Ninja Sounds Fed Up

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Photo: Robert Reiners (Getty Images)

Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, still the streaming world’s best-known crossover sensation even years after the peak of his relevance, sounds like he’s getting a little tired of his every action being hyper-scrutinized by millions of people all the time.


In a new profile by The New York Times that, of course, opened with the requisite reference to an otherwise irrelevant video game that the author played in their youth (Goldeneye, in this case), Blevins spoke on a wide range of subjects. These were unified by a single throughline: He is tired of a whole, whole lot of the shit viewers say to and about him.

Here, for example, is Blevins on his return to Twitch after Microsoft’s money machine briefly lured him away to now-defunct streaming platform Mixer:

“When we came back from Mixer, I knew that I wasn’t going to be the biggest streamer in terms of viewers anymore. You don’t be the No. 1 streamer, leave, come back and you’re No. 1 again. I get people coming in my chat, and they’re like: ‘You’re falling off. LOL. Good Mixer move, man.’ The Mixer move was smart. I don’t regret anything I’ve done. I could teach all these kids talking [expletive], but when you reply to them, they’re like, ‘He said my name!’ Their name is 69fartsniffer, and you read their name, and their next comment after they roasted you is them giggling like a little schoolgirl. Like, ‘You noticed me!’ It’s the worst.”

Here he is talking about young viewers and, er, sort of contradicting his own prior stance on heated gamer moments:

“You want to know who your kid is? Listen to him when he’s playing video games when he thinks you’re not. Here’s another thing: How does a white kid know he has white privilege if his parents never teach him or don’t talk about racism? If they’re gaming and their first interaction with racism is one of their friends saying the N-word and they have no idea what it is—what if it was on my stream? Is it my job to have this conversation with this kid? No, because the first thing that’s going on in my head is, ‘This kid is doing this on purpose to troll me.’ If someone says a racial slur on someone else’s stream, it can potentially get that streamer banned. It’s awful, but that’s the first thing I think of.”

And he sounds very fed up with hearing about his own stance on not streaming with women—a bad take he’s walked back to some degree in the years since but not entirely.

“Accusations are what made me say that about female gamers. I was like, I’m going to do anything in my power to make sure that no one can even start a rumor or make YouTube clickbait videos: ‘Ninja is playing with this person a lot lately. They’re flirting. Here’s a clip.’ You know how to make that never happen? You don’t let it happen! That’s what was going through my head. I still stand by not having a lot of alone time with a woman, in general, if you are a married man. I mean, they could be your best friend, that’s totally cool. But if I randomly start playing with a woman no one knows, people are going to start talking. So if I am going to play with female gamers, I do it with a big group so it’s not that one-on-one interaction.”


Extremely not entirely.

“Of course a guy and a girl can be friends without getting intimate. But it’s like, temptation, man. Actually, I don’t like that word, because I have control of myself and 100 percent respect for my relationship, but—I don’t know how to word it. I know people are going to potentially take this now like, ‘Oh, he can’t trust himself, blah blah blah.’ Dude, no. But when you’re not ‘Joe’ anymore, who can have a drink with his co-worker and no one gives a [expletive]—I don’t have that luxury.”


Perhaps someday Blevins will square his stances on his passivity when it comes to calling young viewers on racism and the active role he’s taking in spreading retrograde views about women. Today does not seem to be that day.

In happier news, Blevins, a self-described “idea man,” sure has had some ideas. Inspired by his days as a pro gamer who had to drive for 8+ hours at a time, he has devised a new product.


“What happens on a long drive? You get cold, and it’s like: I’m freezing! I’m tired!” he said. “Well, you turn up the heat, and you get too hot. Now you’re hot or falling asleep, but you also don’t want the window down, because what if it’s freezing out or what if it’s super loud with that window down? So it’s right here: little stick-on chill strips you put underneath your eyes so you can have the windows up and the heat on. This would be good for truck drivers. Dude: chill strips.”

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Kotaku senior reporter. Beats: Twitch, streaming, PC gaming. Writing a book about streamers tentatively titled "STREAMERS" to be published by Atria/Simon & Schuster in the future.



I mean, all things considered, he’s not exactly wrong about this:

Accusations are what made me say that about female gamers. I was like, I’m going to do anything in my power to make sure that no one can even start a rumor or make YouTube clickbait videos: ‘Ninja is playing with this person a lot lately. They’re flirting. Here’s a clip.’ You know how to make that never happen? You don’t let it happen! 

Like. Yeah, the language obviously needs some work, and what he says after this is def. projecting a bit; but, I also think a lot of the gaming journos that took his opinion and ran with it just...really do not spend a lot of time in fandom spaces, or on YouTube as a platform. The level of fandom that is being built around parasocial relationships viewers have with these e-celebs is frightening and, frankly, starting to go way passed just being gross/cringe.

There are hundreds of videos, gif-sets, fanfic, fandom communities, roleplay forums, discords, tumblrs, etc that are all singularly devoted to shipping real life people without a shred of evidence.

There is literally a video where a streamer with a deep voice complimented AoC while they were streaming together that has almost 2 million views.

There are entire communities dedicated to shipping Markiplier with his friends, and there fanfic authors who get commissioned to write PoV stories where the viewer has sex with cosplayers or e-celebs.

A member of RoosterTeeth actually had to prepare a defense against fanfiction during a divorce hearing because their partner thought the stories and fake facebook roleplay accounts were real.

I get the guy is a shithead, obviously, but let’s not pretend there isn’t a problem here that’s only growing and getting worse regardless of whether or not you feel sympathy for him.