Popular Valorant YouTuber Banned by Riot After Explosive Video
In perhaps the fastest climb of 2022, gaming YouTuber and experimental rapper IShowSpeed was forbidden to Valorant (and other Riot Games titles) and potentially YouTube for humiliating a female player in Riot’s tactical hero shooter. IShowSpeed a has since apologized for his behaviorsaying he was “not having a good day” in the clip which went viral and appears to have triggered the ban. While the moderation was swift, the whole debacle has sparked discussions about trash talk in games and who gets a second chance when they’re young and reckless.
IShowSpeed is best known as a variety streamer who primarily plays fortnite and NBA 2K games, although it streams other things like Five nights at Freddy’s and Super meat boy, too. He’s been on YouTube since at least 2016, uploading gameplay videos here and there, but rose to prominence in 2021 after memes of his explosive behavior – often filled with physical or verbal abuse towards the game, his teammates, the camera, or all of the above, has proliferated online. That’s what IShowSpeed has become known for: an eccentric personality with a tendency to explode into stereotypical gamer rage. And, it should be noted, IShowSpeed is one of the biggest and fastest growing streamers on the platform.
Unfortunately, it was this gamer rage that got IShowSpeed in trouble this week. Esports commentator Jake Lucky spotted an old clip from IShowSpeed shouting at a woman Valorant player. In the video, IShowSpeed told the player to “drop the fucking game and do your husband’s dishes” loudly. It’s a tense exchange, occurring moments after an enemy player kills him. Kotaku reached out to comment.
The video caught the attention of an assortment of people, including YouTube’s global head of video game creators, Lester Chen, and a Valorant game producer named Sara Dadafshar. Dadafshar said that she “went ahead and got permanently banned” IShowSpeed Valorant and all other Riot games, while Chen said he was “abovein response to Lucky’s tweet calling out Speed.
It might sound like an open and closed deal, but not quite. In the wake of the ban and its visibility, there is now a conversation about what constitutes “good” and “bad” trash talkwith competitor content creators To break player Techniques top Twitch streamer xQc jumping to give their grain of salt. Even DramaAlert host Daniel “Keemstar” Keem, a high-profile personality with 2.7 million Twitter followers and 5.69 million YouTube subscribers, joined in the debate, publish a video defending the toxic language of IShowSpeed because he seems to be underage and what he said in Valorant was, at least for him, “not real”.
The speech is in some ways revealing. Few would argue that Speed’s music video was arguable, including the YouTuber himself, but at the same time the larger concept of trash talk has become a cornerstone of gaming culture for better or for the worst. Keemstar, extraordinary king of trash talk, is proof of this. If you didn’t know, Keem gave players rude mouths in Halo 3 mid-to-late 2000s multiplayer, initially having its brand name known as “Halois #1 TRASHTALKER.”. There is this part of Keem’s supposed very first YouTube video where he said that one of the players “is going to pay 800 points to change his screen name to Rodney King because he’s getting his ass beat.” I shouldn’t have to explain how this “trash talk” is problematic, but the second most upvoted comment on that same video reads, “the birth of a legend.”
Shortly after the clip and the speech that followed, IShowSpeed apologized. He admitted his behavior was ‘wrong’ and said he ‘got a lot of racist talk’ that day, including a comment from two Valorant players who told him “only white characters can heal” in the game.
I understand. Any form of discrimination boils the blood. This growing tension in the body, the burning anger that festers in the gut, can lead to overwhelming actions or speeches. I’ve thrown controllers before, told my teammates they suck when they ignore the objective, but it’s always out of competitive frustration, never out of sheer animosity. IShowSpeed may or may not be underage – there are two songs from 2021 in which he claims to be 16, but there is one March 2021 YouTube Stream where he says he’s 19 – but even though he’s young, this level of verbal aggression is unacceptable and doesn’t even come close to what could be defended as “harmless” foul language. Also, this wouldn’t be IShowSpeed’s first offense or only ban. In fact, his Twitch channel was permanently suspended in December 2021 after threatening to rape social media influencer Ash Kaash if they were the last two living humans during an online dating show with Twitch streamer Adin Ross. IShowSpeed clearly has a history of toxic and disturbing language online.
Still, all of this begs the question of who can and can’t clean themselves up and get a second chance after baring their ass all over the internet, and who gets celebrated for their bad behavior. This recalls a somewhat similar situation with League of Legends streamer Tyler “tyler1” Steinkamp, who Riot banned indefinitely in 2016 for a history of abusive behavior, but lifted the sentence two years later because he “reformed”. Maybe there’s a chance that IShowSpeed’s streaming career won’t be flushed down the toilet in the long run, and if so, there’s a precedent if it’s formed. , YouTube’s impending suspension — or perhaps Twitch’s ban — could be reversed. At the very least, he might play Riot games again one day.
Kotaku has reached out to Jake Lucky, Keemstar, Riot Games and YouTube for comment.