Embattled Super Smash Bros. pro Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios has filed a defamation lawsuit against Jacqueline "Jisu" Choe for defamation in the LA County Court, as reported by Jacob Wolf and Cale Michael of Dot Esports.
The lawsuit filed on Nov. 19th, 2021 accuses Jisu of making multiple defamatory statements about ZeRo when she accused him of sexual misconduct toward minors during the summer of 2020, an action that ZeRo claims caused him to lose professional opportunities. The lawsuit also lists Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress as a second cause of action. He is seeking unspecified damages in the suit.
ZeRo and Jisu were formerly roommates at the Sky House, a content house operated by Sky Williams which hosted multiple Smash players of varying ages. Jisu published a 58-page document last July detailing multiple allegations of misconduct and grooming against ZeRo and linking to various chat logs related to those allegations.
In the new lawsuit, ZeRo alleged four defamatory statements from Jisu:
- ZeRo claimed that Jisu lied about the age difference between Zero and his wife Vanessa, claiming "she was 15 and Barrios was 20" when they started dating, when in actuality "Vanessa's birthday is in November 1997 and his is in April of 1995."
- ZeRo claimed that Jisu lied when she alleged that he physically abused Vanessa, claiming that this lie was libel since it is accusing him of criminal activity
- ZeRo claimed that Jisu lied when she accused him of seeking to fly a 14-year old minor to meet him in a hotel for sexual activity. The lawsuit did not deny the allegation that he asked a 14-year old to send sexually explicit pictures of herself.
- ZeRo claimed that Jisu lied when she claimed he used to show her sexually explicit Craiglist ads and Hentai.
"The . . . statements were false," the lawsuit claimed. "Barrios did not date an underage girl, did not abuse Vanessa, did not fly minors in an airplane for sexual purposes, and did not show minors pornography."
Jisu responded to the lawsuit on Tuesday with a gofundme campaign and a Twitter statement.
She stated: "I'm being sued by former Smash Bros Star [ZeRo]. Last year I used my platform to expose his sexual abuse of children. He admitted it but now denies it n claims he lost his career bc of me, not bc he's a pedophile."
She continued her statement in a series of follow-up Tweets: "It is truly depressing that it’s come to this. I am angry, I am tired, but mostly-- I am disappointed. Disappointed that those who abuse others cannot accept the consequences of their actions, and disappointed in those who continue to support them. I will be resuming my work and posting it as usual. I refuse to let this hinder me. Many of you may not know this, but I’ve overcome my own battles with abusers/pedos as well. This is not the first time and certainly not the last time that they've tried to bring me down. I'm very sad that my new friends and followers are learning about my past like this-- but I'm proud. Proud that I've found success beyond abuse, and proud that I've shown others that your past does not define you, it’s how you grow from it that makes you who you are. This is my one and only response for now. I will not comment further unless advised by my lawyer."
ZeRo previously admitted to many of Jisu's accusations in a now-deleted confession that he released last year. As a result of the confession, ZeRo was cut from his team Tempo Storm, lost his contract with Facebook gaming, and was banned from Twitch, in addition to "self-imposing" a ban on himself from all future smash events.
In a recent video, ZeRo backpedaled much of his confession, calling his former admissions of guilt a "suicide letter" written during a "tremendous mental breakdown." Following his new claims of innocence, he returned to YouTube as a full-time content creator in November.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.