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Ninja calls out Twitch after his dormant channel highlights porn (updated)

He said it damages his brand.
Jon Fingas
Jon Fingas|@jonfingas|August 11, 2019 4:16 PM

Ninja (aka Tyler Blevins) has largely avoided any bad blood between him and Twitch following his jump to Mixer, but that apparently didn't last long. The well-known streamer has posted a video chastising Twitch for not only using his dormant channel to promote other streamers, but to let porn find its way into those recommendations. As esports consultant Rod Breslau observed, the number one stream on Twitch the morning of August 11th was a bootleg porn broadcast that lasted for more than two hours -- imagine someone looking for Fortnite gameplay only to find X-rated material.

Needless to say, Ninja saw a number of problems with the move. It's not just that Twitch effectively replaced his presence with recommendations, something he said wasn't true of "any other" channel, it's that it was tarnishing his brand. Kids could have seen this material, and he didn't have any control over it. While Ninja apologized, he also stressed that he was trying to get rid of the promotions, if not remove the Twitch channel altogether.

We've asked Twitch for comment.

Whatever its response, this isn't a great look for the service. It was no surprise that Ninja's stream would scale back (Twitch partners aren't allowed to stream on rival services), many only expected it to remain idle, not become a billboard for other broadcasters. It certainly underscores the significance of Ninja's switch. His leap to Mixer represented a competitive blow, and Twitch clearly wasn't happy about it.

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Update 8/11 5:55PM ET: That was fast -- Twitch has already reverted Ninja's old page to a regular offline screen, including chat (where people are roasting Twitch as we write this).

Update 8/11 10:50PM ET: Twitch CEO Emmett Shear has apologized to Ninja, saying that the incident "wasn't our intent" but also that there were "no excuses." The company has suspended recommendations while it investigates and banned the account that was streaming porn.

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Ninja calls out Twitch after his dormant channel highlights porn (updated)