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Aris "Aris" Bakhtanians Releases Statement on Recent Comments

The man at the center of this week's controversial remarks regarding sexual harassment in the fighting game community speaks out and apologizes.

Aris "Aris" Bakhtanians, leader of Team Tekken, was largely silent as events unfolded today.

While reporting yesterday's story about leading members of the fighting game community discussing the issue of sexual harassment in the fighting game scene, I reached out to the parties involved.

Besides Capcom, all silently declined.

The comments took place during Capcom's Cross Assault reality show, a competition acting as a promotion for next week's Street Fighter X Tekken. In the stream, Twitch.tv community manager Jared Rea brought up the issue of sexually inappropriate language alienating potential fans of the fighting scene, and a debate ensued.

It's best if you just read what happened next.

Miranda “Super_Yan” Pakozdi, member of Team Tekken and the female participant at the center of this, chose not to talk to me.

Aris "Aris" Bakhtanians, the male coach of Team Tekken attributed with the questionable commentary, did the same.

A few moments ago, however, Bakhtanians reached out to me over email, and released a brief statement. I asked Bakhtanians if he'd be willing to talk about the situation at length, but he unfortunately declined the opportunity.

His full statement is featured below:

I understand that I said some controversial statements on the Cross Assault show, and a lot of people are deeply offended with what was said. When I made these statements, I was very heated as I felt that the culture of a scene I have been a part of for over 15 years was being threatened. I unfortunately used extreme examples in the heat of the moment and feel that my statements don’t actually communicate how I feel. This is similar to what people say when they get into an argument with their girlfriend, and they say things that they deeply regret. I sincerely apologise if I have offended anyone. My statements do not reflect those of Capcom or myself. The last thing I want to do is get them in trouble for giving me and the fighting game community the opportunity to have an amazing show like this.

What I was trying to communicate is that mild hostility has always been a defining characteristic of the fighting game scene. Back when arcades were more prevalent, people didn’t like newcomers, and players needed to fight and pay their dues to get respect. The debate I was in was with a person who supported professional leagues, who have intent to censor the community to make it more accessible. I think the sink or swim mentality is something that defined our culture, and if that succeeds it removes something which has been important to help create some of the best fighting game players of our time. I was unfortunately unable to make this point clearly. Again, I am deeply sorry for offending anyone. This was a combination of the people taking things out of context and my own inability in the heat of the moment to defend myself and the community I have loved for over 15 years.

It's unlikely, however, Bakhtanians' statement alone will put this issue to rest.

I've received an enormous amount of feedback since the story ran, and I'm still filtering through the comments from both inside and outside the fighting game community. I'm setting up interviews as we speak. We'll revisit this soon.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
690 Comments
Posted by xdragonx

I just signed up on this bad attention seeking website to tell you one men doesnt represent the Fighting Game Community. Neither the thousands of call of duty or online stream monsters that post here. If you aint to any tournament or local gathering you dont belong to this community. So stop generalizing it. There is no problem in the FGC against women. These community is full of minorites and has lot of diversity, of course sites like this dont gonna report such things. I mean when do you see gay, transaxual, latin,indian and black ppl so much like in fgc? Right not that much in sc2 or any other "esports" game. Sc2 is played mostly by white males. And like aris said u cant turn the fgc in something like sc2. The roots are in the arcade culture which is rough and competitive.

Edited by MachoFantastico

''My statements do not reflect those of Capcom or myself."

He probably should have proof read what he typed down. No excuses really for some of the comments he made, he went overboard and showed the type of person he is. There's still a worrying issue when it comes to the way female/girl gamers are perceived, especially considering how many female gamers there are nowadays. All this highlights how little some gamers have grown up. Start acting your age man.

On a side note, this is exactly why I love Patrick being on GB. He's articles are always of interest, wish a number of other game sites would learn that approach instead of writing drivel.

Posted by Neferon

Where's the like button? Keep these coming Patrick! Also I'm curious about those interviews.

Posted by shinluis

why in so much attention being given to this guy. He is a dick, end of story, move on.

