Update: Alan Bunney has now released his first public statement since the Smash World Tour accusations were made, which you can find in the story below.
Panda Global has been facing a lot of controversy as of late due to the alleged actions of its CEO, Dr. Alan Bunney, who reportedly threatened to shut down tournaments and their organizers over the past year with multiple corroborations. After the first statement released by Panda was not well received by the Super Smash Bros. community, over 80% of the sponsored fighting game division has apparently since resigned.
Earlier today, Panda Global released a new statement indicating that Dr. Alan Bunney is longer the CEO of Panda Global. Additionally, they announced the Panda Cup 2022 Finale is being postponed due to security concerns.
The Panda Cup Finale was originally scheduled to take place from December 15, 2022 and last until December 17, 2022. The Panda Cup circuit was officially sponsored by Nintendo and was the first one to ever score a license for a competitive tour.
Panda Global officially launched with Dr. Alan Bunney as co-founder and CEO back in 2015. As of right now, it’s unknown how involved with Panda Global Dr. Alan Bunney will be aside from his removal as the CEO.
In previous statements made by the Smash World Tour team, it was indicated that Nintendo canceled the Smash World Tour 2022 Championship and the Smash World Tour 2023 circuit. However, Nintendo released two statements that conflicted with what was said by the Smash World Tour team by stating that they only weren’t issuing the 2022 championship and 2023 circuit licenses, and claimed that the decision to cancel was a decision that was and still is the Smash World Tour team’s.
— Panda (@PandaGlobal) December 5, 2022
Seemingly in response to these events, Ludwig recently announced the “The Scuffed World Tour” to take place on December 18, 2022. It likely wasn’t a coincidence that it was scheduled for the original finals day of Panda Cup 2022.
Alan Bunney has now made his first public comment since the Smash World Tour open letter was posted on November 29, where he claims he has evidence the SWT organizers lied and Beyond the Summit leadership “put the community in jeopardy.”
“I’ve stepped down as CEO of Panda to protect the safety and well-being of the team,” Bunney wrote on Twitter. “My statement (with evidence) is coming.”
I’ve stepped down as CEO of Panda to protect the safety and well-being of the team.
My statement (with evidence) is coming. pic.twitter.com/LkousPo183
— Panda |: Dr Alan (@DrAlanB) December 5, 2022
Organizers for the Smash World Tour accused Bunney of improper conduct and mob-like behavior when trying to recruit tournaments for the Panda Cup, which was corroborated by multiple event runners including Beyond the Summit.
Panda acknowledged Dr. Alan’s bad interaction with BTS and said in their first statement that a separate team had been established afterwards to handle event relations.
Most of the community did not respond well to Panda’s first statement, which came 3 days after the Smash World Tour’s open letter and seemingly downplayed their involvement in any of the Smash Bros. drama that is / was unfolding.
This extended to Panda’s own staff with 8 confirmed members of their sponsored eSports fighting game team publicly stating their resignations from the company while most others removed some or all mentions of the team on their social media sites — plus more on the production and PGStats parts of the company.
These allegations also put the Panda Cup Finale in jeopardy as well with 19 invited competitors revealing their intentions to pull out of the tournament.
With less than 2 weeks to spare, postponing the Panda Cup Finale may have been the only recourse to make sure the event can continue, but right now there’s a question mark as to when that’ll eventually be.
For years, Panda had built itself up to be one of the largest eSports teams in Smash and the FGC with strides being made to create their own content and obviously, create their own events.
What the future holds for Panda Global and the rest of the Smash community plus the entire relationship with Nintendo is still up in the air as well, and Dr. Alan’s statement indicates that this ride is not over yet.
You can read Panda’s full statement below.
Panda has heard the concerns of the Smash community and is taking immediate action. Alan is no longer CEO, effective immediately.
In the interim, Panda employees are working with outside advisors to form a temporary Interim Management Committee (IMC) to act as CEO to navigate this critical time. The identities of those in the IMC will not be made public at this time due to concerns over harassment and safety.
The IMC’s immediate priorities are:
• Work with any team member who wishes to resign, including release from any contractual obligations.
• Support those who feel displaced through these events to find a home – either with Panda or another organization.
Panda is committed to demonstrating dedication to the community, and everyone who shares our passion. Panda is committed to do our part to move the competitive Smash community above and beyond the current situation, starting with an internal structure and a rededication to our values as members of this community.
We call on the community to treat those affected by these events with grace, understanding, and to call out and report any attempts of doxing or harassment.
Additionally, due to security concerns for our staff and contractors, the: Panda Cup Finale is postponed. The IMC will work to issue refunds to all those who registered in the coming weeks.
Contributions to this story were made by Dakota ‘DarkHorse’ Hills and Justin ‘AdaptiveTrigger’ Gordon.