s lengthy list of offenses, linked above, includes pursuing underage players and regularly outing transgender members of the community, his distressing advances working to make many feel uncomfortable attending events he organized.

These revelations brought quick outcry online, with prominent player Kris “Toph” Aldenderfer saying he wouldn’t be able to commentate at Apex 2015 in good conscience as long as these accusations went unanswered and Wynton “Prog” Smith, a pillar of the competitive Smash scene, going as far to call for Lugo’s resignation.

Fortunately, it appears as if changes are already being made. In a statement released to Smash Boards and Melee It On Me, Apex social media coordinator Will Hsiao has announced that Lugo will be giving up the duties he performs for the tournament series.

At this time, Alex Strife will be stepping down from his duties at Apex. We will be moving forward with Apex 2015.

As it stands Apex 2015 is the largest Smash Brothers tournament ever and the Apex staff hopes to bring you the best experience we can.

In a Reddit post following the initial statements that brought this about, Tristate player Tyrell “NAKAT” Coleman urged the community at large to not conflate Lugo’s actions with Apex as an organization.

“Apex isn’t Alex Strife. Apex is You, I, and the thousands of people who attend and watch the event,” Coleman explained. “I am hoping Apex is put in the hands of someone stable, respectable, and generally well-rounded.”

As of now, no word has been released by Apex regarding new management, but a quick perusal of their staff page will show a number of capable community members who are also involved in running the event. Let’s only hope it will be in their hands moving forward.

Sources: Smashboards, Melee It On Me

  • Aphelion


  • Exy

    I don’t see how this isn’t positive. A problem was solved and if he didn’t want to defend himself or give his side of the story, then all the better for all involved.

  • lol@u

    A controversial TO? Havent heard that since John Nelson at Revelation a few years ago.

  • Tanner

    I think the big thing is to not dwell on it. Him stepping down quickly resolved it for until at least APEX 2015 is over. Discussions can start again after the event, but for now, the best thing might just be to not dwell on this and have a good APEX.

    • Remster

      I think it’s important to dwell on it a little bit in terms of the broader issue. We can easily split Apex from this issue, but we need to continue to show that this isn’t acceptable in any of the communities. Since this has been going on for a while people need to be encouraged to step forward before a lot of people end up ostracized from their respective community.

  • Mr. Anderson

    So what if he’s shady lol. If he committed a crime then let it be proven and he can serve his time. You want to put aside all he’s done. On a possibly a misstep and some speculation.

    • Marvin Choi

      It’s not a misstep, it’s ongoing bullshit, pathological behavior.

      I don’t want this fuck anywhere near…anything, really.

    • Dantarion

      Its more like this. This is a dude that the community has decided they don’t want around. Its not a matter of crime or law, its a matter of community.

    • King9999

      Alex apparently has a history. And it’s not just harassment either. That bit about bringing Japanese players to the event in a U-Haul truck made me cringe.

      • Mr. Anderson

        Apparently I did not see the full story as it’s pieces here and there all over the place. The question is, why is this has been going on for so long has it been allowed. Was he that necessary and now that he’s been disposed off is it because he is no longer needed?

        • King9999

          I’m not a woman, but it seems it was pretty much fear/nobody would believe them if they came forward (look at the Bill Cosby situation). But it seems now that everyone’s had enough, especially now that Apex is bigger than ever.

        • Gethoff Mahfacebuk

          Why has it been going on so long? Because we’re JUST NOW starting to root out small amounts of bad behavior in the FGC. Starting with the people running the events makes sense.

          He also had his opportunity to speak on this and defend himself and chose not to, as detailed in the article.

  • JasinWalraven

    What’s being left out is the REAL reason he is stepping down…….he is being mentored by President Bill Clinton to learn how to harass women and get away with it, then run for President in 2016!!!

    • d3v

      Gonna be a tough job if he’s gonna run again Mike Ross.

  • Darklurkr23

    O no what if Jamie Lee Curtis says her sons “fighting game convention” is Apex and not Evo.

