TotalBiscuit Quits Social Media With Emotional Goodbye

TotalBiscuit Quits Social Media With Emotional Goodbye

John “Total Biscuit” Bain is not the first person to struggle with social media as he’s become more popular, nor is he the first to announce he’s quitting a service like Twitter. But uniquely, the YouTube star is living with terminal cancer, and his statement on why he’s leaving is both gut-wrenching and understandable.

Bain first discussed his struggle with cancer in 2014. Despite receiving treatment, in October 2015, Bain revealed the cancer was ultimately inoperable.

“Average life expectancy is 2-3 years, though there are outliers that live much longer,” he wrote at the time. “I’ll be back on chemo in a few weeks, with the goal of pushing it back and keeping it there for as long as possible. I fully intend to be the outlier, the average is this way because most people that get this are old and not strong anymore.”

In the last few days, Bain expressed anxiety over how his work was discussed and criticised in places like reddit. Despite his popularity, Bain seemed to be deeply interested in what people thought about his work, but found himself unable to stay away from it, even when it was impacting his mental health.

Thus, the decision to step away from Twitter. He’ll still be making videos, but he hopes moving away from social media is for the best, in the years he has.

Rather than excerpt his statement, I’ve transcribed the whole thing below:

Well, you’ve heard this many times before, but maybe this will actually be the time this happens. I’m done with social media. I’ve had it. It’s enough.

Look, let’s be real here about the reality of what could happen over the next few years. In a few years, I could very well be dead — two to three [years to live] average is what I’m given for this particular form of this disease. I intend to outlive that by a significant margin, but if it ends up being the last few years of my life, I want to spend them not being fucking miserable. And if that involves disconnecting from everybody, so be it.

My family is gonna come first, my fucking mental health is gonna come first. The expectation that everyone who ever made it on the Internet’s gotta be constantly connected to their fans all the time 24 hours a day 24/7 is insane. It’s unreasonable. Nobody can fucking handle it. Nobody. [sighs] God. You have no idea how many of my friends are in therapy just because of this job.

I even know what you’re going to say. I know what the fucking naysayers are going to say. You’re going to turn around and tell me “ah, you’ll be back.” Yeah, maybe. I might be — because I’m fucked in the head, as I’ve explained many times. It’s a problem. It’s an obsession. But I’ve got to make at least a concerted effort to stop it. This is the only way I know how because I’ve tried every other way. I’ve been trying for years. It doesn’t work. I’m done.

So as of now, my Twitter account is in the hands of Chris [an assistant], and he is under explicit instructions not to let me post anything on it. If I tell him to post something, he’s not going to do it. He’s been told to put up the videos, make announcements, remind people of upcoming events, that’s it. After this Soundcloud is done, I’m giving him control of the Soundcloud — so I’done with that, too. There are not going to be anymore personal Soundcloud audio blogs. This Soundcloud is here solely to host the podcast and and audio versions of my YouTube content. This will be it.

I want no way — no way at all — to contact the wider Internet outside of my work. I don’t want to do it anymore. It’s too much. So that’s how it’s going to be. There will be YouTube videos and there will be streams. If I could, I’d probably shut down the chat in my stream, as well, but I think, at least, that stays reasonable the vast majority of the time so I could probably handle that. We’ll see. That’s probably going to get fucked up as well, isn’t it?

[sighs] There’s the thing. I would delete my Twitter right now if I could. I would delete it. I can’t. I legally can’t. [laughs] I’m under contract. I have to maintain this Twitter for my YouTube channel and for my sponsorship agreements. For my contractual obligations, it has to exist. I can’t get rid of it. So the only thing I can do is make sure that I can never post on it. Hopefully, if I never post on it, I’ll have no desire to read the responses to it, and it will be far harder for me to see it.

So that’s how it’s going to be. I’m going to make YouTube videos and you can do one of two things: you can watch them or you can not watch them. That’s up to you. If I end up losing a bunch of money from this because people feel the need to connect with me, otherwise they can’t appreciate my content, so be it. I’ll be happier. Money’s awesome, but it can’t buy me out of this…whatever this is. It hasn’t helped. What you’re gonna get is content, that’s it. Enjoy it or don’t — it’s up to you. I’m handing this Soundcloud account to Chris now, so this will be the last time I post on it. I know what’s going to happen now.

The usual people come out of the woodwork and go “ah, you can’t take criticism, nyah!” And all that other shit. OK! Fine. I accept it. I can’t take criticism. I’m dying of terminal cancer. I don’t think I need to read your Internet criticism of me. I think I’ll live longer if I don’t. And you know what? That should be the priority. I don’t want to leave my wife and son behind. I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to leave my friends behind. I don’t want to leave my job behind. I don’t want to leave my pets behind. I don’t want to leave my family behind. [pause] No. If that’s the price — that I don’t read your feedback? Or I don’t take your criticism into account? I’m going to pay that price. I will happily pay that price.

