Twitch streamers have mixed reactions to Ninja’s choice to not play with female streamers

Pokimane via Synapse Fortnite

Ninja, aka Tyler Blevins, Twitch’s biggest streamer, told Polygon last week that he doesn’t play with female gamers. The decision, he explained, is rooted in internet culture rather than discriminatory intent — Blevins said he believes that that any possible hint of flirting during a stream will immediately be “clickbait forever.” In his words, “The only way to avoid that [gossip] is to not play with [women] at all.”

Blevins’ comments, seen as a product of internet culture by some and sexist by others, sparked discourse among fans, Twitch streamers and YouTube personalities who each shared their own thoughts on the matter.

Imane “Pokimane” Anys said during a stream last Saturday, “It sucks that things like [Blevins’ decision] have to be made into a big deal when I don’t think they have to be.” Anys is no stranger to Twitch popularity and scrutiny — after she began to stream Fortnite with pro player Ali “Myth” Kabbani, the pair have been dogged by dating rumors. Furthermore, she argued that Blevins’ claims that he hasn’t received criticism from female streamers were due to the fact that he hadn’t publicly spoken about his decision before, rather than a lack of objection.

Reaction quickly spread across Twitter, some agreeing with Blevins’ statement, others firmly against it, and yet others running the whole gamut of thoughts and feelings.

Austen Marie, illustrator, comic artist and Twitch partner, meanwhile, called the decision problematic, since it further alienates women in an already divisive industry.

Fellow Fortnite streamer Valkyrae (Rachel Hoffsetter) expressed her support of Blevins’ decision to keep drama out of his own marriage.

Twitch streamer Laura Lux agreed, arguing that Blevins’ decision was reflective of the Twitch community rather than his personal bias.

Twitch affiliate Samantha Rae said that she understood the reasoning behind Blevins’ description, but felt that it only served to strengthen the gender divide in streaming.

Still others like Adam Koebel, a Twitch streamer and RPG designer, felt that Blevins’ announcement had further reaching implications outside the streamer’s own content, especially concerning other streamers and creatives who want to collaborate with individuals of different genders.

YouTube personality Riley J. Dennis called Blevins’ decision “the millennial version of Mike Pence not taking meetings with women,” and accused the streamer of perpetuating the harassment that female streamers often face.

Alternatively, Daequan of Team SoloMid’s Fortnite team urged fans to “get off” Blevins and let him decide what works for his own relationship.

And finally, streamer and YouTuber Renée Reynosa reacted to Blevins’ decision by referencing ligma, the disease that supposedly killed Ninja during a recent death hoax.

Blevins’ decision continues to spark the conversation around streaming culture and the gaming community.

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