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Ninja Streams A Game With A Woman; World Doesn’t End

Tyler “Ninja” Blevins
Tyler “Ninja” Blevins
Photo: Tyler “Ninja” Blevins (Twitter)

On Wednesday, controversy surrounding Fortnite golden boy Tyler “Ninja” Blevins resurfaced after a high-profile callout of his apparent avoidance of streaming with female gamers. Blevins defended himself on Twitter and, on Friday afternoon, did in fact play Fortnite with a female gamer.

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Blevins was criticized 14 months ago after telling Polygon “I don’t play with female gamers.” At the time he said he didn’t want to put his wife “through that,” saying it could lead to claims of flirting and worse.

It’s unclear how much he streamed with women since then, but a series of events brought the topic back this week.

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On Wednesday, when Lady Gaga asked who Tyler “Ninja” Blevins was, the obvious answer was “The biggest streamer on Earth.” That wasn’t the description longtime Twitch streamer Kacey “Kaceytron” Caviness gave on Twitter:

“He’s one of the most popular streamers on the internet and he doesn’t support women as he publicly announced he will never duo stream with any woman.”

Blevins replied to Caviness three hours later, saying that since the article he has “played squads with multiple women after that article over the last year and a half as well as hosted MANY female streamers.”

Looking back at the 14 months since Blevins’ controversial statement, it’s been difficult to find many female gamers he intentionally queued up with for games. There was the 13-year-old Fortnite streamer Ewok. He also streamed with the 61-year-old talkshow host Ellen DeGeneres. It’s certainly possible he has streamed with more female gamers, but not with any regularity. Some women Blevins’ fans said he’s played with, like Rachel “Asivrs” Retana, weren’t actually tapped by Blevins to be on his stream; they just queued up through the game.

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Kotaku has asked Blevins’ team whether they can elaborate on his Tweet and give examples of women he has intentionally queued up for games with. They did not return the request for comment.

Today, however, he sure did it. The woman on his stream is Rachel “Valkyrae” Hofstetter, a capable and high-energy streamer for the team 100 Thieves, and the part of Blevins’ chat that’s making it through moderation seems to be enjoying her presence. Others ask: “What happened to no playing with girls?”

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Caviness has been receiving a barrage of hate for pointing out Blevins’ 2018 statement. Among thousands of tweets sent to her over the past 24 hours, some have called her a “retard,” a “bitch,” a “thot” and a “feminazi.” Many of these messages defend Blevins’ decision, saying he did it “out of respect for his wife.” (Caviness, whom Kotaku has profiled, has remained relevant on Twitch since 2013 for her satire and provocative sense of humor.)

“At the time [of the Polygon article] he was the most popular Fortnite streamer, played with all of the other popular guy streamers... essentially making it a club that female Fortnite players were left out of,” said Caviness on Twitter. “Being a female in gaming, it upset me. Do I want to play with Ninja? Fuck no, appeasing sponsors and babysitting kids isn’t really my forte.”

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Thanks to the ADL for sharing their research on tweets sent to Caviness after her statement.

Senior reporter at Kotaku.

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DISCUSSION

Here’s the thing I don’t get about Ninja’s desire to “not put his wife through that.”

Different relationships have different concerns, obviously, but one of the few things that should be static is the expectation of (and trust in) fidelity, assuming that’s what both parties want in a monogamous setting.

My wife is a soldier. She’s around other, mostly physically-fit men all damned day (some of them are running to fat, but they’re older, and that’s what happens when you spend your life in a career that breaks your body down; they are not failures for that—it’s just a consequence of giving your all for twenty years from the time you’re eighteen).

I don’t worry about that. It’s not that I don’t recognize that those other men are in great shape—some of them significantly better than I—or that many of them have sharp minds to go with their physique.

I just know my wife. I do not take her for granted, but I know she’d tell me if she wanted someone else—it’s one of our few standing rules: you want to take the Mona Lisa off the wall, that’s fine, just tell me first so I can go find a Monet.

Same thing applies to me. I teach college students. I’m around conventionally attractive young women all day (though after I’ve read their papers, any thought of “hey, she’s cute” tends to die really fast; this is obviously not true of all of the women who take my courses—some of them are infinitely more intelligent, aware, and capable than I’ll ever be—it’s just that I don’t think my wife should be threatened, because beauty is transitory, while a mind is not). I don’t ever think twice about those young women—first because they’re my students, and that’s a line I don’t want to cross, second because I value my marriage, third because I’ve read their work, and fourth because I value my career.

Working with an attractive member of the opposite sex (or same sex, depending upon individual preference/identity) is not tantamount to fucking around. People who assume that is the case reveal only their own insecurities—or they’re dating a serial cheater hoping to change them, which is entirely another problem.

TL;DR: Ninja, your issue is with yourself, rather than your wife or your potential streaming partners. If you’re that afraid of being seen to be around another woman, that tells me that either you have self-control problems, or your wife has serious self-worth issues—and either of those concerns needs therapy, rather than a refusal to work in an environment where “someone might think something.”

People think shit all the time. Mostly, they’re wrong. If your relationship is founded upon mutual respect and trust, then fuck what the crowd thinks—they’re mostly just looking for some drama to spice up their boring lives anyway.