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A professional “Super Smash Bros” gamer from New York City is facing a torrent of online harassment and discriminatory competition bans over pro-Israel views he expressed on social media, the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) learned this week.
20-year-old Felix Hasson — who plays under the handle “T_pot” — told CAM that he was deregistered without notice last Thursday from the “Luminosity Makes BIG Moves 2024” tournament, scheduled for January 5-7 in New York.
The tournament, known in short as “LMBM,” is being hosted by Even Matchup Gaming, in partnership with Luminosity.
No official explanation was provided to Hasson about the ban, but a tweet published by tournament organizer “Aerodusk” made it clear it was due to his Zionist identity.
“Have been running events all day, just got to this and he has been removed,” was the reply of “Aerodusk” to a tweet posted by “Junglist Soldier” asking “why is this racist zionist weasel allowed at your event” and highlighting several past tweets from Hasson indicating his affinity for Israel.
Hasson, who now attends college after participating in a gap year program in Israel, said he was also subsequently banned from weekly tournaments by Waypoint Cafe NYC in New York and Game Guys Entertainment in Houston.
In a direct message communication with Hasson, “Game Guys Entertainment” tournament organizer Jordan Lewis wrote, “While being a Zionist does not deem you as a bad person, and your opinions and how they are expressed are your own, it is of my decision that sometimes these expressions have consequences.”
A message to Hasson from Waypoint Cafe NYC tournament organizer “Bugs” said, “Waypoint Staff itself has seen your tweets and other statements provided to us. Unanimously the higher ups agreed in a meeting that type of behavior is not welcome at our venue.”
Hasson told CAM, “Everyone in the Smash community knows I’m Jewish, I don’t keep it a secret. I’m very proud about my identity, and very open about it. I’m also very open about my support for Israel. I lived there, I support its right to exist and everything it stands for as a landmark of democracy in the Middle East. And being called out for what I would say were pretty innocuous tweets, and being slandered online as a ‘racist Zionist weasel’ and ‘genocide enthusiast,’ it doesn’t feel so good, to say the least.”
“Anyone who has ever met me at a tournament or even just talked with me a little bit online knows I would never do harm to anyone,” he added. “And it just really hurts to see people jump to all these conclusions and immediately ban me.”
Hasson is also concerned that the bans will prevent him from long-term professional success as a gamer.
“I do get good money from time to time from these events, and it’s something I want to pursue,” he said. “I’ve been competing in this for three years, and I’ve seen my skill level grow, and I want to see how far it can grow.”
For more on Hasson’s story: