Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins, former Halo pro turned Twitch streamer, has responded after it became clear some members of his audience sent abusive messages to women.
Ninja, with upwards of 16.7 million followers on Twitch, is one of the most well known and recognizable figures in the world when it comes to streaming and video games.
However, with such a monumental following comes some unwanted followers; those who spread negativity and attack other members of the community.
While these are obviously the minority, it leaves Ninja in a tricky spot, especially when he is drawn into arguments about their conduct.
The issues were highlighted by Michele Morrow, a podcast host and TV presenter. On February 12, she tweeted: “A sampling of the daily harassment I receive from Ninja’s followers. A couple weeks ago, I pointed out that his stance on not playing with women is harmful to us. He tweeted I “don’t know shit”, but his followers prove my point”.
Attached were a number of images showing hateful and abusive messages, in which Ninja was referenced. The comments also seem to attack the presenter over her criticism of Ninja refusing to play with women.
Blevins initially responded to condemn his so-called fans, stating: “Nobody deserves to be harassed or messages anything like this, so I’m sorry that happened… They are not true fans if they are attacking people. I never encourage any of my audience to harass people.”
They are not true fans if they are attacking people. I never encourage any of my audience to harass people.
— Ninja (@Ninja) February 12, 2021
The issue did not stop there, though, with Morrow replying to Ninja’s tweet, simply saying: “Your fans told me to kill myself.”
While many were sympathetic, others took issue with this comment. One argued: “It’s horrible, it really is, but surely Ninja can’t take accountability for everything his 7 million followers say?”
After another comment from Morrow saying that she never suggested he is responsible for the hate, Ninja hit back: “But you insinuate that by tweeting random messages of people being toxic toward you? Truly you can’t think there is any other way to perceive your tweet?”
Im simply letting you know about the threats I’ve received from your fan base. No one expects you to control millions, but I do wish you had more empathy about this than what you’re showing. I wish you acted as an example to them in being a better role model.
— Michele Morrow (@michelemorrow) February 13, 2021
Morrow then called on Ninja to act as a “better role model”. She also disputed Ninja’s claim that the basis for the argument was based on a “bad article,” citing Ninja’s New York Times interview.
Tyler @Ninja. This is not a “bad article” -I’m citing your own words in the @nytimes a month ago 🙁
You’ve said the same on your stream in the past and never rescinded it, giving your young audience advice: “it’s just not worth it” to play with women.https://t.co/verOo753wk https://t.co/Uw3AUq6zZt pic.twitter.com/TcKsZvFWRh
— Michele Morrow (@michelemorrow) February 12, 2021
It’s certainly a difficult spot for Blevins to occupy. He has, in the past, explained that he is not willing to play with female streamers to avoid viewers speculating about romances and making his wife, Jessica, feel uncomfortable.