Video Games

About my Dunkey Article…

Last year I wrote an article about gaming YouTuber Jason Gastrow, better known as Videogamedunkey or just Dunkey. Then I got told to kill myself, multiple times.

How did it get here?

The article was part of a conversation I was having with my roommate at the time. He didn’t believe the criticisms I had of the YouTuber were valid. I felt that Dunkey’s recurring bit of beating the shit out of a female NPC was endemic of the larger issue with misogyny in gaming and was reinforcing those issues.

My roommate and I talked about a lot of things Dunkey does and what we find comedic in general. The biggest thing that struck me is that my roommate believed our culture needed more acceptance of the misogynist comedy like Dunkey’s. He went so far as to say it’s important for comedians to make rape jokes without fear of criticism. After all, who was I to say rape isn’t funny?

 

 

Well, that night I took an hour or two and scrubbed through the majority of Dunkey’s videos to date and read other critiques and opinions. I was trying to make sense of it not only for myself but in hopes of continuing to have constructive discussions with the Dunkey fans in my life, like my roommate.

That led to what became the most viewed and hated post I’ve ever written: Everything Wrong with Dunkey. Go ahead and give it a read if you haven’t, and take a look at the many, many angry comments.

Dunkey Thumb Rough
The atrocious header image I threw together for my first Dunkey piece… in retrospect way too clickbaity and bad.

It wasn’t really an article to start, it was a collection of clips from Dunkey’s hundreds of videos and references to other criticisms of his content. But I added my thoughts, as well as my conclusion: “If you look at the patterns of behaviour over the years it’s impossible to deny this is a really shitty guy. He rose to fame off of sexist content, and while he may not murder a woman in every video he carries all of that misogyny with him in all his work.”

Well, my roommate didn’t like that, so he took it to the internet’s best place for reasonable debate and discussion: Reddit.

He shared it twice, once from a now-deleted account where he titled his post “Roommate Decided to write up why we shouldn’t support dunkey” and a second time from a different account where he titled his post “Breaking news: SJW writes article to defend women and minorities from dunkey’s ‘abuse’” which I found pretty humorous. In my experience, “SJW” is the go-to for name calling when people don’t actually want to have a useful conversation with you.

I’m under no illusion my roommate wanted to foster a discussion or engage in any thoughtful critique of my article. He posted on the official Dunkey subreddit, after all, where he knew hardcore fans would jump on my article and attack me. And they did, and have continued to almost weekly since he shared it.

I keep my email on my blog in case readers want to reach me, and I get emails almost every week from Dunkey fans telling me to kill myself and calling me a “r*tarded f*ggot” among other things. The article has about 100 comments and a little over 6,000 views as of this writing, many of the comments matching what I get in my inbox. This is typical of existing with an opinion on the internet, but I feel it also illustrates a bigger point about the kind of community Dunkey attracts.

angryvideogamers

The people telling me to kill myself and calling me all kinds of colourful slurs are angry, that much is certain. These are angry guys who enjoy seeing a high profile creator beating the shit out of a female character in a game. It’s funny! These are guys who feel validated when Dunkey complains about his ban from League of Legends for telling another player they “should be gunned down in the streets like the degenerate you are.” That’s hilarious, I do that too! They love that Dunkey behaves like they do and is rewarded for it with YouTube celebrity. And they’re angry at anyone who is critical of him.

Don’t get me wrong I’ve laughed several of Dunkey’s videos. He has a great sense of timing and occasionally he skewers a game in a thoughtful way that I agree with. He exposes a lot of the stupid things about videogames I think need exposing, like his 2017 E3 video which illustrated how stupid these press conferences really are.

But I’m still going to be critical of how often Dunkey is shitty towards women in his videos, whether satirically or not. A lot of his content is blatant in its objectification of and violence towards women, from spinning the camera under B2’s skirt to look at her panties in his Nier: Automata video to murdering a cowering woman to get a better look at her naked breasts in his Max Payne 3 video.

dunk1

A lot of people in the comments and emails I’ve received argue that the personality of Dunkey is satirical, designed to make fun of the outrageous gamer culture by being a caricature of a racist, sexist gamer. Even if that is the intent (and I would love if someone could find me the quote where he says it is) he never distinguishes which videos are meant to be satirical let’s plays and which are his actual critiques of games.

