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Ninja, who recently set a record for livestreaming the mega-hit Fortnite when he played with Drake and hit more than 630,000 concurrent viewers, was recorded saying the N-word as he rapped Logic’s “44 More” while playing the game.
Here’s the moment it happens, though the word appears to be edited out (you can tell the moment when Ninja used the word because his Fortnite partner, Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag, visibly reacts).
Though Ninja, whose real name is Tyler Blevins, was rapping, these lyrics from the song show the N-word is never used. So, it appears Ninja was either ad-libbing lyrics or, as he explained, he got tongue-tied.
On Thursday, Ninja, who is said to make at least $500,000 a month playing Fortnite, apologized on Twitter, saying it was all a misunderstanding.
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. 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.
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. 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, despite having what had been a sterling reputation as an online gamer, is yet another user on YouTube or Twitch who has dropped racial epithets, including PewDiePie, the most popular YouTuber on the platform, and Jake Paul.
Though Logan Paul recently drew plenty of criticism for joining Twitch because users claimed he would make the site “toxic,” Ninja proves that Paul isn’t the site’s only problem.
Here’s the Daily Dot’s guide on how not to use the racial slur.
This post has been updated.
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.