[Update] Twitch Streamer Ninja Apologizes For Using Racial Slur
Update (03/29/18 at 11:10 a.m. CT): Tyler Blevins, also known as Ninja, has come forward to apologize for his use of a racial slur while singing improvised lyrics during a stream. You can full the full apology, which he tweeted, below.
While I am confident that most of this is a misunderstanding, I recognize that it’s my responsibility to never let there be THIS kind of a misunderstanding. More than anything, I hate that any of my friends, fans, or viewers might feel disrespected. (Tweet 1)— Ninja (@Ninja) March 29, 2018
It is my job, and hopefully I’m usually good at it, to make everyone feel welcome, valued, and safe to be themselves. So I apologize to anyone who might feel hurt because I NEVER want that. It’s my stream, and it’s on me to make that right. (Tweet 2)— Ninja (@Ninja) March 29, 2018
The best way I can explain it is that I promise that I understand how much pain that word causes, even if it gets used a lot in music and elsewhere. It’s a word historically used to divide people, and I’m about bringing people together. (Tweet 3)— Ninja (@Ninja) March 29, 2018
I promise that there was no mal intent (I wasn’t even trying to say the word-I fumbled lyrics and got tongue tied in the worst possible way). Again, I apologize for offending anyone and appreciate you all rocking with me.— Ninja (@Ninja) March 29, 2018
Twitch streamer Ninja has had a rollercoaster month, becoming one of the biggest names in online video streaming, playing games with superstars, and now finds himself humming a tune that has come up on the Twitch jukebox before.
During a stream last night, the prolific Fortnite streamer who has broken records for viewership, was performing his normal routine of streaming Fortnite for his retinue of fans. Ninja, whose real name is Tyler Blevins, was playing with his friend Matthew "Nadeshot" Haag when the two started listening to music together to go along with their Fortnite gameplay.
Eventually, the two came across rapper Logic's 44 More.
Blevins starts to sing along with the song, but stumbles a bit here and there as he tries to keep up. Vibing on the music, Blevins starts to ad-lib lyrics, to Haag's amusement until Blevins improvised multiple uses of a racial slur within the lyrics. The lyrics Blevins made up are not anywhere in the song 44 More, nor likely to be mistaken for them easily.
We caution you that there is a strong language warning for this video, but the video taken from Haag's side of the stream can be found here.
The problem arises from Blevins pulling the lyrics from thin air, but also follows a frustrating pattern of streaming gaming personalities who claim to have accidentally used the same slur. Last September, popular Youtube personality PewDiePie did something similar during a PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds stream and later apologized.
Thus far, Blevins, who has been active on Twitter since the incident, has not acknowledged or apologized yet. He has taken the night off from streaming the game, however.
There is an argument to be made that Blevins simply repeated things he's heard in music before, but ignorance is only an excuse when acknowledged and regretted. Streamers are finding themselves in the unenviable positions of holding influence where they may previously have never had anything resembling that responsibility. In the case of Blevins, he became almost literally an overnight success and, while I sympathize, it's just so easy not to say racial slurs during streams. Apologizing for doing it is probably a lot harder than just not doing it at all, but it's also pretty damn important.