  • Awsumpossum12345

    Not related to this discussion, but I was just wondering when SRK was going to open that new Mortal Kombat trailer for discussion? It came out like two days ago and confirmed Kitana and showed off some Kung Lao. At least, I didn’t see it on here.

  • I’m glad to see that stuff like this is taking place. I don’t know much about the community but I don’t care what kind of history the community has or what the community was about in the past, there are just some things that are unacceptable. I hope there is a lot more of this moving forward.

    I really don’t think it is asking much of people to show respect to their fellow players after all you want to be treated the way you treat other people.

  • La Lunatica

    “I put the pills in the Smashers. They didn’t want the pills in them.”

  • Derek Johnson


    • tanbu

      Usually I hate these kinds of posts on /r/smashbros (what a shit subreddit), but this one got me.

      can’t resist the dk rap

  • Jose Emmanuel Argao

    If he’s guilty of harassment towards females, why haven’t the cops been called? Seems like the right thing to do.

    • Mash Harder

      Innocent until proven guilty I think it is.

    • It might not rise to the level of criminal harassment. If I use a sleazy come-on line at a bar, especially to multiple people, I can expect to be bounced out, but I won’t get arrested.

      This is Apex bouncing out a creep.

      • Jose Emmanuel Argao

        I dunno man. I’m not comfortable about situations where people effectively get sanctioned based on accusations. Maybe this guy really is a huge creep, but it’s always the undesirables that get shafted out of due process first. I don’t like how this situation was handled, even if the desired outcome did come to pass.

  • Mash Harder

    Yo this is just like with Bill Cosby where all the crazies come out of the woodwork and jump on the bandwagon. Hang in there Bill, I’m wit u bro.

  • void

    i don’t get the trans gender thing.. why is the Nyani trying to hide being trans? why does sexuality in a video game competition even matter? i’m a minority(not white), i have had people say the most offensive things to my face… however deep down i know when people are trolling and i have the right not to get offended and i choose not too even if it pisses me off.

    to Nyani i say this: don’t allow yourself to be offended. seek the proper justice if his harassment violates your rights.

    Nyani’s story

    • OmegaNITRO

      Honestly, after reading that I was pretty confused as well. I’m going to chalk it up to just not knowing the mentality or perspective of transgendered people, but I was expecting something along the lines of derogatory bullying, not mostly supportive sounding comments from a nosey idiot that doesn’t know when to keep his mouth shut.

      Dude definitely acted like a creep in these logs, and an adult hitting on a 14-year old girl is definitely no bueno, no two ways about that.

      So is this just the tip of the iceberg, I wonder? Or is one of the reasons the proper authorities never got involved because his misconduct was limited to this?

      TIL: Alex Strife has questionable moral standards and comes off as creepy to the people he’s attracted to. He also has no tact and a pretty shitty sense of privacy in personal matters, and talks shit in private conversations.

      Did I miss anything?

    • Death Metal

      “why is the Nyani trying to hide being trans?”

      Exactly because of people like Strife. And also because it’s her business, her life.

      • void

        i only asked because most of the time gays and trans are parading in the streets and letting the whole world know what they are…. at least where i live. must be different for Nyani.

        • Marvin Choi

          LGBT people aren’t, like, one homogeneous entity that has singular opinions and ideals. It’s a bunch of different people. Some LGBT people want to be parading in the streets. Others want to keep it quiet. This is not a hard concept to understand.

          Like, imagine if you said a similar thing about a race or culture. “I don’t understand why he likes staying indoors, I see black people play basketball outside all the time!”

          You get it?

          • void

            no i don’t. race-stereotypes and sexuality are to different things, so that wasn’t a good example.

            your black people and basket ball example was more stereotypical, something i wasn’t implying at all with the trans thing.

            if your straight, your straight. if your gay, your gay. if your trans, your trans. there is nothing to hide. i find the more people hide something the more problematic the situation.

            i know i’m being rude when i say this but… its very unrealistic for a trans to hide being trans… sure some can pull off the look but… people will always know what sex they are and what they associate with. its silly to try and hide something like that.

            its like a pregnant woman trying to hide her huge pregnant belly while being in public. its too obvious to begin with. i think things would have gone better for Nyani if he would have just let people know before hand. its not like being trans is bad, so why hide it?

            either way i really don’t care, its just something i found to be unrealistic and silly.

