Valorant pro Jay 'Sinatraa' Won accused of sexual assault by former partner [updated]

Jay Won, former Overwatch and current Valorant esports pro.
(Image credit: Robert Paul / Blizzard Entertainment)

Jay 'Sinatraa' Won is a former Overwatch MVP that switched to playing Valorant in 2020. The 20 year-old esports pro was accused yesterday of sexual assault by Cleo Hernandez, his ex-girlfriend of nine months. Hernandez posted a link on Twitter to a Google document containing a written statement, audio file, and text messages that detail how Won allegedly forced Hernandez to have sex, refused to use contraceptives, and was emotionally manipulative.

Hernandez's statement goes into grim detail, with graphic descriptions of sexual assault.

"I have avoided talking about any aspect of me and Jay's relationship for over a year," writes Hernandez. "I never spoke about it mostly because this is horrifying and also because I've seen the way women in our community are treated when they try to talk about being hurt by prominent figures."

The statement gives a brief outline of Hernandez and Won's nine-month relationship, explaining how Won had refused to use a condom during sex, forcing Hernandez to get an IUD that made sex painful. "This should have been the first red flag but I was a stupid Overwatch League fan excited about the fact that Sinatraa was interested in me and looked past it," Hernandez writes.

Hernandez's account goes on to detail how she began trying to avoid sex with Won, but he would continue pressuring her until they did.

"Sometimes he'd pretend to be OK with my excuses but then he'd ask just for me to kiss him and I'd say okay and then he just did more and more until we had sex anyways," Hernandez writes. "I'd try and say no again and he'd just push himself on me anyways."

"Eventually, I would rather just say yes and lay there until he was done than fight him on the no. [On one occasion] he wanted to have sex, I didn't have an excuse for why I didn't want to at the time, so I just let it happen and laid there and stared at the ceiling with him on top of me, his weight crushing my chest. I think about staring up at that ceiling everyday."

Hernandez' statement also includes a short audio recording from one of what Hernandez describes as "countless times" when Won forced her to have sex. In the recording, Hernandez can be heard saying "Nuh uh" and "no" three times to the male voice, allegedly Won, who says "I'm close" twice in response and insists on continuing.

As well as the audio recording, Hernandez's statement goes on to provide pictures of texts and other messages detailing Won's controlling and manipulative behaviour.

Won has yet to publicly comment on these allegations. PC Gamer has reached out to Won for comment, and has also contacted Sentinels esports and Riot. We will update this story if we receive a response.

Investigations & suspension

Shortly after this story was published Riot's global head of competitive operations for Valorant, Alex Francois, released the following statement:

"We are aware of the current situation regarding Jay Won (Sinatraa) and have launched an investigation. Per our existing competitive rules and investigative process, a decision has been made to suspend Won throughout the investigation and therefore he will not be able to compete this weekend."

Won's current team, the Los Angeles Sentinels, has now also released a statement announcing the player's suspension, and its own investigation into the claims.

Update: Won's response

Updated 11/03/2020

Jay Won has now commented on the allegations, posting a statement to social media in which he writes:

"It is clear from Cleo’s recent post that she recalls our relationship differently than I do. What we do agree on is that it was unhealthy for the both of us. I apologize to Cleo and regret how things ended, but I never assaulted her in any way. I am fully cooperating with the investigations and providing the full audio and video clips Cleo referenced in her post."

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."