Twitch streamer Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins reaffirms his 2018 comments on not wanting to play with female gamers out of fear of the rumors it could create
by Iain Lew, Game Rant
Back in August 2018, Twitch streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins stated that he would not stream with female gamers out of respect for his wife and manager, Jessica Blevins, and to avoid the rumors that the situation could create. He received a mixed response at the time, with some arguing that he was making it more difficult for female streamers to break through in an industry and community with existing issues of misogyny, and others being more understanding of his want to protect his marriage. It appears that Ninja’s views on the matter have not changed in the years since his original statement, with him elaborating on them in a recent interview.
In an interview with The New York Times’ David Marchese, Ninja talked about the issue, referring to what he has heard said to women online as “astonishing.“The streamer — who has 16.7 million followers on Twitch as of this time of publication — reaffirmed his stance, stating that his high profile made it dangerous for him to play with women in terms of online harassment for both him and whoever he streams with.
“But with the level that I’m at… it’s like how it is with actors. I don’t want to start drama, but Justin Timberlake — he’s married — was filming a movie, was at a bar, was holding hands with an actress,” said the former Halo pro in reference to 2019 photos of Timberlake, married to actress Jessica Biel, and Alisha Wainwright.”They were just working together, but all it takes is one moment, and now it’s horrible, even if it’s just accusations.”
Ninja did assure that there is still the possibility of him playing with women, but only in “a big group so it’s not one-on-one interaction.”When asked if there was anything he could do to move the issue forward in a more positive direction, he stated: “There’s always more you can do. But right now, I’m not tweeting that much in general. I’m kind of zoned in on myself, just gaming and Valorant. Again, it’s the internet. You don’t change anyone’s mind.”
While Ninja streaming with a female gamer could be a watershed moment that may shift the community’s views towards women and result in the greater acceptance and acknowledgement of platonic friendships, there is also a concern of the problem being deeply-rooted to such an extent that his expressed fears may come true. Back in August 2018 when he initially expressed these views, several female streamers came out in support of the Chicago native, including Halie “Suto” Atsisuto and Rachel “Valkyrae” Hofstetter.
Ultimately, time will tell if this issue will be resolved in a matter that can push the agenda forwards. Besides this topic, Ninja also spoke of the need for parents to educate their children about chat toxicity as opposed to his own responsibility as a role model. He then talked about voice acting following reveals that he had recorded lines for a main role in a TV show and will be cameoing in the upcoming Ryan Reynolds film Free Guy, and the move to Microsoft’s short-lived streaming platform Mixer. Blevins initially moved to Mixer in August 2019 before returning to Twitch following the former streaming site’s shutdown in July 2020.