Internet trolls, gossip and rumor culture, and the constant scrutiny that comes with fame has led Fortnite and Twitch‘s most popular streamer, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, to take a position to not stream with female gamers.
“I don’t play with female gamers,” said Blevins while speaking with Polygon. And according to the face of Fortnite streaming, it has to do with with the aforementioned rumor culture, the era of clickbait, and how when you have millions of viewers watching you, everything is dissected, everything is prone to be misinterpreted, and even as something as small as a conversation with a female streamer during a stream can be morphed into a storm of gossip that produces fallacious and defacing conclusions.
“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,” said Blevins.
And this makes sense coming from Blevins, who is married, and thus unsurprisingly doesn’t want fictitious Internet rumors floating around about misconduct on his part. Because, like the streamer notes, even having a conversation with a female streamer can be skewed into all types of messy headlines.
And we see this type of activity on the Internet all the time. As Polygon notes, when another prominent Twitch and Fortnite streamer, Ali “Myth” Kabbani, had Imane “Pokimane” Anys on stream, viewers quickly began firing off and probing about the two’s relationship, as well as making all types of conclusions based off the two merely streaming together.
And not only is the gossip machine common, it’s not anything new. TMZ, People Magazine, and others have made an entire lucrative industry of gossip for decades. So, it’s only natural the bigger streaming and online personalities get, the more gossip, rumors, and silly speculation they attract.
It’s classic celebrity culture. And it’s not surprising that Blevins wants to stay far away from its grasps, and not complicate his martial relationship with its insanity.
Blevins adds that he hasn’t received any negative feedback from his fellow Twitch (female) streamers about his streaming policy, suggesting they understand the situation, and thus respect his decision.
“There hasn’t been a single female gamer or streamer on Twitch or anything like that who’s been upset about that,” said Blevins. “I honestly think that […] it’s just kinda like a respect thing.”
The best way to avoid trampling gossip crowds, the rumor-sellers, and the invasive speculation, is to never invite them to the party in the first place. And the only way to do that, unfortunately, is to not stream with any female gamers, unless of course that female gamer is Blevin’s wife, whom he streams with regularly.
“The only way to avoid that [gossip] is to not play with them at all.”
Hopefully one day, the obtrusive, prodding, and wildly speculative nature of the Internet and large fan bases will change, but at the moment, that doesn’t look likely.