For some players, taunting can be an effective means to gain a tactical advantage and frustrate an opponent. Check out some recent sets between NuckleDu taking on XiaoHai, and it’s apparent that even high-level players can get tilted.

Taunting isn’t limited just to Street Fighter though. Recently the Killer Instinct community event organizers have been looking to put a strict mandate over “teabagging.” The ruling was exercised during last year’s Killer Instinct World Cup, which prohibits any players from performing this specific taunt.

The act may sound innocent and harmless, since the taunts are usually expressed in-game, but they don’t always stay within the parameters of the virtual arena. KI event facilitator Rotendo Camarena stepped in after a heated discussion erupted over social media. We reached out to Camarena to give us some context.

“It started about Shadow Jago and later talked about [a particular player] using his taunt,” Camarena explains. “Then someone got salty about losing and expressed their opinion about taunts/tea bagging — then made a threat about physical violence towards someone if they were to see them in-person at a tournament.”

The thread was shut down to put a “time out” on the situation. It was later reopened so that KI World Cup administrator Brandon Alexander could announce teabagging is prohibited at KI World Cup. In addition, the player who issued threats was told to openly apologize or they would be banned from all KI World Cup events indefinitely.

In an effort to create a safe environment and minimize any drama, an executive decision was made to keep the ruling in place another year.

Camarena says he plans to carry out some taunting antics of his own at the upcoming Frosty Faustings event. Killer Instinct dev Adam ‘Keits’ Hart also gave thoughts on the matter over Twitter:

.@Angelx911 the thing is though, it already has a gameplay purpose because it can inflict psychological damage

— Keits @ NewDonkCity (@TheKeits) January 23, 2017

You know, competitive games CAN tell a story ABOUT THE PLAYERS if you LET THEM.

Trying to force everyone to be friendly is shortsighted.

— Keits @ NewDonkCity (@TheKeits) January 23, 2017

While some players see this as a form of censorship, it’s important to understand the tournament brand is looking to maintain a positive image. Reports of violence certainly isn’t a good look when you have professional companies supporting your game. “I can relate to the reason behind the ban, in that we don’t want to see something escalate [to the point of violence],” says Camarena. “But then again, I understand the psychology behind the taunts/teabagging as a strategy.”

Update: Ultra Arcade Owner Brandon Alexander has reversed the ruling, calling it a “troll” (despite statements given to PVP Live above) in a statement given to Yahoo Esports’ Michael Martin.

Teabagging may be on, but there is still a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment and threats. He also confirmed the original player is “being dealt with.”

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