Look, I 100% don’t care for Ninja, but the idea he has a responsibility to raise people’s kids for them is insane.
Twitch’s biggest streamer, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, doesn’t stream with women. He’s spoken about his decision before, explaining that “it’s just not worth it” to face the potential drama and rumors that might occur as a result. Last week, he echoed that sentiment again to The Verge’s sister site Polygon. “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 said.
Unsurprisingly, Blevins’ belief that “the only way to avoid that [gossip] is to not play with [women] at all,” has been divisive. Blevins is inarguably popular, a streamer with more than 16 million subscribers on YouTube, 10 million on Twitch, and over 3 million followers on Twitter. His platform and fame allow him a unique opportunity to set trends within his industry and speak to a wide, rapt audience. Streaming with others is an endorsement. It allows him to share his spotlight, thereby helping other streams to expand their own audiences. By not playing with women, Blevins is sending a message — whether he means to or not.
On Twitter, many have been critical of his stance. “No one is saying Ninja has to stream with women,” said illustrator and streamer Austen Marie. “We’re saying that his saying he won’t is problematic and doesn’t help in any way for women making their way in the industry that constantly calls anyone with tits a thot.” Researcher Kat Lo tweeted, “there’s something poetic about Ninja thinking ‘wow women in gaming have to deal with a deeply toxic culture of men attacking them and speculating about their lives. I wouldn’t want that in my life sooo I won’t work with women phew problem solved’ then tweeting that without irony.” Others have likened him to Vice President Mike Pence and his notorious policy of not dining alone with women.