Ninja says it’s ‘offensive’ to say he supported Black Lives Matter as a marketing opportunity

Credit: Twitch.tv/Ninja, Twitter/@Ninja

Twitch streamer Ninja has hit out at critics of his comments about teaching children to oppose racism, saying that those suggesting he supported Black Lives Matter for marketing purposes are being “overly offensive.”

Ninja, real name Tyler Blevins, has been criticized for distancing himself from the responsibility when it comes to teaching children about racism, saying that it’s a parent’s job to do so, not his. His comments were made in a recent New York Times interview, where the 29-year-old explained how if a viewer uses a racial expletive during his stream, his “first thought” is that the viewer is doing so to “troll” him and potentially get him banned from Twitch.

After the interview was published, many criticized Ninja’s comments on social media as distancing himself from the toxicity in his community. This included the official account of the Black Girl Gamers online community, which suggested that he had “used BLM as a marketing opportunity and many lapped it up,” asking for people to “stop getting giddy over simple gestures of performative solidarity.”

Ninja says “actions speak louder than words”

Ninja directly responded to these comments via Twitter, saying that he had donated towards bailing out protestors when the Black Lives Matter protests were at their peak, and that he was also building gaming centers in underprivileged communities. “To say I talked about injustice and BLM for marketing/PR purposes is overly offensive,” the streamer said.

Ninja concluded that “actions speak louder than words,” with Black Girl Gamers responding: “Actions do not in fact speak louder than words if you chose to act in silence whilst saying ‘it’s not your job’ to educate on white privilege. Parents can be complicit and absent from the gaming space, do we then let toxicity fester so the N-word slips out again?

Ninja’s suggestion that racism on his channel could lead to him being banned confuses expletives being used during his stream with the behavior of his chat and those in his audience. While racism being broadcast during a stream can cause the Twitch channel to be banned, the behavior of his chat is left up to his moderation team and Twitch on the whole.

Jessica Blevins, Ninja’s manager and wife, also commented on the backlash the streamer was receiving (via Twitter), saying that “he’s spoken out about issues of racism, white privilege, and having zero tolerance for racism in his games or channel.”

Ninja returned to Twitch last year after signing an exclusivity deal with the now-defunct Mixer, moving back to the platform he started out on after Microsoft shut down its streaming service.