Huge YouTuber Apparently Behaves Racistly Towards A Fan — And Twitch’s Biggest Streamers Defend Him
The rapid career of the 17-year-old YouTubers Darren “IShowSpeed” Watkins Jr. is full of controversy. Nevertheless – or perhaps because of this – his success is unbroken. He is currently being criticized because many consider his behavior towards a football fan to be racist. But the 17-year-old does not have to fear serious consequences. Even the biggest streamers on Twitch stand by him.
What was that incident? Watkins is currently in Qatar to watch the World Cup and his big idol Cristiano Ronaldo. However, during a stream in the stadium, there was an interaction with a football fan that many considered racist.
The fan is a young Asian man in an Argentina jersey. Watkins asks him about the jersey, which the fan doesn’t seem to understand.
Watkins then used the Japanese greeting “konnichiwa” repeatedly and with increasing volume, even though his interlocutor explained that he was actually Chinese. Eventually, Watkins spouts gibberish that is supposed to sound like a Chinese language.
Clips of the interaction went viral on Twitter, where they were critically discussed in thousands of comments. Many viewers classify Watkins’ behavior as racist. In addition, other clips appeared in which the YouTuber talks to Indian people and apparently tries to imitate their language (via Twitter).
Why is the interaction problematic? Both the supposed interchangeability of Southeast Asian languages and the aping of other languages are seen as racist. Streamer Dimitri “Greekgodx” Antonatos experienced the same thing when he was banned for similarly Asian sounds.
This type of racism towards people of Asian descent is normalized and taken lightly, some Twitter users say (via Twitter). Streamer Kristofer Yee is of Chinese descent himself and writes:
I know he’s young and people make mistakes. But I’m fed up with the fact that racist jokes about Asians are “more okay” because we’re not that confrontational.
Kristofer Yee (via Twitter)
How did iShowSpeed react? Watkins released a video explaining his version of the incident. He actually mistook the fan for Japanese, according to the YouTuber. When he understood that the man was Chinese, he tried to repeat a nickname that viewers in China are said to have given him.
Watkins also emphasizes that he didn’t mean his words in a racist way and that he “loves other races”. He would just try to speak other languages. If an Asian person feels offended, he would be sincerely sorry (via Twitter).
Twitch Streamers Join Controversial YouTuber
Who Defends iShowSpeed? While Watkins’ behavior is being criticized by many viewers and other influencers, he is supported by two of the biggest Twitch streamers ever.
Together, they have a reach of nearly 15 million followers and 120,000 average viewers (via sullygnome).
“I know what it’s like to be labeled a racist”
French-Canadian Félix “xQc” Lengyel is the most-watched English-speaking streamer on Twitch. In a stream, he expressed his understanding of what his colleague is going through. After all, he himself had experienced something similar.
I know what it’s like to be labeled a racist because of things taken out of context. It’s bloody uncool.
His own family already thought he was a racist because of an article, xQc explained. He was the “homophobic, racist guy” after statements he made made front pages in his hometown (via dexterto).
“Racists are mad because blacks are taking control”
Kai Cenat, who replaced xQc as the most subscribed streamer on Twitch in September, responded to a stream from controversial YouTuber Destiny.
Commenting on Watkins’ interaction with the Chinese fan, Destiny said there is likely to be a surge of young black streamers whose content consists of screaming at the camera (via twitter.com).
Kai Cenat saw Destiny’s recording and stated that while he didn’t know who the YouTuber was, he was obviously a racist. Kai Cenat adds that if he were a racist himself, he would also be angry that black content creators are so successful right now (via Twitter).
This 17 year old [iShowSpeed] is better than Destiny in all categories, the streamer said in the further course of his stream.
What’s next? So far, Watkins has not faced any consequences from YouTube for his actions in the stream. Nor is it likely that it will detract from its popularity. Currently, the YouTube channel iShowSpeed has 14 million subscribers.
xQc and Kai Cenat have recently been criticized themselves. In November, they declared that they did not want to pay the moderators of their Twitch channels. After all, there are enough volunteers who are happy to do this work for free. Viewers countered that streamers depend on their mods.
2 of the biggest streamers on Twitch rely on unpaid helpers – “Without mods they would be banned”