Following Aziz "Hax" Al-Yami’s explosive video release in the run-up to the Godslayer episode of the Metagame documentary series, other players and personalities from the scene have been weighing in on the feud between the New Yorker and Europe’s top player, TSM's William "Leffen" Hjelte. For the most part, Leffen’s direct peers have refrained from offering opinions on the topic, but Jason "Mew2King" Zimmerman decided to comment after being asked repeatedly to do so by fans.
M2K left his thoughts as a (now deleted) direct response to the video made by Hax on June 5, and those who know M2K won’t be surprised to see there was nothing too explosive or controversial from the player. Time and harsh experience have taught M2K the danger of Smash drama, and his take on the Hax vs Leffen confrontation was as measured and thoughtful as you’d hope from one of the veterans of the scene.
The fact he removed the comment was explained later as being a direct result of pressure on social media to do so, which in turn was the reason M2K gave for weighing in in the first place, that his fans were asking him to do so. The fact he felt compelled to do so just shows how sensitive this situation is for the Melee scene, and to some extent the pressure that can be exerted by communities or fan groups when they disagree with a statement or decision.
M2K admits that "there seems to be a fair number of valid evidence/points in total scattered throughout the vid’" making him one of the only top players to back up Hax’s claims in any way. However, M2K is quick to point out the massive issue with the video, namely that "it's (valid evidence or argument) also often randomly mixed with worst-case-scenario assumptions, and i think many of the attempted points may be ignored by most people because of certain memes, assumptions, exaggerations and words chosen".
Rather than try to meme or curry favour, M2K simply states that Hax’s choice of example damaged, rather than helped his case, which was obvious to many when the original statement dropped, and notes the negative effect this can have on the reader’s reaction. This ‘will make those people (most people) immediately write him off or meme him online because it can give them clout internet points to their peers, which can create a system of people seeing and realizing "its popular and cool to meme on hax, so maybe i should do it too" causing everything he says to be taken not seriously and a bandwagon effect to follow.’
As a victim of Smash memes himself, M2K knows the power of a young community and a funny, if false, narrative, and his thoughtful reply here is almost certainly a product of his own experiences. He advocates for a proper assessment of the claims but also admits that Hax stymied himself with the extreme rhetoric he employed when making his case.
“I think neither extreme is best...and each thing should be looked at objectively and separately instead,” he goes on. “For example, I dont think hax is always right and i dont think he's always wrong, but from what I've seen, most people tend to like to choose one of the two extremes on opinions instead. To me each thing seems to be its own case by case basis.”
In conclusion, M2K encourages people to educate themselves on the topic rather than following the memes or only listening to one side of the argument. “Overall, i think people should form their own opinions based upon seeing everything, rather than going off what others say (which is what most people do), for better or worse...people kept asking me about it, which means they likely were waiting to simply make my opinion their own, which is not something I want to encourage.”
The community reception for M2K’s post was relatively welcoming, and while some enclaves of the scene have given in to a more fanatical reaction the majority already understand where Hax’s grievances stem from. As M2K rightly states, the root problem lies in the huge overstatements and exaggerations in Hax’s video essay, which has the same extreme messaging that has become more common in American discourse in recent years and has had such a damaging effect on that nation’s political landscape.