Witch-Hunt Against "Fake" Female Hearthstone Player Discredited
"It's probably the biggest setback to getting women in eSports that I can recall happening in the past year or two."
Professional Hearthstone player Andrey “Reynad” Yanyuk has condemned a sub-Reddit community for embellishing a groundless accusation that a female player was using men to advance in competitive games.
"There is no evidence, ever, that somebody was playing for her"MagicAmy's former teammate, Andrey Yanyuk
Last week, Eric Lee, who has been banned by Blizzard before for Hearthstone win-trading, made a series of wild, fictional claims that suggested a female player was a perennial fraud.
Lee's Reddit post, which has now been deleted, tried to offer an explanation for why a South Korean player, named Hyerim "MagicAmy" Lee, was so successful at Hearthstone. His views are summarized here, with paraphrased claims found below:
- "MagicAmy is actually a persona made up by collaboration between two people, one Canadian guy and one Korean girl
- "MagicAmy tricks top players into thinking she's in love with them, and make them play for her
- "In actuality it was a Canadian guy ALL ALONG (scary thoughts)
- "The girl only does the PR part, like videos and images."
Although there was no evidence provided for any of these claims, the Reddit thread blew up, surpassing two thousand up-votes, with users fuelling each other's speculation. Videos and various op-eds of the topic emerged online, none of which provided any compelling evidence.
Much of the scrutiny was based on MagicAmy’s lack of streaming and how she has yet to appear at an offline event. She also cancelled a scheduled trip to a finals tournament.
Following intense pressure from the community, the professional Hearthstone team who MagicAmy belonged with--known as TempoStorm--launched an internal investigation.
According to Yanyuk, who works for TempoStorm, the investigation lasted three days, in which the group spoke to 36 people.
"And what do we come up with? Absolutely f**king nothing," he said on a Hearthstone stream, published above. He also revealed that he speaks to MagicAmy, on Skype video, on a regular basis.
"There is no evidence, ever, that somebody was playing for her," he explains.
But due to the intense scrutiny, and the various attacks on her, MagicAmy has decided to retire as a professional Hearthstone player.
"I've never been embarrassed to be a Hearthstone player, before last week," Yanyuk said. "All of you should be f**king ashamed of yourselves. It's probably the biggest setback to getting women in eSports that I can recall happening in the past year or two.
"Because the Reddit scumbag community tries to tear down her reputation, she decides to quit Hearthstone. We didn't even fire her, she just decided she doesn't want to play anymore.
"So, basically you have [these Reddit] dipsh**s, none of which are reputable at all, who tell this really great story of a professional gamer girl who is having some guy play behind the scenes for her. And it's a really exciting narrative, because if that story is true, it's like the best scandal ever. So it absolutely blows up on Reddit.
"It turns into this giant witch-hunt. So this girl, who is a pretty good Hearthstone player, and made a lot of content for the community, and everyone really liked her, now her career is being scrutinized by Blizzard, by her team, by the entire community--everyone is convinced she's a man.
"So what do we do? We spend three days doing a full f**king investigation, talking to three dozen people, cross-referencing times when sh** happens, when people say they met her, cross-referencing flight records, we're getting screenshots of Skype conversations from everybody, and basically just investigating so deep into this girl's life, just because dip-sh**s on Reddit decide to start a witch-hunt.
"So the whole story catches on, her career is torn apart, simply because of the rumors."
Yanyuk offered the view that MagicAmy was really a victim of male insecurities. And that ultimately, the situation esecalated because male players were "uncomfortable with the fact that a girl is much, much better at a video game than they are."