Zach Jesse banned until 2049 (most likely lifetime ban?)

Zach Jesse banned until 2049 (most likely lifetime ban?)

I'm sorry, but if the intent is to make me feel safe, that backfired. I don't feel safe when the policy is to ban people from ever playing Magic again for arbitrary reasons with no explanation because a small Twitter mob was unhappy about it. The fact that he was allowed to play and then banned when he t8ed something just adds to the problem.

Also, this post fails to mention the accusations that allegedly his MTGO account was also seized. Surely no one is threatened by the fact that he plays MTGO? What's the explanation for this?

I'll just reiterate what I said on Twitter here - If you want to make a statement about what you value, make an actual statement. Don't silently pass judgement and hide behind PR spin.

I assume Drew Levin will also be banned, given that he actually violated some of Wizards' publicly stated principles about public shaming. Perhaps they are only enforcing some set of hidden and deeply arbitrary principles now.

Either way, this decision is disgusting and the otherwise wonderful people like /u/LSV__ that endorsed Levin's public shaming should be mortified. You can't hide behind saying at the time, "I don't want to see anyone banned; I just want to raise awareness about this irrelevance to the game and demonize someone. Your play, Wizards corporate." This is of course how they would react. Good job everyone. No one feels "safer" on account of your efforts.

"Yeah, but guys...we really like Patrick. Surely that makes it okay!"

This has to be on top... This policy is so wrong.

I don't want Patrick Chapin to be banned from Magic, but isn't he also a convicted felon? And he is even in the Hall of Fame. People can become better people, sometimes even thanks to this game.

For reference, Zach wrote a detailed post here regarding his past after issues arose regarding him playing Magic on camera/being featured at GPs.

I'm not sure why he's been banned. I don't think WotC has posted anything regarding it, so unless we here from Zach, it'll only be hearsay regarding if his past IS the reason he is currently banned.

Edit: - Zach's update

After reading his story, I see no reason why he should be banned from magic over a crime he committed years ago. He's had his civil rights restored even.

If he has been banned for no reason except for his conviction, I only ask that Patrick Chapin follow him. Otherwise, there is no justice.

Not to sound angry, but we as consumers are demanding a statement on this issue and your policy going forward. We do not care about your internal policies. Nor, should we.

For me, lack of transparency is affecting my decision to participate in Wizards Organized Play moving forward.

I see what they are trying to do ... if you understand Pro Magic as a large advertisement campaign for the game, I am sure you don't want convicted rapists on the tour (reformed or not).

However, damn, does this look bad now. They didn't do anything until there was a public outcry, and even then they don't put a formal policy in place (which could be discussed and criticised), but rather silently ban the single individual that the outcry was about, presumably in the hope that the issue just goes away.

As I said, I kinda understand WotC, but I really don't like the smell of this. It seems way too much like somebody got banned because of a Twitter / Facebook / Reddit shitstorm more than anything else.

A friendly reminder: no matter how much time or money you've invested, Wizards of the Coast can shut down your MTGO account at any time, for any reason, and without providing you with any form of compensation. When you build a collection on MTGO, you do so at your own risk. This is just one of many excellent reasons to steer clear of it.


Levin is a piece of shit who "Fox News"'s things for shits and giggles.

edit: wait? How is Levin not being banned for harassment of players? We had crack gate, no one was denying the people were overweight and had poor clothing choice, but the issue was they shouldn't be harassed about something unrelated to the game.

Justice in that case would mean every current and new Magic player getting a federal background check before being issued a DCI number.

So is there now a convicted felon ban across the board?

Here is a statement I've been given to post. I cannot give any follow up.

"We work hard to make sure all players feel welcomed, included and safe at our events so that they can have fun playing Magic. We don’t generally comment on individuals or provide position statements in the abstract, but we take action to address player issues and community concerns when we feel it is necessary."

/u/wizards_alison Can you ask someone to fill us in so we do not speculate our brains into useless nubs?

Edit: Wizards did respond

Edit 2: I have reached out and requested an approved list of crimes before the weekend. You're welcome. Also, I am now working under the assumption that all future opponents have been properly vetted by WotC. You should as well.

Edit 3: Zach Jesse responds:

I worry about the precedent this sets. "You're allowed to participate in Magic tournaments as a convicted felon/rapist, but if you get too much publicity then you're OUT." Hoping WotC will explain their decision, but I don't expect them to.

His MTGO account has been banned also apparently.

if you understand Pro Magic as a large advertisement campaign for the game, I am sure you don't want convicted rapists on the tour (reformed or not).