          • Marvin Choi

            1. They don’t want being trans to define them, because it’s pretty much what everyone will focus on.
            2. They don’t want to attract attention to them, negative or otherwise, for being trans.

            Someone being trans is just a part of who they are, not their defining characteristic, yet a lot of people who think of them being trans as the very first thing to think of them by. It’s like how people go “oh, he’s the black *noun*, or the female *noun*, or the gay *noun*, or the trans *noun*”. People don’t want that label. They just want to be a person.

            And no, the comparison isn’t far off. LGBT often refer to themselves as being part of a culture. This is an extrapolation of that.

            And you’re being awful presumptuous about what LGBT ought to and not do when you’ve never gone through the sociocultural hardships they’ve had to endure just by being out. It’s not that fucking easy, stop pretending like it’s such a simple solution.

          • void

            wow, a little sensitive are we? cussing like some immature child just because you read something that doesn’t please you makes you lose so much credibility. you are right, being heterosexual has its benefits by default such as never being judged, never being denied marriage rights, watching your own flesh and blood grow up while at the same time they drain your bank account (kids). to be honest i want gays to have the same right because im so sick of hearing the LGBT community cry and complain all the time (that and i don’t see why they can’t marry, its not like the whole world would fall apart).

            but back to the main topic.. its just my opinion, if your gonna get so sensitive about it then maybe the internet isn’t for you. btw i don’t see gays/trans as nouns (that was just you implying that i didn’t see them as people).

            and NO DUH! of course its not a simple solution, if you would “read” you would also know that i told Nyani to not be so offended because it only feeds trolls.

            i myself have been a minority, so i know how it feels. still i don’t cuss or over react when people troll me. i just leave. i find life to be so much more positive when i don’t allow myself to get offended.

          • Marvin Choi

            Fuck off, you have no right to tell people how they feel about something especially when you don’t even bother to even try and understand their point of view.

          • void

            apparently you can’t even read… especially the last part of my last comment. this is why having discussion on the internet is so pointless. its full of sensitive babies like you. just look how upset you are and how you allow yourself to get offended just because you read something you don’t want to see…

            you have no idea how many times I’ve been mistreated because i’m a minority. i’ll give you a few examples: being stopped by the cops for no reason, being stopped and searched by the cops for walking down the street, being denied service because of me being male, being one of the few people at a bar and the bar tender ignores me for 25mins whiles serving only 8 people on a slow night, female waitress keeps my $2 in change while i wait 15mins for my receipt, being call derogatory names in public, people tell me its not right to date out side of my own race… and the list goes on. so YES, I KNOW HOW IT FEELS. but because you can’t handle a simple DIFFERENCE IN OPINION i’ll just sugar coat things for you.


            there there. no need to be sad. i was wrong. nothing that comes from me is right. your so smart and mature. when you reply you hold yourself in such a professional manner. i really envy how you handle conversation on the net. you will go so far in life. i’m so sorry i hurt your sensitive feelings about my different opinion on the LGBT community. will you ever forgive me? please… please i’m begging for your forgiveness.. i just don’t know how i’ll sleep at night if i don’t get your forgiveness.. how can i live with myself if i don’t agree with anything you say. its so immoral to have a different opinion from yours. your clearly the smartest person i’ve ever talked to. no one else on this planet should have the right to express themselves. have so i hope you a better day 🙂

          • Marvin Choi

            Fuck off.

          • void

            yeah… that’s what i thought… bye!

  • void

    i don’t get the trans gender thing.. why is the Nyani trying to hide being trans? why does sexuality in a video game competition even matter? i’m a minority(not white), i have had people say the most offensive things to my face… however deep down i know when people are trolling and i have the right not to get offended and i choose not too even if it pisses me off.

    to Nyani i say this: don’t allow yourself to be offended. seek the proper justice if his harassment violates your rights.

    Nyani’s story