If the audience can’t tell the difference between your satire and the source, you’ve just made more of the source material. And when your source material is toxic, misogynist gamers we don’t need any more of that.

There have been new discussions in the mainstream about Dunkey since I wrote my article. Articles from people I admire like Patrick Klepeck at Waypoint who says that even though Dunkey has “a history of using offensive, ableist language in his videos” he’s still one of his favourite YouTubers, even when Patrick doesn’t agree with everything Dunkey says and does.

And after his Game Critics video blew up there was a lot of discussion about his faulty arguments, like Paul Tassi who wrote in Forbes that Dunkey “constantly gets off track and contradicts himself while addressing these issues.” Dunkey is one of Tassi’s favourite YouTubers as well, but when someone you admire does something stupid that doesn’t make any sense it’s important to be critical of that.

In a perfect world, criticism will lead to reflection which will lead to better content. I had hoped that my critiques of Dunkey would illustrate a larger issue with his content. There’s a couple of comments on my original article in the sea of hate from people who say they appreciate my article because it helped them think about Dunkey differently. And that makes it all worth it.

So what now?

Look, here’s where I stand today: I don’t think the article I wrote was useful.

It’s a list of out of context clips from Dunkey’s videos where he does and says shitty things to women and minorities. The argument I made was that Dunkey beats the shit out of women NPCs and calls them various gendered slurs, therefore, he’s a misogynist and you shouldn’t watch any of his videos ever. That’s not fair.

GTAVPic.png
I still played GTA V in spite of its misogynist content.

Dunkey has misogynist themes in his content, for sure. But does that mean you should never watch another Dunkey video? No, it doesn’t. It’s important to be critical.

I’ve seen him mature as a creator. He’s moved away from the more blatant examples of misogyny and racism in his earlier videos, and I believe there are some truly useful criticisms of videogames delivered through a comedic lens. He doesn’t use the slurs he used to, and whether that’s because he’s become more aware of how damaging language can be or he doesn’t want a PR faux pas we won’t know. But another YouTuber with millions of subscribers who stops throwing around slurs is progress (although an extremely low bar).

It’s important to still be critical of the media you enjoy, and I will continue to be.

So whether this article will help clear up where my earlier misguided, messy article came from or not I’m unsure. I sure hope this helps the haters see where I was coming from, or at the very least stop sending me abusive emails every week. Each one just gets filed under the “Proving my Point” folder and makes me feel like shit.

I didn’t want to just delete the other article, but I wanted to let people know my opinions have changed. And please stop telling me to kill myself.

Please 🙏

29 comments on “About my Dunkey Article…

  1. Pingback: Everything Wrong with Dunkey – Stephan's Universe

  2. gilbert keith chesterton

    i hope u commit sudoku

    jk good article, it seems your critical thinking/writing has matured alongside dunkey, arguably a lot more so. good read.

    • Hey Gilbert, thanks for reading and thanks for the kind words 🙂

      • Didn’t know how to comment on that last one but cute article, now shut the fuck up you little pussy ass soy boy. Fuck, you sound like the biggest faggot, awh your pussy wet cause someone made some jokes in his videos you dont like :…( cry about it kike.

  3. YEAH STEPHAN! Very good. Very nice write.

  4. maneth boyson

    Dunkey’s content is not meant for the likes of you, like how trap music isn’t meant for old ass dudes.
    Your article on him is like me complaining about rom/coms, they aren’t for me, I don’t like them, i don’t like whats in them because they’re made for women aged 16 to whenever, not weirdos on the internet.
    A lot of your links to misogyny or homophobia I find to be fuckin dumb, (like that ‘urkel with tits’ one. like the fucking guy is just saying that shes annoying.) and plain ignorant.
    This article is in-offensive apart from some bits where you try to extract empathy from the reader by saying that people are angry at your trash article and told you to off yourself. I myself have been told to kill myself online without even starting a shitshow.
    I highly doubt a happily married man, whose best friend is a gay black guy, is a racist misogynist.

