Jason “JasonR” Ruchelski, a former CS:GO player and full-time Twitch streamer, is under fire for reputedly dodging Valorant games in which women are present. He’s also defending himself in the worst way possible, saying he can’t disrespect women if he never interacts with them. It’s not a good look.
At the start of this week, a number of female professional Valorant players, including Annie and panini, levied accusations of sexism against Ruchelski for allegedly disconnecting from games whenever a woman appears, as well as muting female players in Valorant and other games. And this isn’t Ruchelski’s first brush with these kinds of allegations either.
Vanessa “panini” Emory, a pro Valorant player for esports organization Shopify Rebellion, wondered on Twitter on February 20 whether folks were “gonna talk about that one big streamer” that mutes women in ranked games. She was alluding to Ruchelski, who was previously accused of dodging and muting women in 2018. Panini’s tweet blew up and snowballed into a series of accusations from other Valorant players, such as Benita “bENITA” Novshadian, who said Ruchelski’s been doing this since his Counter-Strike days.
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Two days later, Cloud9 Valorant pro Annie “Annie” Roberts corroborated panini’s claim on Twitter. Annie said more than 50 women have had the experience of Ruchelski “coincidentally” disconnecting from a game as soon as a female player joins his team and her voice is heard. Ruchelski claims these drops are typically the result of hardware issues, in response to which some are calling BS.
“[JasonR] is manipulating his audience and gaslighting them by saying he crashed every time,” Annie said. “Refuses to address any allegations as well.”
Ruchelski has since responded to the allegations. On Twitter, he called out Halo Infinite team Cloud9 for “supporting women bashing my wife,” though folks were quick to point out that their issue is not with his wife, but with his avoidance of and comments about other women. He also stated on Twitch that the reason he crashes so often is that he’s on a “dual PC stream and using VoiceMeeter Banana,” which causes his game to boot up, hang on a loading screen, and break his audio. In an effort to make his case, he even showed a clip of what his screen looks like when a crash occurs.
Kotaku has reached out to Annie, panini, and Ruchelski for comment.
Maybe the most damning part of all of this, though, is his disparaging language toward women. In an astonishingly ironic defense against the accusations of misogyny and sexism, he declared, “I didn’t hear anybody in this fucking server that I apparently fucking crashed because there was a fucking bitch in it.” He also said he might get hated for the rest of his life because there might be a “fucking girl,” and indeed “fucking bitch” on his team. There are apparently some VODs of him playing Valorant with women on stream, but Annie questioned where these videos are. Ruchelski also shot himself in the foot with some rather atrocious comments about how he can’t disrespect women because he doesn’t interact with or talk to women.
“I do not support misogyny, I do not support sexism, and I do not support [people] being rude to my wife for absolutely no reason,” Ruchelski said, though it’s a bit tough to reconcile these statements with the rants in which he openly calls women “bitches.” Twitch is a tough enough environment for women to succeed in as it is. There are consequences when men with significant followings avoid women and don’t treat them normally as fellow players.
Sadly, this is all depressingly familiar. Not only has Ruchelski been accused of dodging women once before, but this situation recalls the time in 2018 when Tyler “Ninja” Blevins said he wouldn’t play games with women for fear of the rumors that might circulate online. Ninja reversed this position a year later, but that predicament, and the renewed accusations that Ruchelski deliberately avoids playing with women, underscore the continued sexism on Twitch.