To update: Alan Bunney has now released his first public statement since the Smash World Tour allegations, which you can find in the story below.
Panda Global has been in the news lately due to the alleged actions of its CEO, Dr. Alan Bunney, who has faced numerous controversies, has reportedly been threatened with multiple confirmations over the past year to shut down tournaments and their organizers. After the initial statement released by Panda was not well received by the Super Smash Bros. community, it appears that over 80% of the sponsored fighting game division has now withdrawn.
Panda Global released a new statement earlier today, showing that Dr. Alan Bunney is no longer CEO of Panda Global. Also, they announced that the 2022 Panda Cup final will be postponed for safety reasons.
The Panda Cup final was originally scheduled to take place from December 15, 2022 and last until December 17, 2022. Officially sponsored by Nintendo, the Panda Cup Circuit was the first to ever be licensed for a competitive tour.
Panda Global was officially launched in 2015 with Dr. Alan Bunney as co-founder and CEO. It is currently unknown to what extent Dr. Alan Bunney will be associated with Panda Global aside from his removal as CEO.
Earlier statements from the Smash World Tour team indicated that Nintendo canceled this Smash World Tour 2022 championship and the Smash World Tour 2023 circuit. However, Nintendo released two statements that contradicted what the Smash World Tour team had said, stating that they were only not issuing the licenses for the 2022 and 2023 championships and claiming that the decision to cancel was a decision and still is that of the Smash World Tour team.
— Panda (@PandaGlobal) December 5, 2022
Apparently in response to these events, Ludwig recently announced The Scuffed World Tour, set to take place on December 18, 2022. It was probably no coincidence that it was scheduled for the original Panda Cup 2022 finals day.
Alan Bunney has now made his first public comment since the Smash World Tour open letter was released on November 29th, in which he claims he has evidence that the SWT organizers lied and that the Beyond the Summit leadership “the community at risk”.
“I have stepped down as Panda CEO to protect the safety and wellbeing of the team,” Bunney wrote on Twitter. “My testimony (with evidence) is coming.”
I have stepped down as Panda’s CEO to protect the safety and well-being of the team.
My testimony (with evidence) comes. pic.twitter.com/LkousPo183
— Pandas | dr Alan (@DrAlanB) December 5, 2022
Smash World Tour organizers accused Bunney of inappropriate behavior and mob-like behavior when attempting to recruit tournaments for the Panda Cup, which has been corroborated by multiple event runners, including Beyond the Summit.
Panda admitted to Dr. Alan’s bad interaction with BTS, saying in her initial statement that after that a separate team was set up to handle the event relationships.
Most of the community did not respond well to Panda’s initial statement, which came 3 days after the Smash World Tour open letter and seemingly downplayed her involvement in any of the Smash Bros. dramas that were/were unfolding.
This extended to Panda’s own staff, with 8 confirmed members of their sponsored eSports fighting games team, who publicly announced their retirement 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 it the company.
These allegations also jeopardize the Panda Cup finals as 19 invitees announced their intention to withdraw from the tournament.
With less than 2 weeks left, postponing the Panda Cup Finals may have been the only way to ensure the event could continue, but at the moment there is a question mark as to when that will ultimately be.
Panda has grown over the years into one of the largest eSports teams in Smash and the FGC, making strides to create their own content and of course their own events.
What the future holds for Panda Global and the rest of the Smash community, as well as the overall relationship with Nintendo, is also up in the air, and Dr. Alan’s testimony shows that this journey 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. Effective immediately, Alan is no longer CEO.
Meanwhile, Panda employees are working with outside consultants to form a temporary Interim Management Committee (IMC) to act as CEO to navigate this critical time. The identities of the members of the IMC are not being released at this time due to harassment and security concerns.
The immediate priorities of the IMC are:
• Work with any team member who wishes to resign, including the release from all contractual obligations.
• Support those who feel displaced by these events to find a home, either with Panda or another organization.
Panda strives to demonstrate its commitment to the community and everyone who shares our passion. Panda is committed to doing our part to move the competitive Smash community beyond the current situation, beginning with an internal reorganization and a renewed commitment to our values as members of this community.
We urge the community to treat those affected by these events with grace and understanding, and to report and report any attempts at doxing or harassment.
Additionally, due to safety concerns for our employees and contractors who Panda Cup Final is postponed. The IMC will be working to issue refunds to all registered individuals over the coming weeks.
Contributions to this story were made by Dakota “DarkHorse” Hills and Justin “AdaptiveTrigger” Gordon.