Posted by WMWA

Awesome job, Patrick. At least you're making good on being a journalist when you can, instead of just the normal videogame press critiquing

Posted by zellar

Wow that "Aris" guy is talking like a pre-teen...does he have a girlfriend??? I'm sure his Mom and Dad must be proud...heat of the game...he wasn't even playing???? I hope he loses what ever gains he gets from this show or whatever....

Posted by moffattron9000

@seanfoster: Now Ryan with a massive beard I can get behind

Posted by joshrholloway

I get the feeling that Aris doesn't really understand why people are upset at him.

Posted by hwy_61
@Wunder_

I don't understand the need to release an article or update every single time something happens. Prior to this, most articles published were well researched and featured both sides of the story. Just because someone declined to be interviewed, doesn't necessarily mean they wouldn't speak with you after, for example, the reality show they were contracted to be filming ended?

I don't quite get why there was such a need to publish this story as fast as possible, I thought the whole point of Giantbomb was to get filtered and well researched articles, rather than a flood of knee-jerk articles based around twitter posts or what was said on a stream.

I've actually been looking forward to the developments on this story. Patrick has done a great job, and he has me by the balls to see if anything else happens.
Posted by darkjester74

This is what happens when a games journalist actually acts like a journalist. Kudos to you Patrick, keep up the amazing work!

Posted by welded

Women in the fighting game community? Next they'll want the vote!

Aris is a complete ass. Nobody is accidentally a horribly sexist prick. They're just a sexist prick. Next, if this attititude is prevelant enough in the community that people laud it as a crucial and founding tentant of the culture (!?) then there is a serious problem with your gross, immature community and I suggest you take a serious look at your place in it. Do you like the idea of a diverse, mature, and thriving community of peers where talent weeds out the weak or an exclusive, hateful, bitter community?

Edited by Lotus

@shodan2020 said:

From yesterday's article:

Rea: "When I go to SoCal regionals and I see a Phoenix [from Marvel vs. Capcom 3] on main stage getting blown up and there’s some dude in the audience just yelling “Bitch! Bitch!” every time she gets hit and then she killed and goes “Yeah, rape that bitch!” Yeah, that’s totally acceptable! Really? Really? You’re going to tell me that’s acceptable?"

I don't know if I would classify some dude shouting "Rape that bitch!" as "mild" hostility. That seems pretty fucking hostile and disgusting to me.

Oh wow, the comments were directed to a character in the game? the x-men girl right? I thought it was aim at a female competitor at the event name Phoenix... wow, now i don´t care anymore, hahaha really this is getting people mad? i´m too old and/or too young for this xD.

Posted by Olivaw

@joshrholloway said:

I get the feeling that Aris doesn't really understand why people are upset at him.

Gee, you think?

Posted by groverat

Great articles, Patrick. It's been a lot of fun to read the comments section.

Posted by Jimbo
@Ett said:

@Jimbo: He apologized to Miranda long before Patrick posted that article.

My issue is that even in this statement he still seems to be defending his position, not genuinely apologising for it and accepting that his view (and apparently the culture of the community he's a part of) needs to change.  It's not a misunderstanding: his point of view is that he wants to protect that culture and mine is that it's not worth protecting and needs to be dragged into the sunlight and disinfected. 
 
I'm not trying to single out the fighting game community here, because it seems pretty rampant across a lot of gaming communities. XBL for instance seems to be a total fucking cesspool.  'That's just how it's always been' is not a good enough reason for something to stay how it is. I'd certainly like to see the industry and media a little more proactive about changing attitudes rather than just being reactive and catering to it.
Posted by Xevabis

Why does this asshole have to look so much like me it's creepy?

Posted by dudeglove

Well it's about time video games grew up a little.

Online
Posted by Garrick_Greathouse

Yes, this is America and you have the right to say what you want. Private/Public companies also have the right to not sponsor events where people are encouraged to yell "Rape that bitch" while standing in front of a company logo.

Edited by EveretteScott

@Barrock said:

But there's no appropriate public situation where yelling the phrase "Rape that bitch!" is socially acceptable.

In your circle perhaps. Your opinion has no bearing over my family get togethers!

