When former Smash pro Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada announced his return to streaming, the Smash community had a mixed reaction. While some got #UnbanNairo trending on Twitter, others felt that Nairo was guilty of grooming fellow pro Zack “CaptainZack” Lauth when he was a minor.
Smash Ultimate player Saleem “Salem” Akiel Young got caught up in the drama when CaptainZach shared screenshots of Salem allegedly encouraging him to pursue a relationship with Nairo. At the time, Salem stated that he had no clue that Nairo was an adult. The Smash community was still unsure about Salem’s involvement, and he’s been dealing with backlash ever since.
Late last night, Salem decided to share a TwitLonger that explained the situation in greater detail. He went over a lot of information about his childhood, discussing how his lack of social experience led to him misunderstanding the situation with Nairo and CaptainZack early on.
About me. Addressing the Zack/Nairo incident. Everything else. Moving Forward.
— 🏳️🌈 (MVG) Salem ☆ #BlackLivesMatter (@SalemBane_) February 28, 2021
Salem admitted that he was scared to share this revealing TwitLonger, but felt it was important to get the information to the Smash community. Salem stated that this will be the last time he writes anything about the Nairo situation.
Salem first admitted that he’s not a very social person since he was homeschooled most of his life. During that time living at home until 17, he admitted he was physically and mentally abused. This led to him feeling like he “wasn’t like anybody else.” But through this tough time, Salem had four cats that he really cared about, Puff, Newt, China, and Ashley.
One day, Salem said he came back and Ashley was dead. She had somehow escaped his room. A week later, China suddenly died. A week later, Puff was allegedly dying from a “mysterious disease” and his mom demanded she be put down. Salem remembered the cat being “extremely lively and happy” just days earlier.
Salem recalled his mother being very paranoid and aggravated. She even threatened to pull a gun on his father at one point. His older brother scared him a lot due to his “anger issues.” He feels that getting punched straight in the chest by his brother has left him with chest or heart problems. His mom later refused to let Salem and his sisters keep a dog, at which point Salem told her and his brother off.
During this time, Salem was also dealing with online bullying. He stated that he learned people are “generally evil” on a site called Allisbrawl. After that experience, Salem stated that he decided to remain silent most of his life. But he then started going to Smash tournaments in person, where he started to have fun and make friends.
“With all this to note. I only knew basic things when it came to morals and rules. (Like killing being bad, racism being bad, pedophilia being bad, etc.) So I often kept to myself, played games, and lived life, what I usually do was talk to people online, write, graphic design, code, etc. Many things, even up to Smash 4,” Salem wrote.
Salem first met CaptainZack at one of the Big House tournaments he attended. He was impressed with CaptainZack’s mastery of Bayonetta. He described the young player as “social” and full of jokes and gossip. CaptainZack would also tell Salem all about his relationships, and even introduced Salem to the guys he would date, who he assumed were all minors.
Salem related to CaptainZack in the sense that they both had relationships that wouldn’t work out for them. When CaptainZack said he was interested in Nairo, Salem didn’t think anything of it, assuming they were both teenagers.
“Me ‘cheering’ Zack on for the things between them is simply me being glad Zack finally has a working relationship as he didn’t go into much detail before when it came to other people he’s been in relationships with. But this one in particular he did. Anything else said is me not knowing it’s not okay to talk to a minor about those types of things even if they may be experienced,” Salem wrote.
Salem had figured CaptainZack and Nairo’s relationship was fine and saw that they had even taken photographs together. Some of the photos had the two cuddling. Salem decided to ask if they were dating. CaptainZack said he wasn’t sure. This reminded Salem of CaptainZack’s relationship with MattyG, another Smash pro who Salem assumed was a minor. That toxic relationship had apparently led CaptainZack to begin cutting himself. Salem confronted MattyG, which led CaptainZack to start telling Salem a lot less about his relationships.
While talking with CaptainZack and other Bayonetta mains, Salem learned that CaptainZack thought Elliot Bastien “Ally” Carroza-Oyarce was attractive. He later learned that something had happened between them. At the time, Salem believed CaptainZack’s version of the events, since they had been closer.
CaptainZack later told Salem that what happened between him and Nairo was “a very good and well made-up story.” At this point, Salem said it was fine to use screenshots of their conversations because he was still unaware of the situation in its entirety. During this time, Salem finally learned of MattyG and Nairo’s ages.
“At first I wanted to believe [CaptainZack] wasn’t a bad or evil person and just misunderstood in a way similar to me. But no, he actually was just evil after all the entire time and got all his friends in a lot of screwed-up mess,” Salem wrote.
Salem then spoke about his feelings on Nairo’s return to streaming. He stated that the Smash community is quick to jump on everything and “join the louder side” to get clout. Salem said that it’s “not right” that a “role model and community leader” like Nairo has endured so much suffering because nobody will give him a chance in this situation.
Salem stated that the Smash community needs to get Nairo unbanned from Twitch and then apologize to him. Salem then noted that CaptainZack is “dangerous” to the community.
“I’m going to try to be more social and talk more, I’m going to try to be more involved in the community. Though I am more busy than usual. I want to work on making this community something amazing for everyone,” Salem stated.