The Super Smash Bros. Melee fighting scene has grown considerably since the GameCube game launched back in 2001. One of its biggest assets is the community behind it, with plenty of enthusiasm for the long-established brawler. With the official ruleset ever changing, it was announced on 6th September by Melee It On Me that 25 panelists would be chosen to recommend and discuss future amendments for the competitive scene.
All 25 panelists selected for the roles are men, with the five-member leadership panel (who chose the panelists) all being men too. This is what led pro player Adam "Armada" Lindgren to step down from his position in an attempt to push through broader representation in the community; he's one of the best players in the game and so this naturally sparked debate. Deciding to address the situation himself, Armada spoke on a live stream (see below) saying:
When I saw the tweet, and the tweet was like 20 hours old, and no one really had stepped up, I was thinking: what if I just leave my spot and open up the possibility for a girl?... It’s good for our community as well, if girls feel more welcome. A lot of them probably have knowledge that some of the competitors or TOs or commentators don’t have.
One of the committee leaders, Matthew Zaborowski, tweeted that two women were actually offered roles but declined to join. Since then Emily Sun (a co-founder of Smash Sisters) replied to the thread saying she was originally offered one of the positions but turned it down, however since the news broke of no female representatives, she has offered to be on the panel. Speaking about her original decision Emily emailed a statement to Compete:
I was not formally asked and was unaware there would be no gender diversity if I said no. In that case, I would not have declined.
Emily wrote a piece on why gender diversity is a benefit and also suggested other female Smash members who would be great for the panel. At the time of writing Sun has yet to hear back about the position with one committee member tweeting that they'll "be putting out a statement/explanation about it soon". For its part Melee It On Me also issued a statement 'on the purpose of the competition committee'.
It seems that those involved are eager to address concerns around the issue of representation, but it'll be actions that are ultimately judged.