Posted by mfpantst

Patrick, I just wanted to first say here's what came to mind when I saw when you posted this article overnight:
 
  

  Second, good job.
Posted by Chris2KLee

This here folks, real video games journalism. I'm glad the man is open to discussing his side of things, even if briefly. I really hope to get feedback from Super_Yan, I think it would really help the general conversation about this situation, and the fighting game community.

Posted by VarkhanMB

@IndieMax said:

I think one of the better things written after the incident is this http://shoryuken.com/2012/02/29/back-to-basics-getting-beyond-the-drama/

Absolutely worth a read. The FGC is so much more then all the drama.

Totally agree that the community is a lot more, but as is pointed out in the article you linked (great read) "It’s about instilling a common sense decency and calling out the blatantly bad behavior that today often gets a pass."

I guess there's a degree of "vulgarity" that can pass, and I don't even consider myself sensitive to words or swearing...

Posted by S0ndor

There's a big difference between smack-talk, which is entirely acceptable and expected, and the relentless sexual harassment that is sometimes on display during various gaming events.

Posted by moffattron9000

The sad thing about this is that most likely at the very most in the long term all Aris will get a slap on the wrist for this at most and even worse is that a very large amount of the general populace has decided that sexual harassment and abuse particularly against women largely is something not worth caring about or holding against a person also known as why goddamn Chris Brown still gets a career.

Posted by Barrock

@Lotus said:

@shodan2020 said:

From yesterday's article:

Rea: "When I go to SoCal regionals and I see a Phoenix [from Marvel vs. Capcom 3] on main stage getting blown up and there’s some dude in the audience just yelling “Bitch! Bitch!” every time she gets hit and then she killed and goes “Yeah, rape that bitch!” Yeah, that’s totally acceptable! Really? Really? You’re going to tell me that’s acceptable?"

I don't know if I would classify some dude shouting "Rape that bitch!" as "mild" hostility. That seems pretty fucking hostile and disgusting to me.

Oh wow, the comments were directed to a character in the game? the x-men girl right? I thought it was aim at a female competitor at the event name Phoenix... wow, now i don´t care anymore, hahaha really this is getting people mad? i´m too old and/or too young for this xD.

That's not the entire brouhaha. It's mostly about the guy repeatedly asking the girl her bra size, making odd comments about her going to the bathroom and such.

Posted by imooumoo

"My comments do not reflect those of Capcom or myself."

Forget this guy. What you say completely reflects yourself because you said it. No matter how heated they still came from somewhere, some belief inside of you.

Posted by Devoid

My statements do not reflect those of Capcom or myself.

Oh man, he really typed that? hahahaha

Online
Posted by TeflonBilly

Wow Patrick. You're really trying to instigate shit to make a bigger name for yourself.

Your first "article" was the worst camoflagued op ed you've posted and I'm saddened to see it on Giant Bomb. This is the type of drivel I expect from Kotaku. Your journalistic talents, which i do believe you have since I usually love your pieces, is sadly wasted on this grab for attention.

Oh yeah, Aris is an asshole. I think that's the response you'll get from the people you reach out to.

Posted by SuperWristBands

So, is it that Aris doesn't really like Jared because of what he thinks he wants to do to the FGC? 'Cause I can understand someone saying dumb shit to defend themselves from someone they don't care for and possibly perceive as a threat in some way. Only problems were that he was saying this stuff while being affiliated with Capcom and assuming a lot of the people in the FGC, and of course, that I don't understand anyone wanting to defend the examples Jared brought up in the conversation.
 
I still think Jared was in the right and Aris shouldn't have bothered to try and defend the actions.
 
Of course Aris doesn't represent the FGC. Myself, as someone who sits on the side-lines and watches matches on the internet I generally see only a few figure heads of the FGC (Mike Ross, Gootecks, Haunts, Ultra David, and James Chen) and they all seem like great guys. I know the names of players but I rarely see them speak so as to get an idea of how they act.
 
Oh well, I'll continue to watch tournaments and enjoy them.

Posted by NickL

@Devoid said:

My statements do not reflect those of Capcom or myself.

Oh man, he really typed that? hahahaha

Yeah he was trying to say that he was heated and said some things that he didn't really mean, similar to how it is when one gets into an argument with their girlfriends and says something they don't really mean.

I don't really believe his apology myself, with how late it came it seems like he is just trying some damage control, nothing more.