    I think journalism/articles should evoke strong emotions, and you did that, however to not expect some backlash is fuckin stupid. I don’t agree with you on Dunkey and shit, but whatever. have a nice day

    • Thanks for reading, Maneth.

      As I mention in the article, I bring up the death threats not to extract empathy but to illustrate a bigger issue I see with the Dunkey fandom and his content. Creating videos where he wishes people were gunned down irl in League isn’t far off from his fans telling people online, like me, who are critical of him to kill themselves. You reap what you sow, and Dunkey sows toxicity among an already toxic gaming culture.

      • Fans are going to tell others to kill themselves regardless of the fandom they come from. The amount of threats you received didn’t come from the level of toxicity from the fandom’s youtuber, but from the size of the fandom itself.

        I despise this culture of asking streamers and youtubers to be “accountable” for their audience. It is actually impossible for this to happen, and the content creator will always lose in these situations.

        Speaking of reaping what you sow, you stirred up the dunkey fanbase, you are feeling the effects of that right now. Is it right for you to receive threats? no, but you knew it was going to happen. No amount of virtue signaling is going to stop that. If you care about your mental health, maybe you will be more careful with what you post online?

        Making a second post in the tone that you did, which just came across as you defending yourself, and not apologizing, was a poor move. All you did was stoke the fire. Move on man. Apologize for slandering dunkey, and move on. You were wrong.

  5. Why do you care if people online tell you to kill yourself? Just don’t do it and you’ve won.

    In your original article you state that his content discourages women from entering the gaming scene in fear of getting offended. I’ve been in the gaming/nerd scene before it was the hip thing to do and was marginalised for it by “normal” people but it never stopped me. I also had varying reaction from male nerds. Ones who were happy and excited about a girl being in the scene and ones who teased me for it. Never stopped me from enjoying gaming.

    Today I present as gender-neutral on the internet, meaning, I don’t make it anyone’s concern what my gender is. I think people today dislike female gamers because they want everyone to know that they are female and somehow deserve some extra attention for being in the scene but often it just gets met with insults (even from other females) because frankly it’s just annoying and nobody cares. At the end of the day, us nerds -don’t fucking care- what gender you are as long as you can take the banter and just get on with it.

    So if a female feels discouraged from becoming a “gamer” by content like dunkey’s, then they really aren’t ready for the scene. If people find out I’m a woman and start throwing misogyny at me (which they often do) I can discern that they only say that because of the blissful internet anonymity and in return, I hit them with some incel jokes. It’s all just banter and it has been like this since the dawn of time. The internet has always been a haven for weird people and not a “feel-good” place that some people are trying to make it into nowadays.

    • Your capacity for empathy is astounding

    • You shouldn’t base your solution for the whole of society on your own, specific, personal experience.

      I agree with you that the word ‘misogyny’ is tossed around far too freely, but that doesn’t actually mean it doesn’t exist at all. Women shouldn’t have to choose between their values and their games; men don’t. While I don’t believe it’s inherently wrong to shoot out some annoying women in video games, I also don’t believe it’s necessary to include a mechanic in a game that allows you to buy and kill female prostitutes.

      I’m going to go on a little tangent for a moment to further illustrate one of the underlying purposes of this blogger’s series on Dunkey.

      Imagine if all three main characters in GTAV were women, and all the men were cast as irritating, rude, useless, or ‘slutty’. All of the strippers and prostitutes are men and you can pay them for sex and then murder them. One of them has the word ‘skank’ tattooed across his back. All of the male characters are essentially sideshows and set pieces while the women demean and use them.

      If that sounds completely foreign, that’s because it is. Yet in reverse it is so normal that nobody bats an eyelash. Therein lies the problem.