Yet a convicted drug dealer is part of the Hall of Fame of magic. It doesn't really add up, does it?

Some people don't feel dealing drugs and raping a woman are equivalently bad.

sane people.

Unless you're Drew Levin.

On behalf of the MTG Community, please, for the love of God, silently pass judgment.

'Unless they have a criminal past, then we pick and choose which ones we won't allow based on what internet people say.'

I assume Drew Levin will also be banned, given that he actually violated some of Wizards' publicly stated principles about public shaming. Perhaps they are only enforcing some set of hidden and deeply arbitrary principles now.

The worst part about this is it wont get seen enough. All the focus is on Zack and someone who actually broke rules wont see a damn thing happen to him. Regardless of your feelings about this issue it has to feel ridiculous that someone can do this and hide behind "it was for the community"

We thought everyone would be okay with this, we were not prepared for the response we got.

Corporate speak for "If this guy won a Pro Tour and the Gawkers of the world got a hold of it, it would make our game look like shit and create a PR nightmare. You think we're ok with that? One player being banned is better for us, as a company, than to risk something like this blowing up out of our control."

He was convicted of sexual battery and quite honestly, it's entirely possible that his judgement was impaired due to alcohol as well. The fact remains he served his time and has even gotten married. I know a person who went to federal prison for decades but got his law degree in the joint and is now a successful defense trial lawyer. People change. Sometimes, prison works at rehabilitation which is the fucking point.

Agreed 100%.

In case Wizards/Hasbro doesn't know what an "actual statement" entails, it would address the actual concerns that people are having over this issue, a couple of which are:

Doesn't this set a double-standard? Why only Zach Jesse?

What about other convicted felons playing MTGO and/or sanctioned events? What about Patrick Chapin? What sets Zach apart from them, other than the fact that it got huge publicity, due to Zach's GP Top 8 finish and Drew Levin. If only Zach Jesse is being punished, it sends a message that Wizards isn't aiming to be fair or just. They simply want to protect their public image. They don't care about convicted felons competing in their events. They only care when the public widely knows about it.

At what point is a person considered "reformed"?

He's served his time and lived an honest life for the past 10 years. As far as his country is concerned, his debt to society is considered paid. Given the context of his crime, he is not at risk of harming anyone at a live event. He certainly is not at risk of harming anyone by playing Magic Online.

Anyway, I don't think the community would be satisfied with a public statement if it doesn't explicitly address these concerns. Their canned statement was vague and generic.

Even if they openly said

"Yes, we are singling out Zach Jesse. No, we are not banning any other convicted felons. No, we are not requiring background checks to apply for a DCI number or play MTGO. Zach Jesse is a registered sex offender, his past conviction is well-known in the community, and we don't want people associating him with Magic: The Gathering."

I would have more respect for Wizards than if they simply hid in the dark until the whole situation blew over.

And this is why the US correctional system is so messed up. People want revenge and punishment not justice and rehabilitation.

I agree completely. To piggy back on your post, I think its atrocious that others who have been convicted of sex crimes are allowed to continue playing IF Jesse was banned for this reason. The separating factor between them and Jesse is that Jesse was too good at magic and was skillful enough to earn a feature match. That's not a reason to receive a ban.

EDIT - I do not agree everyone should receive a background check. I just don't think they should be harsher on Jesse than they are on all the other sex offenders playing magic. The difference between them and Jesse is that Jesse was a good player who caught the attention of some angry tweeters. Since that's not a reason to be banned, they should ban the other sex offenders or fuck off with the special treatment.

You guys are idiots.

The guy served his punishment. He tried to better his life and was really damn open about it. You are now the ones playing the judge role. This feels so bad.

Zach did wrong years ago. WotC did wrong today.

We work hard to make sure all players feel welcomed, included and safe at our events so that they can have fun playing Magic.

So can we talk about people who dig up (public) personal history of others and post about it on twitter? That seems like it goes against Wizards' policy.

This is so wrong, Wizards. You've been a excellent, progressive company, but you messed this one up. He has served his time and become an example of how to turn your life around after a mistake.

If only there were some way of WotC to communicate this instead of just posting it and waiting for people to notice. Alas, we live in the stone ages and don't have a means of mass communication.

I wonder if Drew Levin is going to be making decisions on banlists for Modern and Legacy in the future too, since apparently Wizards allows him to dictate what's best for MtG.