Posted by Ronald

So he's using the "Not to sound racist" excuse? Actually, in "the heat of the moment", what you say is what you really mean, not the other way around. However, this is not what he wanted to say in a business sense. And this response is trying to keep Capcom happy without backing down because he's afraid of change. Because, sorry, the excuse that in arcades new people were shunned and so that should continue is bullshit. No arcade I ever went to acted that way. And for those that did act that way their behavior should not be encouraged.

Posted by imooumoo

@TeflonBilly: What the hell are you talking about? This is news, Patrick is the news guy. He is investigating the claims, and has done excellent work on bringing this to the attention of the greater gaming community.

Posted by dael

@RurouniGeo: That exactly how I feel. I think Patrick is one of the only people out there that takes his time to write good article. And after i read the article with so many no comments or not even that LI Joe stream, it just felt rush. I know the way the internet works is that whoever do it first wins, but what I like of about Patrick article is that they are always complete and this one doesn't not seem like that. I am glad he is taking his time to do a follow and with interviews.

Posted by Fozimuth
@PatPandaHat
Are you crazy?  Anybody who hasn't memorized all of the frame data as of AE 2012 deserves to be called a scrub.  Clearly.
Posted by WilldaBeast

I find myself very upset reading the comments of this thread. Please, please, don't assume the entire fighting game community is like this. We are a bunch of good guys, So Aris made a mistake, everyone is going to forget this even happened in two weeks anyways. Don't let this ruin the image of the fighting gam e community. I guarantee that if you go out to your local arcade (If you have one) or research your local FGC, you will be pleasantly surprised at how accepting we are. Sure we might call you free and make fun of you a bit, but it's all in good fun, and we are here because we want our scene to grow. This whole fiasco is unfortunate, but it does not reflect us as a whole, I promise you that.

Edited by Feldheim_C

Oh, as for the fighting game community. I've meet some really cool people who are into it, I've also met some (read fewer) hardcore d-bags. The same can be said for most of the gaming community in general. Shame to see there are some who cock it up for everyone else and make everybody look bad. The world could use fewer people like that.

Posted by David_T

@Xevabis said:

Why does this asshole have to look so much like me it's creepy?

Well... remember those blackouts you've been having?

Posted by joshwent

@TeflonBilly said:

Wow Patrick. You're really trying to instigate shit to make a bigger name for yourself....Your journalistic talents, which i do believe you have since I usually love your pieces, is sadly wasted on this grab for attention.

HAAAAA! Seriously?!? I get it if you misinterpreted the original article as "the FGC is sexist" or whatever and got mad, but really; "Grab for attention"? "Make a bigger name for yourself"?!?

Man, this is funny! I know that you know Patrick is the main news guy on the most respected video game site around. Do you honestly think that he wrote these stories to get promoted to some fantasy super-journalist position? Something happened, he wrote about it. News. That's it.

Posted by TeflonBilly

@imooumoo said:

@TeflonBilly: What the hell are you talking about? This is news, Patrick is the news guy. He is investigating the claims, and has done excellent work on bringing this to the attention of the greater gaming community.

The original article was a clearly skewed op ed about what an asshole Aris is with some vague points about how the FGC's vernacular may be alienating. It was an unnecessarily hastily produced article which was by no means nuanced.

The fact that several people think "RAPE THAT BITCH!" was screamed at Super_Yan during her match and not during another match where the character of Phoenix got whupped showed how muddy the point came across.

He might as well have pointed out that the trash talk that is prevalent among the boorish member of the FGC is obviously an extension of so-called "urban slang" so he could sensationalize it even more by bringing racism into it as well!

This isn't news. This is trashy tabloidism.

And to be absolutely crystal, I thought that Aris' comments towards Super_Yan during the match was unacceptable. I however can see what point Aris was trying to make when he was discussing with Rea, clumsy as it may have been.

Personally, I don't agree with either 100%.

Posted by Giacomito
Edited by Hagane

@shodan2020: I don't think the person was telling someone to literally "rape" Phoenix (kinda hard to do with a fictional character). In that case, "rape her" is used to mean "beat her", or "own her".

Posted by TeflonBilly

@joshwent said:

News. That's it.