      Dunkey is inadvertently re-normalizing the mindset that women are less than, even though I genuinely believe that is not his intention, and I do love his videos. For me, I just want people to acknowledge inequality where it exists and stop being butthurt when someone else expresses their feelings. Men have their own set of struggles to deal with. But women deserve better than to be dead prostitutes and labeled ‘skanks’ in overwhelmingly successful game franchises.

      • Blaming dunkey for your preconceived notions of misogyny in gaming is extremely slanderous. He makes videos about video games, he doens’t make the games themselves. Even if a game was just one white dude killing a bunch of women for the entire game, it isn’t sexist in the slightest unless the developer actually has it out for women. Because the characters in game are all 1’s and 0’s.

        Nobody needs “representation” in a game. The point of video games is to have an escape from the real world. Throwing around real world ideas into games is just wrong. It always has been and always will.

        Play games for competition or for fun, there is no other option. This is why gaming is appropriate for both genders, because it isn’t about gender. Its about FUN.

  6. I think it’s admirable that you’ve opened your eyes to the fact that misogyny is everywhere and that it shouldn’t be socially acceptable. As you stated, if satire isn’t clear, it instead normalizes. The idea that women shouldn’t be offended when they’re blatantly disrespected just because the person doing the disrespecting doesn’t feel they owe any apology is atrocious. Being insulted in video games, movies, and music constantly for everything we do gets old. Too whore-ish, too prude, too fat, too ugly, too whiny, too stupid — this is the way we’re portrayed, and it’s the way we’re perceived.

    I like Dunkey’s content. I like his videos. I think he’s a great video game critic. But I am happy that there are men out there who understand where women come from without being offended that we’ve got feelings.

    • Hey anon, thanks for reading! I appreciate your kind words. I get bogged down a lot with all the negative comments that it’s nice to hear that someone feels validated by something I wrote.

  7. The biggest issue I see with your post here and your last post is that, regardless of how incorrect and misguided your points were, (and they were on several occasions) you managed to sound like an arrogant asshole.

    I think you mean well. You truly do believe that his “behavior” in games is somehow wrong and you feel justified to criticize him for it. To be honest if person were to only go around and kill people of color and females in GTAV for hours on end and put a video up it doesn’t mean the video maker is racist/sexist. Those are video game characters. They aren’t real. This means they aren’t actually people of color and they aren’t actually women. They are 1’s and 0’s. No matter how good a character is fleshed out in game, they will never be an actual person.

    The moment that this type of gameplay would crossover into racist/sexist behavior is if the creator was talking about how they wanted to do this in real life, or that they are ok with this in real life. Dunkey never does this. Even out of context its just comical clips of dunkey murdering some mass of polygons over and over again for comedic effect. Besides, as a white male yourself I don’t know if you are really the leading authority on when someone is racist/sexist to those outside your own race.

    Dunkey works extremely hard making his content for us to enjoy. Hating him to the extent you did was just ridiculous.

    Do I think you deserved to receive death threats over your opinions? of course not. But you aren’t innocent either. You called a man out with slanderous comments and little to no proof and logical fallacies.

    P.S. Of course you were called an SJW by your roommate. The very definition of SJW is virtue signaling without proof with the intent of grabbing attention. Regardless of if that was you intent, thats EXACTLY how it came across with your rhetoric and your lack of hard evidence.

    Dunkey isn’t Racist or Sexist, and his videos don’t actually exhibit misogyny in the slightest… because they were video game characters…..

  8. It sucks people went as far to respond with death threats unironically but a lot of your original article and even this one can be kinda infuriating to read.

    He insults male NPCs and calls them dumbasses or bitches just as often if not more often and more over I think he’s reinforcing stereotypes like you claim. I guess some bad apples will take it seriously and completely miss that some things are jokes and maybe even go on to treat women in their own life badly but that’s kinda ridiculous to hold dunkey accountable for.

    I also fully agree with dunkey that you SHOULD have a right to freedom of speech in games whether people like it or not. I guess that’s really down to the companies discretion and personal opinion but I’ve seen where it goes with games and it’s nowhere good. I don’t like seeing the proscene of call of duty where people are yelling at each other over the table and trash talking(it’s embarrassing by proxy) but I think games like overwatch or league that thought police and ban you for saying swears can be much worse. You sorta twist his words into sounding more malicious than they are considering how completely ridiculous his insults always are.

