In an unnecessary turn of events, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is threatening fellow streamer Imane “Pokimane” Anys with defamation of character charges. Welcome to 2022, yall. Things are about to get wild from here on out.
It all started January 12 when popular YouTuber Jidion “JiDion” Adams flooded Pokimane’s Twitch channel in what’s known as a hate raid, for reasons that are unclear. It sucked, especially since JiDion told his followers to spam “L + ratio,” which means loss and having a greater negative than positive response (i.e., a bad ratio), in Pokimane’s chat as a means to disparage her. The hate raid prompted Pokimane to end her 12-hour Valorant stream, and Twitch initially banned JiDion for 14 days before escalating that to a permaban.
Pokimane took to Twitch on January 17 to discuss the incident and shared several self-edited clips of Ninja’s streams where he gave his two cents on the situation. In the footage, Ninja also explicitly said he texted his Twitch representative to see what could be done about JiDion’s permaban in an effort to help him, but said there was nothing he could do. Despite the clips, Ninja later denied texting his Twitch contact in a private message to Pokimane and deleted the video, which was available to watch after the livestream ended. But Pokimane saved clips proving that Ninja did, in fact, say he reached out on JiDion’s behalf.
In the above clip, Pokimane holds up her phone showing what appears to be a Twitter DM from Ninja. Not only does he swear on his dead grandpa’s life that he “didn’t text [his] Twitch rep,” but Ninja also vaguely threatens Pokimane, saying she’s “making a big mistake.” Whatever that means. Funny, because that directly contradicts what he says in his own clips.
The situation then goes from zero to 100 in the blink of an eye. In a screenshot posted by Pokimane, Ninja’s manager and wife Jessica Blevins apparently DMed the streamer on Twitter, saying the two are “considering everything defamation of character at this point” and are getting their legal team involved. Blevins told Pokimane that Ninja only said he texted his Twitch representative to “stop the harassment in his chat from JiDion’s viewers” and stated they’ve “clarified everything” to her. Ultimately, Blevins claimed Pokimane is “actively bringing harassment” to Ninja. It’s unclear if legal action will happen, but Blevins said the two are “taking this very seriously,” so Ninja v. Pokimane in court could be a real thing. We’ll see what happens.
Kotaku reached out to JiDion, Ninja, Pokimane, and Twitch and will update the story should any one of them respond.
For his part, JiDion, who is most known for his prank videos on YouTube, uploaded a video to Twitter on January 16 admitting he “deserved to get banned” for breaking Twitch’s terms of service. But he also pleaded for fairness in how the streaming giant handles these matters, noting that a permaban is too severe for a first-time offender, according to JiDion.
“Obviously what I did is wrong,” JiDion said, “but how am I supposed to do better the next time if I can never get a next time?”
He’s since rallied his followers around the #twitchfreejidion campaign to get his channel unbanned. JiDion also apologized to Pokimane on Twitter saying he’s “dropping it”—whatever that means—and will stream on YouTube next week.
Many prominent streamers, including Jeremy “Disguised Toast” Wang and Aileena “Leena” Xu, tweeted their support for Pokimane defending herself against this harassment. But let’s be honest: This predicament is totally unnecessary. Looking at a quick summary of the facts—JiDion hate-raids Pokimane, JiDion gets permabanned, JiDion then creates a campaign to reverse the permaban—Ninja had no reason to get involved. That he choose to of his own volition then deliberately said he’d text his Twitch representative to do something about, puts him right in the cross-fire. Now, he and his manager want to claim defamation of character when Ninja literally said he texted his representative? Shit makes no sense.
Pokimane hasn’t been a Twitch angel either, as just earlier this month she received a quick 48-hour suspension for streaming Avatar: The Last Airbender. This has been dubbed the “TV Meta” on the platform, where streamers watch and react to film and television while livestreaming. Disguised Toast was also banned for watching “hours and hours” of Death Note this month, though SteamerBans reports the suspension was lifted after two days. While no copyright claims seem to have been filed as of yet, the practice is legally risky.
This entire issue brings together two prominent problems for Twitch as it contends with both the new TV meta and ongoing hate raids.