'Super Smash Bros.' Coach Pierce Blacklisted by Community After Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Daniel Seraphin, better known as Pierce in the Super Smash Bros. community, has been accused of sexual misconduct. Since 2006 he's been a professional Smash caster, analyst and referee, but is best known for his coaching work. In 2017, he partnered with professional player Tempo Storm Gonzalo "ZeRo" Barrios, joining the Tempo Storm org as a contractor in 2018. Pierce was well known for his insight, and used his status to access the inner circle of the Smash Bros scene.

On Monday, Pierce announced on Twitter that he would be leaving Tempo Storm and ZeRo to pursue his own Smash Ultimate pro career. A Tempo Storm spokesperson told Newsweek that Pierce received his 30-day notice of termination on November 18 2018, with his contract ending on December 18. "We provided him an opportunity to make his departure after that time but made our announcement on January 21 after his failure to do so," the spokesperson said.

Weston "Westballz" Dennis responded in Pierce's thread, calling Pierce a "creep" and saying that lots of "sources" could back up that claim. Pierce denied any wrongdoing, tweeting "no one can actually give me a legitimate reason of how I'm a creep except the fact that I sung Happy Birthday to my friend one time."

That's when others started to join the thread and share their interactions with Pierce.

Kat, who goes by Princess Hyrule, shared her account of an interaction with Pierce at CEO 2018 which took place at a house in Daytona Beach, Florida from June 29-July 1, 2018. CEO (Community Effort Orlando) is a fighting game tournament that's been going for eight years, with many of the nations best Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Super Smash Bros players gathering to decide who's the best on the east coast. Pierce had "wrapped (his) arms around (her) waist until (she) couldn't move." (Princess Hyrule did not respond to Newsweek's request for comment).

Pierce denied these claims at first, at one point tweeting "it is entirely possible that we exchanged a hug" and that there was "no way that I would have hugged you in such a way." Later in another thread, Pierce shared a different opinion, tweeting "I can see no suitable reason to disbelieve Kat or suggest she lied." Different people who were at the event confirmed this interaction took place, including P (who asked to remain anonymous for privacy reasons).

"Pierce's behavior with women was consistently strange throughout the weekend, being just generally overly affectionate with women," P said over Twitter DM to Newsweek. He claims that Pierce was a bit too "handsy" with women at the event.

Qavee, who was also at CEO, claimed on Twitter that Pierce walked up to her and kissed her on the forehead multiple times. Pierce admits that he did do that at the event, telling Newsweek that "they were not designed to be romantic in any regard, and no one seemed to take any issue with them at the time, but I have since learned that they made her feel uncomfortable." (Qavee did not respond to Newsweek request for comment.)

Kevin Leyh, who also attended CEO, said Pierce made him "incredibly uncomfortable" according to a tweet. Leyh claimed that a few of the CEO attendees had gathered their money and rented a house 10 minutes from the venue. There was a jacuzzi in the back. "I remember being in the hot tub with him while he asked everyone really inappropriate questions such as 'out of all the girls here who would you fuck?'" Leyh wrote.

"And I just kind of said a name to just like move the conversation forward, after that more people were jumping in the tub and the vibe was getting a little weird so I just left," Leyh elaborated to Newsweek over Twitter DM. "I didn't think about it much because a lot of people were saying well that's kind of who he is, he's a very flirtatious guy and very open with people." P was also in the hot tub and agrees with Leyh's version of events. Pierce told Newsweek this never happened, calling it "a lie."

Since these accusations have been made public, ZeRo has released a statement of his own. "I don't stand for Pierce's behavior or his actions at all," he wrote in the post. "This man was living in my home and I did not condone any of the alleged behavior." He claims that the pair have not worked together in "quite awhile" and that he is "sorry that (he) didn't recognize this sooner."

Mychal Ramon "Trihex" Jefferson, a popular streamer and member of the Super Smash Bros. community spoke out against the actions of his former friend on Twitter. "I don't accept any of his behavior," he wrote. "It disgusts me to know that he was causing inaccessibility within a community I love as much as Smash."

Pierce has one thing to say to all his former friends that are speaking out against his actions. "If you are one of those people who wanted to stand by me on everything and be a ride or die homie, I respect you for that, but don't be a fool," he told Newsweek. "I messed up big time, and it's my responsibility to take this L, and no one else's."

Since the start of his career, Pierce built up a reputation for being inappropriate to, and around, women. There are dozens of public interactions between the former Smash coach and random women online, ranging from the mundane to the questionable. "I made the poor judgment call to disregard the potential importance of my future of social media and do whatever I wanted with my Twitter account," Pierce told Newsweek.

Pierce would comment on the photos of women on Twitter that were often odd and confusing. On a picture of Qavee, he posted "one day I'll plant a garden in your honor." The screenshot of the tweet started to spread around, with the Smash Thirst Patrol account (which was dedicated to cataloging strange interactions between Smash players and women) got over 2,500 likes. Pierce does not understand why the tweet gained internet fame saying "she knows me, and I suggested an unusual, non-sexual activity relevant to the person I was talking to."

From 2015 to 2017, Pierce commented on the tweets of PornHub Aria and YouPorn Katie, each site's community manager avatar, more than 30 times. "This is why you're such a key player in my life Katie. Your recommendations have saved me hours," he posted on his public Twitter account. According to Lylli, who was behind both accounts, she had to eventually mute Pierce and that she's seen a lot of "cringe tweets."

"Looking back at it, I'm sure that some of the things I posted made some of those people feel uncomfortable, and I'm very sorry about that," Pierce told Newsweek.

Pierce planned to attend the Genesis 6 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament in early February as his last event. Tournament attendees shared their disgust and fear for their safety at the event online, with the event's Twitter account sharing that Pierce will no longer be attending. "He is not welcome because of several reports to us indicating they would feel very uncomfortable with him attending, as well as concern for the people who aren't aware of his history, based on the great deal of information that has come out about him recently." a Genesis spokesperson told Newsweek.

Since Princess Hyrule's tweet, Pierce's inbox has been flooded with angry messages from people who focus on what they feel was a "fake apology," he claims. "Like, there's a part of me that wants to just shout out to the world, but I'm so tired," he told Newsweek. "Even if I did hug Kat in a way that made her feel uncomfortable, people saying I'm mentally unstable, unsafe, and that I should kill myself are totally in the wrong, and need to step back."

"This is not 'Oh, I'm sorry I hugged you and you felt bad about it.' This is me saying 'I'm sorry I made you feel bad by lacking awareness.'"

'Super Smash Bros.' Coach Pierce Blacklisted by Community After Sexual Misconduct Allegations | Gaming