"Issues arose" AKA Drew levin tweeting:

Quick reminder: Zach Jesse is a literal rapist who got away with serving three months of an eight year plea deal.

I doubt that. They'd have to ban Chapin if that were the case.

Yeah, that was one of our best Untapped episodes! Worth noting I think both players have shown tremendous growth since their individual infractions and I have no issue with either being allowed to play our game.

Drew Levin is more harmful to the MTG community than Zach Jesse is, it's Drew who deserved a ban for stirring this shit up.

Inspiring story: Zach Jesse wins Pro Tour 2049

So I assume this is the first player in history to be banned from magic for something that had nothing to do with magic?

@MighrasPhotoshop's tweet on the issue: "Ughh, do we really have to ban Goryo's Vengeance in Modern? Well I guess we could always just ban the guy instead..."

If true, that is absolute BS. Even if you buy the public safety arguement for banning him from organized play, how exactly is he going to assault someone through MTGO.

edit: Its confirmed, wizards apparently offered him cash for his collection, but that doesn't change my mind that banning him from MTGO is pure applesauce.

This is a perfect example; if you do the crime and do the time, you still are considered scum. The kid was fucking 19 and drunk. What he did was really fucking bad, but they were both drinking underage and couldn't handle their liquor. People don't make smart decisions when drunk. The victim was the one who agreed that the punishment fit the crime. I mean, I feel like all this "white knighting" is just people trying to attention whore by pretending to be concerned.

Awful awful awful. I await the humbled look on all your faces when this is retracted out of overwhelmingly negative community reaction.

YOU HAVE A CONVICTED FELON HALL OF FAMER. But this guy is somehow dangerous or negative to the community?

The issue I have with this is the lack of transparency / ownership over the decision by WOTC (which is a common issue I have with their actions).

As a company, it is a defensible position for Wizards to decide that it doesn't want to risk being associated with a convicted rapist. I can imagine potential headlines for a NYT article that would cause parents to be very concerned with letting their children go to tournaments. Readers won't spend the time required to learn the details of the situation, or that this guy was convicted 10+ years ago and since then has demonstrated remorse and worked to make amends for the wrong he committed. Wizards has to think about the potential damage to their brand.

I believe that justifying this decision on "community safety" grounds is very misguided / borderline evil. The crime occurred 10+ years ago and from all accounts, Zach has done nothing to call his character into question since. It is wrong to imply that he is somehow dangerous to people around him.

I also don't like justifying this decision on "community openness" grounds, but in this instance, I don't feel that my opinion has any real weight to it as I am not someone who would feel excluded or uncomfortable by him being there. If having him at a tournament makes others uncomfortable, I am sympathetic to that reaction and I believe WOTC should be concerned / potentially intervene. I would hope that there would be another way to resolve this issue, but as an adult white male who has been fortunate enough to not personally suffer from any sexual abuse, I am not going to speak for the feelings of those who have.

Ultimately I am not thrilled with the decision to issue the ban and I am especially unhappy with the way this was handled.

All i learned today is that I yell the loudest with the most friends I get my way when WOTC is concerned.

I love this company but I have never been more disgusted with them.

And I am a long time MTGO player, so that is saying something.

If Wizards are going to have a "crime scale" to decide who can and who cannot play Magic, they should probably make that public information.

I think Jim Davis should write an article about this for SCG.

"There is this asshole that plays FNM, makes me feel unwelcome. can we get him banned?"

What a fucking coward. No problem starting shit but the minute he gets called out on it he goes into his shell. He's probably crying about the injustice of having to privatize his twitter to get rid of all the people who's opinions he wants to ignore. My heart bleeds for you Drew Levin. Please go away forever.

It was For the Watch.

Drew Levin is literally Olly

Somewhere, Drew Levin lost consciousness when all the blood suddenly rushed into his groin.

We work hard to make sure all players feel welcomed, included and safe at our events so that they can have fun playing Magic.

So why did you make everyone feel unsafe and unwelcomed by digging in someone's past and banning him for something that's not related to the game, tournaments or any other events?

That was for something done at a magic event, it has a lot to do with magic (if not actual gameplay).

If they want to institute a ban on people convicted of certain crimes then that is their prerogative. However, banning a single person who has not violated the DCI rules (afaik) because his ugly past was brought up seems like an inconsistent move.


Any chance on getting the list of approved crimes I may commit and be able to continue playing magic. Trying to plan out the next few years of my life.

Despite his past, I really think Chapin is a great guy & a good ambassador for the game. His story shows that people can change. He shouldn't be banned, nor should Zach.

