Image: Getty

A female player signed to Overwatch Contenders team Second Wind was recently outed as a man conducting a “social experiment.”

According to The Washington Post, “Ellie,” a highly-ranked female player was signed, received death threats, disappeared, and then revealed to actually be a guy all in a matter of weeks:

In December, a minor league esports team thought it had signed a fast-rising, highly ranked female player who played under the nickname of Ellie. As the news of the signing reverberated around the Internet, Ellie shared screen captures of threats from online attackers and less than two weeks later, Overwatch Contenders team Second Wind tweeted that she left the team, ‘due to some unforeseen reactions.’

But the real reason “she” left the team was because she didn’t exist. Instead, a video posted by streamer Becca “Aspen” Rukavina reveals Ellie to be another player called Punisher, who was conducting a “social experiment.”

The gamer community has a well-documented history of being abusive to women, so it’s unclear what the experiment was meant to prove. As the Post points out, women in the community often face scrutiny that men do not:

Female gamers are often accused of cheating and in one notable example, a young South Korean woman, who plays under the name Geguri for the Overwatch League’s Shanghai team, disproved claims directed towards her by showing her hand movements while playing.

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Punisher was apparently using female friends to talk for him during games, and had he been an actual woman, “would have been the first woman to play on a Contenders North America roster.” Fun experiment!