'Fortnite' Streamer Ninja Death Hoax Creator Speaks Out
Heard the one about Fortnite streamer Ninja's untimely death? Whether you have or not, you can place your concern on hold for the time being - he's fine. It was all a hoax. Great bantz, guys.
So how did the rumour come about? It all started with @Ninja_Hater, an Instagram meme account that has barely 3,000 followers - however, a post from the page went viral thanks to the word 'ligma', and a joke that took off about Ninja's apparent demise.
In case you're not up to speed with current trends of the recesses of the Internet, ligma is a pretty childish joke - a simple pun. Once you've said 'ligma' - a nonsense word without meaning, the standard response is for someone to ask 'what?' and the original person to reply 'ligma balls'. Well done, everyone.
Lots of other meme accounts and trolls picked up on the original Ninja_Hater joke and began claiming that famous Fortnite streamer Ninja had died due to this fictional disease.
It left hundreds of fans of the streamer initially confused and distressed about the rumour, but it was cleared up relatively quickly.
Ninja_Hater told gaming website Polygon that he was surprised by how well his joke has taken off, saying: "I personally like the joke and how it's really kept the joke going and even spread to other people."
The Ninja Hater account initially posted a badly photoshopped photo of Ninja standing at heaven alongside an array of deceased celebrities including rapper Lil Peep, Michael Jackson, Steve Irwin, Tupac, with the gorilla Harambe stood proudly in the middle.
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"My account started over trying to mess with a friend and then I just kept it going for fun," Ninja Hater explained. "The joke was just to see how much it would spread and to shake up the internet community."
At the time the rumour began, Ninja hadn't streamed in over 24 hours - he usually streams at least once a day and often multiple times a day, so his relative silence provided fuel for the rumour to take off.
Some big-name users began to share the hoax image around, including Spookid who has more than 125,000 followers. He also commented on a post on Ninja's own Instagram account saying "what the fuck I thought you died from ligma" - causing Ninja himself to take notice of the controversy that had begun to brew around the false account.
The joke escalated into having an Urban Dictionary definition - as 'a rare disease that usually Fortntie players carry', completing the entry with: "The disease was believed to take the life of famous streamer Ninja."
Ninja Hater told Polygon that he saw himself as a part of the 'meme community' on Instagram.
"It's just been amazing just getting on Instagram and seeing a goofy little picture I made in 30 seconds everywhere I go," he explained. "I've interacted with many other accounts small and large even before this account blew up. I'd consider myself a niche meme page if that makes sense."
The YouTube community took hold of the story; even PewDiePie got involved in the action - where Ninja himself commented on the video: "RIP Ninja... that damn ligma."
The Internet is a really weird place and these streamers, YouTubers and 'creators' are leading the way in terms of the future of kids' entertainment. We'll let you decide if that's a good thing.
Words by Will Stevenson