I agree completely. Source: See banning Zach Jesse after multiple tournaments years after his crime.

If the reason for Jesse's ban is his criminal past wouldn't it only be fair to ban Chapin as well? Not saying they are the same crime but Jesse has served his time as well

Because it doesn't fucking make sense, that's why.

So I expect background checks for EVERY player. You can't just single out people and not expect backlash. Very poor Wizards :-(

I don't feel safe with Drew Levin being a part of the game and community with his tendency to cyber bully.

you guys are setting a dangerous precedent here. internet lynch mobs are part of the dark side of the age of communication we are in the process of entering, and with this decision you guys are showing that not only is it acceptable to start witch hunts, you will capitulate to their demands.

i'm sure you didn't come to this decision lightly, and i don't have a strong personal stake in zach jesse's continued mtg career. but this is concerning and i hope you guys think hard about what this could lead to.

here's a ted talk by somebody you may have heard of discussing her experiences with bullying and becoming a social pariah, although her "crimes" are clearly not as severe zach's. i'm not saying this to defend zach's actions, only because i hope that you consider the ramifications of allowing cyber bullies like drew levin to dictate your policies.

Banned for having two first names.

Not disagreeing with the choice, but I feel a lot of us wanted this to result in an announcement of a clear, distinct and consistent policy on this subject matter. This statement looks like "Drew Levin got Zach Jesse banned because the resulting shit storm brought it to our attention."

This makes me seriously want to consider taking a break from magic. Punishing someone for a past action, that the player has even been open and discussed, based on the vocal armchair warriors of social media is a bad standard.

This is saying "you could be punished for something you did years ago, unrelated to the game, at any time"

If we would like to submit feedback in response to this, to whom and where would you suggest we go?

If they announce a concrete new policy they'll likely distinguish between violent crimes or sexual offenses and more "socially acceptable" felonies like drug running.

Edit: added sarcasm quotes

Thank you Drew Levin! You just ruined somebodies life, while he was actually trying to fix his live :(

I think this actually deserves an explanation from wizards. Or maybe from Zach himself. He was probably contacted by wizards because of this...

What if I don't feel safe playing Magic because I'm afraid something from my past will be dredged up? What then?

Drew Levin's twitter has gone private.

Everybody loves Patrick, and I am willing to bet he comes forward in Zach's defense.

I don't think this decision will stick.

From the original news article about Zach Jesse's conviction:

the victim wasn't concerned with a lengthy sentence.

"She didn't want to see him buried under the jail," says Zug. "She just wanted to see him held accountable."

The victim clearly understood the harm that excessive punishment causes. Obviously WotC doesn't.

Exactly! It's ignoring why recidivism is so common. These kinds of witch hunts prevent people from reentering and rehabilitating to society. It's absolutely fucked


I don't disagree that this really is the time where you double down on your messaging and make your value statements explicitly clear, but I'm going to guess that everyone who is NOT a lawyer from Hasbro or a high level manager in the corporation who's duties include public relations has probably been told "Keep your mouth shut, qoute the company line and "wait for the official statement".

I expect anyone who'd start running their mouth right now probably is taking their career into their own hands. Don't forget that this is all blowing up in the middle/end of the business day leading into a holiday weekend. I'd be shocked to see an official statement before Monday. Twitter and Reddit might run on internet time, but lawyers tend to keep bankers' hours.

If this is because of his past criminal history, the precedent that the DCI is setting is VERY disturbing....

I got arrested for some shit way back when I was younger and I would almost consider quitting competitive Magic FOR GOOD if this is the case.

This statement does not explain why his MTGO account was seized. It sets a very troubling precedent that WotC can seize magic accounts for turbid reasons.

Upvoted for visibility. Also upvoted cause shit's about to go down and I wanna see it. Unless precedent is being set here, it sounds like we can just complain about something and you guys will take care of it for us. As much fun as mob rule can be, this sounds pretty terrible.

Look out Brad Nelson!

It's /u/wizards_alison, actually.

The community concern here is that you pitchforked a player out of paper AND Digital magic for non-game-related reasons. As a matter of fact, it stands to reason if he had done WORSE in that tournament he'd still be able to play Magic.

I, for one, welcome our new slippery slope overlords.

Chapin won a Pro Tour and there were no "Convicted Drug Dealer wins Pro Tour" headlines. I know the crimes don't directly compare but this is a non existent concern. A guy wrote a article about winning a SCG Open high on mushrooms and it had absolutely no impact on WotC reputation. The only way this becomes a big thing outside of Magic is if people within Magic specifically go out to make it a problem for everyone to see.

