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.