Steven Bonnell, known as Destiny to his tens of thousands of fans, is a famous Starcraft II player who recently came under fire for "e-cheating" on his girlfriend with an
allegedly 18 21-year-old female fan known as Bluetea. After Bluetea found out that Bonnell had privately shared naked photos of her with his friends and read the chat log in which he called her "Shrek" and "Butterface," she used Bonnell's email address — which she says she knew because she used to schedule his lessons for him — to hack into his Twitter account and leak dick picks he had sent her to his 34k+ followers. In retaliation, Bonnell threatened to contact her boss and college dean to see if the incident would affect her job, scholarship and/or financial aid.
Maybe Bonnell is right in that "Posting pictures of my dick ... + cutting me off from access to my e-mail/twitter" is not exactly "reasonable payback for me discussing something personal with two friends." But then again, it was shitty of him to use his Starcraft fame to take advantage of a teenager. It's not really our place to act as Judge Judy — but it is his sponsor's place to respond to company concerns about a client's behavior. And this is where the story gets interesting.
Ian Lai, the principal brand strategist and co-founder of Cloud Nine Labs, the small but highly-regarded digital creative company that designed and developed Bonnell's website, sent this email to
employees a redditor after "a dozen or so" voiced concerns about Bonnell's behavior:
The principals at Cloud Nine Labs, including myself, remain in support of Stevens PR decisions. Furthermore, we encourage his brutal honesty, snide remarks, controversial comments/subjects, humor, etc. as it brings a uniquely dynamic and highly entertaining element to the streaming experience. His strong personality is what makes him Destiny - one of the most successful SC2 streamers of all time. Other SC2 personalities should take a cue from Mr. Bonnell because the SC2 pro circuit is not just "gaming". It has become a powerful industry that can be monetized by establishing a strong, widely talked about brand which Steven has managed to accomplish.
In short: stop bitching, change your tampons and up your game.
Uh, what? We don't care if you personally think Bonnell's interactions with younger women are irrelevant to your professional relationship; it's never okay to tell people are troubled by a client's actions that they should "stop bitching" and "change [their] tampon" — in other words, stop acting like whiny women — if they feel upset enough about an issue to reach out. Blatant misogyny is not the same as "brutal honesty" (and/or "humor") and absolutely does not have to be a part of what makes someone successful. Do Cloud Nine execs sneak tampons out of their female employee's purses and run around waving them in the air like the boys at my middle school did, too?
In contrast, Bonnell wrote about "different approaches" to having a personality in e-sports on his blog yesterday:
some people go about it in certain ways where you make jokes that are seen as risque or offensive to certain groups, other people think it's best to edit out all of the offensive or controversial parts of your personality and present a fake, "controlled" exterior that will insult no one.
Originally I would have defended the former, and I was going to dissect Tasteless' statement that ignoring the community is incredibly pompous/arrogant (especially considering that you owe them your livelihood), but I think I understand where he's coming from, and (sadly) I agree wholeheartedly with him now. I guess that as part of e-sports going mainstream, things like purepwnage (homophobic), pwned,nl (homophobic), "leeroy jensen" (racist), baneling analogies (rape culture), red vs blue (homophobia, racism, sexism), etc…etc…are all too offensive and demeaning to be accepted in the new, "mainstream" culture.
Bonnell's lackluster agreement is reminiscent of old whiny dudes who yearn for the good ol' days when women knew their rightful place was in the kitchen — "wah, wah, people are offended by homophobia and racism, poor me!" — but at least he acknowledges that certain behavior demeans members of the "mainstream" culture. And he managed to write all that without getting in a tampon-related diss, no less.
[Update: We originally thought the email was sent to employees, but a redditor from Shit Reddit Says emailed to let us know it was actually sent to a Reddit user. Title has been changed to reflect that.]
[Full story at Reddit]