Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is Twitch’s golden son. He plays Fortnite for audiences of tens of thousands of viewers. Ninja gained mainstream fame when he invited hip-hop artist Drake onto his channel, and he revealed that he makes $500,000 a month from viewers subscriptions. But while Ninja doesn’t hesitate to play games live with famous men, he refuses to invite women onto his channel.
“I don’t play with female gamers,” Ninja told 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.”
And that’s why Ninja wins our Bad Award for Why Is This OK In Video Games? You can listen to us discuss the award in the clip above or as part of the Bad Awards podcast below.
Ninja says that he won’t livestream with women because it will cause problems for him in his private life. And I don’t get why this is a valid excuse. He has no problem with streaming with men. He continues to regularly have male gamers on his channel, who then get the benefit of his audience. But he discriminates against an entire gender because it makes his life easier.
I find this especially frustrating because if a man in a similar position in other entertainment industries said the same thing, they would be ostracized. If a late-night host like Jimmy Kimmel said he would no longer invite women guests onto his show, he would lose his job. He could explain that it was to protect his marriage, and no one would care. He would lose sponsors and would likely face a backlash from his audience.
But Twitch continues to hold up Ninja as their big star, and huge companies continue to sponsor him. He’s not just getting away with his exclusionary behavior, he’s thriving. And I don’t know why this is OK in the business of video games and livestreaming.