Making the rounds on the gaming sites, today has been a story about former (haha) Toronto Esports' player Matt "Dellor" Vaughn, who reportedly didn't know he was live on his very public and well-watched stream, yelled nigger (with the hard ER) for 26 straight seconds without taking a breath. No shit, this is one of the wildest things I've ever heard. Even among gamers, this was extreme and from a public figure who, streaming live or not, is known among the Overwatch community. If you want to watch it, I've linked the video.
A quick note, this video doesn't come from Vaughn's account so worry not about supporting him. And for the love of everything good turn down your sound. He screams like a harpy. Save your ears.
The response to this foolishness was swift and fitting. Vaughn was almost immediately terminated by Toronto Esports. He then apologized in typical white boy fashion, citing that he was tired and his internet was lagging and it was the most offensive thing he could think of to say but, he's not racist. I won't link because we've all heard it.
But this interested me because this is the most recent in a string of white boys messing up online and showing their asses. I refer of course to Youtube royalty, JonTron, and PewdiePie. Two royal pieces of crap. If you didn't hear about that whole mess, take a minute and google it. Or don't. The specifics doesn't really matter. And it feels odd giving that fuckery any more attention. They said and did super offensive things. It sucks. They apologized because they were sad they got called out.
As of right now, April 24th 2017 at 1:37 PM Central, JonTron ranks 703rd in subscriber rank on Youtube with 3,165,287 subs. And Pewdiepie is ranked at 4th for subscribers with 187,879,500 subs. (Stats courtesy of Socialblade.com) For both Youtubers their views have gone up by significant percentages over the last 30 days though, new subscribers are also significantly down. Pewdiepie only got 371,383 subscribers this month, down by 40%. After the sustained outcry of media sources over a number of weeks (long by internet standards only) these guys are fine. Jon didn't get to be in Yooka-Laylee (which has been reviewed poorly by both players and critics) and PewdiePie has lost his ties with Disney, which was big, don't get me wrong, but he has many other sources of money.
So what's the difference between Vaughn, whose career is over, and JonTron and PewdiePie? The source of their income and sustained success. Who would be Matt "Dellor" Vaughn be if not for the Esports community? maybe something, but unlikely. I suppose with his skills he could have found success on Twitch but, I can't imagine how he would have gained visibility. His success relied heavily on the sustained support of a organization, when he represented their brand poorly, he paid the price. As it should be. That pulling of support doesn't happen enough but in all of the situations I've mentioned, in varying degrees, it did. The difference being, what Jon and PewdiePie lost in conventional support, they make up for, in spades, in community support which, in large part, has remained steady.
Which brings me to my main point. The gaming community needs to get better at putting our money in things we believe in and moving on when it's clear something isn't right. I can't believe that most people actually are okay with the things JonTron or Pewdie said or I wouldn't play online games anymore. But gamers are truly a group of people who believe in tradition. If you browse the utterly fucked up comment sections of videos blasting advocates of Feminism in video games or the last corner of Gamer Gate, you can see the major objection is, the fact that they enjoyed the games with rampant sexism when they were young or the even more absurd, that's how it's always been. We love our old, problematic shit and it's hard to give up. Though I never watched them, many gamers have a fondness associated Jon and PewdiePie because they've watched them for a long time. People still think they know them and still think these are not people with hateful beliefs. It's hard to present logical evidence to counter a fierce emotional belief. It requires the person with the beliefs to be willing to listen and, more importantly, to consider changing. And we should all strive to be able to challenge our own beliefs. We have to in order to disallow people with beliefs that we disagree with to our core make money off of us. It's hard work. I'm still struggling each day with this. But it's worth it to punish those who punch low.