I don't feel safe with a convicted drug dealer who's supply may have got to my kids or my pregnant sisters hands and harmed them physically and mentally. I expect another ban to follow. thank you

Surely Patrick Chaplin is goign to get banned for selling drugs 15 years ago then right? It offends me greatly that ya'll support a drug dealers.

Wow. Fuck that.

When I was 17 years old I got into a fist fight with a police officer. If I had been 1 year older it would have been a felony. I however paid for my crime and got help. Is wizards going to take away my chance to play magic? I would be so sad.

Zach's crime was 10+ years ago. I don't know everything about the situation but I personally feel like Drew Levin is responsible for this outcry.

Having people like Drew in our community seems much worse than having someone who served their time and paid their debt back to the world.

Its not just Drew though. It is having people who make it their mission to tear others down. "White Knighting" is such a terrible thing in the community. Make other lives harder for "the greater good"

I don't know Zach but I certainly feel sorry for him. All of this caused by Drew tearing this guy apart on the internet. He should be ashamed.

Edit: I would like to emphasize that I really do worry about the "burn her" mentality that this action seems to carry with it.

u/trickjarrett and /u/wizards_alison we really do need a list of approved crimes before the weekend. Please respond.

I'm sure there's a bit where it says they can refuse service for any reason or whatever.

prison works should work at rehabilitation

There's a lot of good arguments to be made that the US system does not currently do much in the way of rehabilitation.

Hell of a PR stunt too.

It takes quite the fuck up to turn an entire community against you when the other person is a convicted sex offender.

lmao, on drew levin's facebook from what I could see publicly,

Here's what I've got to say about people who want to talk about looting, or violence, or whatever else at a time like this: I'm not going to try to make a judgment about whether violence is productive or not, as I'm not enough of a scholar on social movements to stake a truly informed claim one way or the other. I understand that reasonable people have fears about violence begetting violence. With that said, here's my position about these sorts of things. 1. Black people have been the subjects of a uniquely broad and deep degree of oppression in America, starting when they were brought here as chattel and continuing through the present day, where they are routinely killed by officers of the state without repercussion in a manner and magnitude dissimilar to the experiences of any other racial group. 2. Pursuant to [1], a black person in America is subject to an experience that is nearly unfathomable to anyone who does not share it. It is certainly possible to empathize, but I do not believe it is possible to entirely understand what it is to walk out the door in fear of unaccountable death every day. 3. When that specter is brought to the forefront of the national consciousness, reactions to it should not be policed by people who do not understand the experiences that inspire such reactions. It is therefore even more insulting, patronizing, and patriarchal to invoke a murdered clergyman's advice in an attempt to assert your own judgment of what constitutes an "acceptable" or "just" reaction to that specter, to that everyday oppression. 4. If you empathize with that group, you should stand in solidarity with them, not centering your own voice or opinion, and help them in accord with the dictates of your conscience. If you disagree with their tactics, understand that your opinion is not the most informed or important and that the conversation is not about you or your experiences. Finally, please think for a bit before commenting.

This kid has literally zero moral consistency. African American looting in protest? Apologize to the looter for not understanding what their ancestors went through. White male rapes someone 11 years ago? FUCK that guy, it's witch hunt time. He just says whatever gets him the most attention at any time.

Will this apply to all registered sex offenders attending magic tournaments, or just ZJ? Any punishment for the harassment of ZJ by Drew Levin? Why did WOTC decide to take away his MTGO account?

I work in a school. Zach Jesse would not be allowed in my building unless his child was a student. Not because of tweets or reddit threads, but because we have a system to keep sex offenders out.

If Wizards is serious about this then they need a system, not a witch hunt.

Much like any collection of currency, items, characters, etc. in online games. The organization who owns the game actually owns all of the content inside of it and they let you play with it - even if you pay for it. You don't own anything, you just have access to it. Access that they can take away if they see fit to do so.

I think this is something he will keep quiet about. I don't think he has ever gotten involved in a situation that people are talking about his past.

I motion for a Drew Levin ban because he makes me uncomfortable...

This seems like an out of place and awfully late knee-jerk reaction.

edit: what /u/PVDDR said:

I'm sorry, but if the intent is to make me feel safe, that backfired. I don't feel safe when the policy is to ban people from ever playing Magic again for arbitrary reasons with no explanation because a small Twitter mob was unhappy about it.