Overwatch League team manager fired over sexual assault allegations

The San Francisco Shock of Blizzard's Overwatch League has fired its manager, Max Bateman, in the wake of allegations that he sexually assaulted a streamer in September. Shock owner and NRG Esports founder Andy Miller announced the move earlier this week, saying that the decision to terminate Bateman was made "in accordance with NRG Esports zero tolerance policy." 

The streamer, who goes by the name Krystlin, claimed that Bateman assaulted her in a statement posted November 6 on Twitlonger. "On September 30th Max and I were out at a beach club drinking with some of the NRGgg Overwatch players. I had a normal amount of drinks and started to feel sick which wasn't normal. The last one I had was made by Max. I started to feel dizzy, confused, and started to dry-heave," she wrote. 

Bateman suggested they leave, ostensibly with the intention of driving her home, but she ended up on his couch, and later, in his bed, while he played games. She was in and out of consciousness, she wrote, but at one point realized that Bateman was laying next to her, which she didn't think was unusual, "because we've shared a bed in the past and nothing's happened." 

"That's when he sexually assaulted me. In my mind I knew what was happening wasn't right but I couldn't move. I was frozen. After I woke up I got my keys from his car and he dropped me off at home," she wrote. "A few days after I started remembering more of what happened I confronted him through text-messages and told him what happened the other night wasn't okay—that we were friends and nothing more."

Krystlin filed a police report, shared with Kotaku, that contains a more detailed accounting of Bateman's crime: "Bateman told her to lay on his bed. After a few hours, [Krystlin] said Bateman laid in the bed with her and started to touch her chest and groin area underneath her clothes. [She] says she was in and out of consciousness and is not sure if there was penetration involved... [She] said when she got home there was vaginal discharge (blood)." 

She said she was told that there was insufficient evidence to go ahead with the case, but Bateman was nonetheless called in to give a statement. He did, according to his own statement released today, in which he denied that an assault took place—but not before contacting Krystlin via text message to see if "we can solve it between us." 

"I communicated with Krystlin that the detective called me, so I wanted to talk to her and see if we could settle it between us before I went to the police. I did, in fact, go and meet with the detective to give him my testimony," Bateman wrote. He said he showed the detective on the case the text messages exchanged between them, which included references to social contact and activities that took place after the alleged assault, and what he said were plans to share a hotel room at the recently-passed Twitchcon. 

"I will not be answering questions as recommended by my counsel," he concluded. "I will be taking this through the correct legal process and not the public domain." 

Prior to the release of the statement, however, Bateman posted this tweet, although it's unclear what he's addressing:

Krystlin, meanwhile, posted screens of the text messages exchanged between her and Bateman, in which he acknowledges that "what I did was wrong" and pleads repeatedly for forgiveness.

The San Francisco Shock declined to comment further on its decision to terminate Bateman. We'll update this story if more information is released by either party.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.