IBJJF no gi world champion Jackson Sousa has now been cleared of the sexual harassment allegations made against him inNovember 2021. The situation arose when fellow Checkmat BJJ black belt and top competitor Samantha Cook made pubic accusations on social media. This prompted other women to come forward and more accusations were made against Sousa on social media over the following days. The resulting backlash led to Sousa being dropped by his gi sponsor, Shoyoroll, and suspended by the head of Checkmat, Leo Vieira.
Shortly after the initial allegations were made, an investigation was conducted by an Independent Safeguarding Review Committee that was commissioned in London. That investigation found that Sousa was not guilty and he returned to BJJ competition shortly after it announced the findings. Sousa was booked to compete in the King of the Mats heavyweight tournament staged by AJP Tour, although some members of the BJJ community took issue with his inclusion at the time. High-profile BJJ competitors who also reside in the UK like Ffion Davies made comments against his appearance at the event:
“Surely they’re not actually having Jackson Sousa on this… AJP Tour what are you doing? There have been plenty of accusations made, it’s barely been a few months – and he’s already being allowed to compete?!”
Things have been relatively quiet in the year that followed this, while the UKBJJA were conducting their own investigation into the sexual harassment and misconduct allegations made against Sousa. Now Church Court Chambers, the lawyers representing Jackson Sousa throughout the cases surrounding his sexual harassment accusations, have released a statement to say that he has been cleared of the allegations in both investigations. Jackson Sousa himself has also made comments on the news that he has been cleared of these allegations:
“Last year, false claims by some individuals on social media resulted in my suspension from the team (CheckMat) and the loss of all my income, affiliations and sponsorships. I have been advised by my legal team not to get involved in the “social media court” and “social media circus”. It was hard to be silent for so long and not be able to speak my truth. Not only were the allegations false, but I was also subjected to hundreds of offensive, racist comments and received death threats. I was shocked to see how many in the Jiu-Jitsu community participated in an online cancel culture, without allowing the facts to come to light through formal investigations,”