Noel Brown, a well-known player in the Marvel vs. Capcom and Street Fighter realm, has been banned by the company due to sexual misconduct. This was not Brown’s first offense.
According to Capcom, Brown’s offense of sexual harassment was caught on camera at Combo Breaker tournament which was held in Illinois on May 29th. Cameras caught Brown as he made unsolicited advances towards a female in attendance at the event, it also caught him physically groping her. She later reported it as “unwanted” attention to the people responsible for organizing the event. As far as we know she hasn’t been in contact with a sexual harassment lawyer; although the footage seems to show she would be more than right to seek one. After the camera footage made its rounds, the community quickly started calling for Capcom to step in. And they did.
The company later released this full statement in response to the incident:
Over the past weekend, we were notified that an unfortunate case of sexual harassment occurred at Combo Breaker 2016, a Capcom Pro Tour Ranking Event, where a female attendee received unwarranted and unwanted contact from a male attendee, who is confirmed to be Noel Brown. This incident was also captured on camera during the live stream before the Street Fighter V Losers Finals match.
We have worked closely with the tournament organizer of Combo Breaker to gather all details surrounding the incident. We have found that the victim, who wishes not to be named, has gone on record and confirmed this was an inappropriate act from Noel Brown and was not consensual.
As a result, we are banning Noel Brown from competing in the duration of the 2016 season of the Capcom Pro Tour as a first offense. A second offense will result in a lifetime ban from participating in all future Capcom Pro Tour events. We will use this as a baseline penalty if similar incidents occur in the future.
We do not condone any acts of harassment and we want all of our players and fans to know we will continue our work to ensure that all Capcom Pro Tour events provide safe, inviting environments where the focus is on healthy competition and exciting rivalries.
We support Combo Breaker’s decision to ban Noel Brown and support any tournament organizer who decides to ban anyone from their event who they feel is creating a hostile environment for other attendees.
The team behind the Combo Breaker tournament also released a statement about the incident:
On May 29 at Combo Breaker 2016, an incident occurred where a female attendee was groped by a male attendee, confirmed to be Noel Brown. This incident was caught on film, and the victim — who has asked not to be named — has since provided a statement to event operatives confirming and outlining the inappropriateness of Mr. Brown’s behavior. Due to the nature of the offense, Mr. Brown will not be permitted to attend Combo Breaker’s 2017 and potential 2018 events. Combo Breaker will re-evaluate Mr. Brown’s eligibility to attend our events in 2018.
Harassment will continue to have a zero tolerance policy at Combo Breaker events. Be considerate and respectful of all attendees.
Brown took to his personal Facebook to confront allegations. Though he has a history of unbecoming behavior during events such as these. He was arrested for assault back in 2013 at a tournament held in Florida for hitting his ex-girlfriend as well as a similar assault on a fellow attendee that was also caught on camera back in 2011. Brown had this to say:
First and for most, it was not a random isolated thing. We were playing around as you can tell, she clearly laughed in the video after it happened. Of course people will blow things out of proportion and make them seem like they’re something they’re not which is definitely the case here. I don’t understand how someone else calls sexual harassment on someone else’s behalf if they’re not any of the parties involved. Actually all three (her, her boyfriend and I) of us drank and ate pizza together that night after seeing the screen shot. No one ever wants to hear the truth because controversy is always more entertaining but despite what comes of this I still want the truth to be out there. The below screen shots are of the said “victim” (even though she clearly says it wasn’t a big deal) and I texting. I know the monsters will some how find a way to turn this around and I understand that. Like I said, the truth just needs to out there.
You can see in the video above Brown assaulting a player back in 2011 with repeated punches, the entire encounter caught on camera.
Convention centers world wide are cracking down on cases of physical violence and sexual misconduct. Many stories revolve around cosplayers and convention goers being assaulted in various ways simply for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. In this instance, this was not the first time Brown has been accused of this type of behavior and perhaps this will be a welcome warning to future players to maintain a respectful attitude towards their fellow Geeks.
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