Hearthstone pro suspended after Blizzard learns of 2018 sexual assault conviction

Following his suspension from the competitive Hearthstone play, Jon “Orange” Westberg issued an apology for a 2018 sexual assault incident, saying he will “step away from the scene for a while and assess things”.

Westberg first reported the suspension on May 17, saying he was banned due to a “mistake” in his past. He said he was unaware that a suspension was being considered before being notified of its imposition and asked for time to resolve the situation. He did this today in a long message about tweet longin which he said he doesn’t seek “forgiveness or sympathy”, but wants to give his fans an explanation.

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He declined to discuss the incident in his apology, but a trial document provided by Swedish website Lexbase reveals that rape and “sexual harassment” charges were brought against him in 2018. The term “sexual harassment” appears to be a result of the Google Translation : The related section of Swedish Penal Codewhich is available in English, refers to the charge specifically as “sexual molestation”, which “applies to a person who exposes himself to another person in a way that is likely to cause discomfort, or who harasses a person by word or deed in a that is likely to violate that person’s sexual integrity.”

The plaintiff in the case, who is not named, alleged that after a night of drinking with Westberg and two other friends, Westberg tried to force her while she slept. Westberg admitted that he put his hand under the complainant’s bra while she slept, but denied claims that he was on top of her or forced his hand into her pants.

The court ruled that both Westberg and the plaintiff were “credible”, but because of dark memories stemming from drinking alcohol – enough to make them both vomit before the incident – and the lack of other evidence, the rape allegations against Westberg were discarded. . The sexual harassment charge stood, however: the court ruled (via Google Translate) that the plaintiff had done nothing to give Westberg “reason to suppose that the sleeping and drunk man [complainant] was interested in some form of sexual action or closer intimacy with him”, and that his actions “violate[d] your sexual integrity.”

Westberg was also convicted of “minor drug offenses”. It is not stated in Westberg’s report or apology whether the incident occurred after a Hearthstone competition.

Westberg acknowledged that publishing his conviction will cause confusion and possible trauma for victims of sexual assault. Otherwise, your apology mainly focuses on explaining the circumstances that led to the “low point” in your life.

“I was dealing with a lot of mental health issues, but instead of seeking therapy, I turned to various self-defeating behaviors,” Westberg wrote. “I never intended to hurt others, but various underlying issues along with me digging deeper and deeper into these behaviors have led me to hurt someone else immensely and this is my biggest regret in life.

“Unfortunately, it all had to come down to something so drastic for me to finally seek help. The legal process that took about a year is the most traumatic event of my life so far. Someone else and there was no one to blame but me. myself and that I would have to completely reevaluate myself.”

Westberg said that after the legal case was concluded, he moved back in with his parents and began seeing a therapist, who helped him show that he “had a poor understanding of boundaries so far in life”. He also said that he’s been reading stories from women in esports and using their experiences to reflect on their past actions, and that while he hasn’t publicly acknowledged his actions before then, he’s tried to address them privately.

“I have been working very actively on this for years, but I have done it in my private life as I and other people in my life, such as my family and doctors, felt that I would not be able to deal with the consequences of me going public with it. this.” he wrote. “Seeing people talk about me that way now, while it’s justified, I can’t help but feel disheartened by it too.”

Reactions to Westberg’s apology are divided: many of the responses from Twitter followers seem supportive, or at least willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, as he has already been punished by the Swedish legal system with the imposition of fines. , attorney fees, and damages to the claimant. The Hearthstone Subreddit is more overtly critical of the timing of the apology – Westberg said he didn’t come forward earlier because he was advised not to by his therapist and doctor, who wanted to ensure he was “stable” enough to deal with the fallout – and of the fact that he kept his conviction hidden while convicting other Hearthstone professionals accused of abuse.

Several prominent Hearthstone figures also took issue with Westberg’s apology, and the fact that he kept his offense hidden for so long while it was being vocally critical from other players facing allegations of misconduct.

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Blizzard declined to comment on the reason for the ban, telling PC Gamer that it did not “discuss internal eligibility decisions”. Westberg effectively confirmed it was due to his sexual harassment conviction in his apology, saying he is “devastated” by the decision but accepts it as a consequence of his actions.

“In the big picture, my competitive ban is not comparable to the pain I feel seeing the community I am a part of talking about me in this way,” he wrote. “While I haven’t shared everything in my life, I’ve genuinely tried to do good for this community all this time and it’s been my whole life for the past eight years.

“To conclude this, I’m going to step away from the scene for a while and assess things. This is both so I can process all of this and also to give people who are suffering from it some time to heal without being reminded of this by my presence. I’m not sure if I’ll be back as I know things can never go back to the way they were now. I loved my job as a streamer and I really don’t have anything to back me up but to keep knowing how people see me now, I don’t think I would be able to. put up with it or have this community deal with those feelings towards me.”

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