News? I see it as trashy tabloidism(sp?).

What's next?

"Gabe Newell sleeps in an oxygonized tent to stay young so he'll be around when Half-Life 3 gets released!"

I can't wait until Patrick gets a Geraldo Rivera mustache

Posted by Devoid

@NickL said:

@Devoid said:

My statements do not reflect those of Capcom or myself.

Oh man, he really typed that? hahahaha

Yeah he was trying to say that he was heated and said some things that he didn't really mean, similar to how it is when one gets into an argument with their girlfriends and says something they don't really mean.

I don't really believe his apology myself, with how late it came it seems like he is just trying some damage control, nothing more.

Ah, I see. That makes sense.

The way his apology's written seems like someone else wrote it. Though almost all "official" apologies are written the same way.

Online
Posted by NeoGamer

Yeah Aris crossed the line, he was a douche to her, it is wrong, fine.

But the thing is, it's like soccer. Do you just analize the play? No, that's for the commentators. Talking about the behavior at tournaments, we do watch because of the game, but we also make fun and to some extent insult EVERYONE that's playing. If we can make fun of Chris Hu's funny accent, the "darkness" of Dieminion or "white people hype", should we just get quiet when a girl is playing? "Hey, everybody cool now, it's a girl!" I'm not saying that yelling "rape da bitch" is right, but it's a small part of the people there. The others still say some shit, and IT'S FINE. Like Aris said, it's (just one) part of the FGC, and it defines part of our community.

There are girls in the FGC that are actually strong. Miranda's comments of "I'm not going to Final Round anymore, the FGC now scares me" are absolutely dumb and full of drama. Sherry goes to a lot of tourneys, gets some shit from the stream monsters but is respected by the players. Kayane has been going to tournaments since she was 9. A lot of guys bring their girlfriends to tournaments. We get heated with the hype and a few cross the line, just like it was at the arcades in the '90s.

And I'd never trade that for any stupid eSports so called "professional" line, which is a big lie, because since Counter-Strike came with this whole shitty Pro talk, women get yelled at anyway.

tl;dr: Stop the dumb drama.

Edited by Feldheim_C

@Bourbon_Warrior:The point sir, you have missed it completely.

Also, no, transexual is just that, between sexes, while ladyboys tend to be more of a third gender in some cultures (like the Kathoeys in Thailand)

Edited by PatPandaHat

@Hagane: Great. Now, I'll ask. Why is that an acceptable use of the word? Justify it beyond, "well, that's just the word we use", because you must be using that particular word for a reason.

Posted by joshwent

@TeflonBilly said:

@joshwent said:

News. That's it.

News? I see it as trashy tabloidism(sp?).

What's next?

"Gabe Newell sleeps in an oxygonized tent to stay young so he'll be around when Half-Life 3 gets released!"

I can't wait until Patrick gets a Geraldo Rivera mustache

Yes, that's exactly what's next. Patrick will earn the title he's drooled over all these years of greatest game writer in the universe forever by making up shit about Gabe Newell. *sigh :(

Man, it's really, REALLY disheartening that this huge flamewar is going on because fighting game fans can't unanimously say that sexual harassment isn't good. Is that really too much to ask?

Posted by TadThuggish

The "sink or swim" mentality of trash talk is an acceptable one, but he doesn't understand that specifically altering your language and culture to suit a woman ("She has a vagina! Let's say bitch instead!") is unacceptable. It's not equal treatment if you approach every other person in the room with "Fuck you, jerk!" but the lone minority gets a "You stupid whore I hope you're raped how big is your bra I'm gonna buy you a skirt drooooool"

Dude has the Chris Brown disease of saying sorry, not knowing what he's sorry about, and continuing to do it.

Posted by kinnonyee

: Great article. I'm glad you're taking the time to research this story despite what others think and are saying. As a person who has followed the Fighting Game Community and video games in general, the overall smack talk culture has been getting out of hand lately. Some people might think it's policing things, but it's about asking people to mature themselves. You can say a lot to another person without needing to resorting to such misogynistic language and I'm glad that you're keeping on top of this. Keep up the good work.

Posted by myslead

wait so who's a transgender now?