Fortnite streamer Tyler ‘Ninja‘ Blevins – well-known for his streams with Canadian rapper, Drake – has come under fire recently for his comments on why he doesn’t stream with females. Speaking with Polygon, he says the reason he doesn’t play with fellow streamers of the opposite sex is to avoid rumours, which, frankly, is an extremely piss-poor excuse.
“If I have one conversation with one female streamer where we’re playing with one another, and even if there’s a hint of flirting, that is going to be taken and going to be put on every single video and be clickbait forever,” he told Polygon.
Blevins later attempted to clarify his comments in a tweet, explaining that he’s only trying to protect his relationship with his wife and fellow streamer, Jessica ‘Jghosty‘ Blevins.
Please read. pic.twitter.com/egfplBQFYD
— Ninja (@Ninja) August 13, 2018
While you might be able to sympathise with Ninja, it’s simply not good enough for someone in his position to send that message to the gaming community which, unfortunately, is rife with sexism, racism, and just general shitty toxicity. You only have to log on to any online game for roughly 5 minutes before you hear someone make any number of horrible comments under the guise of “banter”.
The problem isn’t about Ninja being entitled to a private life with his wife – he absolutely is – it’s about the impact his excuse has on his young male fans. What kind of message does this send to them, and what damage does it do to females in the community, who already have a hard time as it? And look, Ninja isn’t necessarily the focus of the problem here, it’s far bigger than one streamer, but he’s perpetuating everything that’s wrong with the culture.
Others have taken to social media to express their disappointment.
Between saying the N-word for fun and refusing to platform women, maybe it’s time to stop calling Ninja a role model and start calling him a bigot. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
— Derek (@ComplicitOwl) August 11, 2018
A lot of people are justifying Ninja’s decision to not stream with women by saying he’s ‘protecting his marriage’ but if your marriage is so weak that it crumbles under the rumours made by complete strangers online then your marriage was never built to last in the first place imo
— Diddly (@DiddlyDonger) August 12, 2018
I fucking love the gaming community and am always genuinely stoked to see it hit new and bigger audiences, but we need to do better, and that starts with people like Ninja who have millions of followers. We need to teach younger gamers that sexism, racism and any kind of abuse is simply not acceptable.
Gamers in influential positions need to understand how powerful their words and actions can be, and if they can use that position to be a positive and inclusive force in the community, maybe we can put an end to the toxic shitfight we currently have.
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