Ninja apologized for racial slur during Fortnite stream, but is it enough?

Ford James,

March 29, 2018 9:48 AM

Despite having amassed hundreds of thousands of Twitch followers, Ninja used a racial slur on stream. Entertainers and influencers are viewed as shining beacons in the community, but that shouldn't be the case at all.

Former professional Halo player and current Fortnite streamer, Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins, has recently surged to the top of video game streaming platform Twitch to become the most subscribed to channel ever. An incredible feat, and one that deserves serious commendations, especially since his collaboration with Drake. But just a few days ago, Ninja was playing with Matt ‘Nadeshot’ Haag, rapping along to a song called ‘44 More’ by Logic, when he started to get his words confused, and ad-libbed the n-word in place of the real lyrics. Watch the video below from Nadeshot’s stream. WARNING: NSFW LANGUAGE.

Ninja has since apologised via his Twitter, in a series of four tweets that you can see below.

While his apology isn’t necessarily bad - it’s a far sight better than PewDiePie or Logan Paul’s attempts at apologising for their mishaps - it misses the point. Ninja is the most popular influencer in the video game world right now. He is making hundreds of thousands of dollars every month for what he does, and a large portion of it is funded by his subscribers; the people that come to his stream and enjoy his content so much, they want to support him directly.

But why is it such a big deal, we hear you ask? He was using it as part of a song, he said it quickly and fairly quietly, and he wasn’t using it with any ill intent. The problem is that the word in question wasn’t actually part of the lyrics. He used it himself, casually, as if it was part of his day-to-day vocabulary, which is unacceptable for someone of his background; a middle class white male. His online alias sounds so similar to the word he used, he could easily have substituted his own name into the song instead of resorting to the racial slur.

This isn’t even a first for Ninja in terms of online mishaps. Nearly a year and a half ago, Ninja was streaming and received a donation from a viewer with a racist username. He then proceeded to find out the person’s address and released the information to the public, in an act known as ‘doxxing’. He received a 48 hour ban from Twitch, something he said he “deserved” and in the replies, he said he would “absolutely” learn from it and come back stronger. But clearly he hasn’t.

Why does this seem to be an ongoing problem with streamers and entertainers in the gaming world? Three weeks ago, DrDisrespect, another immensely popular Twitch streamer who now mainly plays Fortnite and PUBG, threatened to dox a stream sniper and release their information to the public, just because he kept killing him during games of Fortnite. Which could ruin someone’s life with the amount of fans he has. PewDiePie, the most subscribed to YouTuber, was streaming PUBG during 2017 when he casually dropped the same word Ninja used. Professional Overwatch player xQc was suspended for homophobic comments from the league. Nick_28T, a popular Fifa streamer got infuriated with the game and clearly used the same word, before clarifying and saying he meant to say ‘nincompoop’.

These constant ‘mistakes’ from streamers and influencers are inexcusable. They all, especially Ninja, have vast audiences consisting of very young fans, and they look up to these gamers like idols. They are role models whether they like it or not, and they have to act like it. When PewDiePie used the word, he was engaged in a battle and tensions were high. Not that it’s any form of excuse, but Ninja cannot even use that as a reason, as the gameplay was fairly calm when he said it.

Ninja, and every other streamer who has faced some controversy due to a racial slur, derogatory term, doxxing threat, or anything similar, MUST do better. It is completely inexcusable, and even if Ninja didn’t have any malicious intent, the word has been used throughout history to have a completely different meaning and it is still associated with that connotation today. And with such a negative connotation and stigma attached to the word, it’s abhorrent that Ninja could so easily use the word in a song of his own accord.

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