    Feels less about dunkey in specific being racist or misogynistic as you’re trying to push an agenda and while I’m not the person to argue against your agenda – I will say I think that’s what really annoys people. It feels manipulative and most of us aren’t smart enough to know how to respond maturely online.

  9. Khadija moumni

    I find it irritating how people think I deserve to be sheltered from satire because I am a woman, you mentioned something about Team Siren debacle in your first article and how it’s Misogynistic that Dunkey parodied them, it’s funny because it was the video that made me a fan of his but also funny because the video itself is funny, if you stop trying to look for the mysonoctic underlying factor you will be able to see that these girls were made fun of for being bad at the game, made a mockery out of themselves and instead of actually practising, they thought it would be enough to publicise their brand and that was that, they deserved to be shittalked as would any other shitty Esports team, women can handle shittalk like their male counterparts, it shouldn’t be anything to fuss about, men do it to each other all the time, that’s not a/the problem.

    if the same logic applies that Dunkey is a bad influence then so did Team Siren and a more recent Russian team did in influencing the public view on female gamers, if these teams keep rising to prominence we will never be taken seriously…

    Another thing, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea but offensive humor exists, it’s exactly funny for the reason you think it’s not, being over the top, a racist, a sexist and whatever else is not socially acceptable, it cracks people up, assuming a character that you wouldn’t otherwise be is funny, morbidly funny I can’t explain it it’s just how it is, if you look into his life, Dunkey has meaningful relationships with LGBT friends, his sweet fiancee and watching his podcasts you’ll realize he’s rather shy, unless he says he’s a sexist I am giving him the benefit of the doubt for now, knowing I use exactly the same type of humor and how ‘the likes of us’ function.

    Exposing your article to millions of adoring fans was kind of a dick move by your roommate, but you can’t Ha! argue that it proves your point on Dunkey fueling toxicity/attracting toxic individuals if you knew how fandoms work at all, many shows, artists and celebrities have toxic fandoms despite promoting for positivity, Steven Universe (coincidence?) .has one of the most toxic fanbases despite being a show openly supporting minorities, LGBT and body positivity, fans send death threats to the writers and start fanwars all the time, I think they bullied a writer out of position? You get the point.

    • fpspammers

      this is exactly what I’ve been thinking lmao. the absolute level of white knighting that people like this do is crazy. they are offended on behalf of others and try to portray themselves as this protector and saviour.

      It’s a really miserable attempt that betas have at trying to portray themselves as righteous and protective of women and minorities when they don’t even need protecting most of the time lmao.

    • Kevin Phung

      yeah his argument was negated the exact moment he tried to defend the sirens lmao.

  10. Love the article and agree with a lot of the points you made here. Keep up the good work and don’t let the haters get you down!

  11. Your roommate seems like an asshole, honestly.

  12. I’m just leaving a comment to say that I agree with you, and I’m really sorry that you had to spend so much time getting abused by Dunkey’s fans. I think it’s critically important that gaming personalities like him take responsibility for the kind of community that they foster, and his community in particular has taken its cues from his discriminatory and prejudiced behavior over the years.

    I enjoyed both your first article and this follow-up, and again, I’m just so sorry that you still have to deal with this ridiculous abuse from his fans. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, if you celebrate it! If not, I hope it was just a pretty good Thursday anyway. 🙂

    • Ignore me and feel free to delete this and the parent. 🙂 I thought the first comment didn’t post because I’m a dumdum.

      • Hey Will, thanks so much for reading! My experience with the Dunkey community has been pretty toxic so far, to say the least 😛 As far as I know, he’s never actively dissuaded his audience from being abusive/toxic, would love to see some examples of that if I’m wrong.

        I’m glad you enjoyed my pieces and thanks for your support. I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend, we had ours back in October here in Canada 🇨🇦

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