This is my fucking life, and what is left of it I am going to take control back. Sorry if this disappoints people. I know the vast majority of you are cool and you like this level of interaction, but if this is going to be the last few years that I get to live, I’m going to try and live it in a way that doesn’t make me miserable. I have too much shit on my plate as it is. I don’t need anymore.

Know that the vast majority of you, I appreciate you every day. It’s why I thank you at the end of every video. You let me live my dream, and I’m so very grateful for that. I’m going to go back to work now. See ya.

Our thoughts are with you, John.


    • People have been saying some truly horrible stuff about his cancer.

      Some of the worst stuff that I’ve read has come from Star Citizen fans who claim his cynicism of Star Citizen is simply because he isn’t going be alive to play it, so he hates on the game.

      There is some other truly horrible stuff that gets posted as well. If I was him, I doubt I could do it with so much negative thrown at him in regards to a terminal illness.

    • People gave him crap. Constantly. For years.

      It doesn’t matter if you’re nice, in fact that probably makes it worse. The internet is a cesspool, and seeing morons call your cancer “an excuse” probably makes the venom rise somewhat.

      It only has to be the odd few idiots, but they really add up when hundreds of thousands of viewers are checking in.

    • Really? What rose coloured glasses are you viewing the internet through. When he announced he would be taking time off for his chemotherapy people criticized him for it. People legitimately consider his connection with them more important than his own health.

      Clearly though we listened to different speeches though because I heard no venom in his words. Not even sure where your getting that from. Did you listen to the very end? All I heard was the words of a man looking to focus what remains of his suddenly short life on his family and health. Thats not something to be apologetic for.

      GG TB.

      • What rose coloured glasses are you viewing the internet through.

        The internet is a terrific invention. I know a lot of people say the internet can be an communication platform for uncivil, disrespectful, ill-bred, vulgar, sometimes borderline psychotic mobs of people, but it’s not a reason to become discouraged. It’s just a very diverse world out there.

        Clearly though we listened to different speeches though because I heard no venom in his words.

        “if it ends up being the last few years of my life, I want to spend them not being fucking miserable. And if that involves disconnecting from everybody, so be it.”

        “I know what the fucking naysayers are going to say. You’re going to turn around and tell me “ah, you’ll be back.” Yeah, maybe. I might be — because I’m fucked in the head”

        His words are contemptuous, and I’ve only seen TB through his reviews and podcasts, he’s very confident, well-mannered man. I don’t have a Facebook or Twitter so I’m unaware of what happens there.

        • This is what happens when you’re unwilling to challenge yourself with any perspective but your own. There’s an obvious and clear case for “venom” being the wrong word but since such a gaudy explanation was posted, it seems reality has been ignored. Don’t bother.

    • He threw his top-hat in to the Gamer Gate ruckus which is inadvisable if you want your social media experience to be free of excess drama.

      • Yeah. There are no winners in that particular argument. Both sides have equally acted like animals and any voice of rationality is shouted down by the extremists at both ends of the spectrum.

    • Check his twitter this last week. He’s had some reddit related stuff that I guess just got to him more than usual.

    • Cancer is a vile monster and if I had to grapple with it every day AND the awesome power of the fully-operational battle-station hate machine that is the Internet, I’d be even angrier.

      You are going to die. Imagine that you will die sooner than most, before your time, leaving behind a partner and a child, and that people are giving you shit about. And those people will be alive to have the last laugh. The vilest, most inhuman scum that humanity has to offer will be laughing over your grave as your partner and child mourn.

      I’d be angry every fucking day those scum decided to remind me that they’re going to ‘win’.

      (Edit: It wouldn’t even matter if 90% of the Internet is a place of positivity – and I bet it’s not. If your coffee is 90% coffee and 10% human feces, you’d complain about it. The vile can have a bigger impact than the kind. And when you have an audience of literally millions, responding to you, that means exposure to a LOT of filth. I don’t know how ANY celebrity manages a social media presence without hiring someone to do it for them.)

    • The internet happened. I feel nothing but sympathy for the poor guy, cancer or no cancer, fame or no fame. I feel sympathy for anyone online who is thrust into the spotlight for whatever reason.

      I had an unintended and briefly viral stint online last year when one of my imgur posts was thrust into the spotlight and eventually posted around a few subreddits for what a lot of people initially called a very inspirational story. I didn’t expect, nor ask nor want any kind of fame or infamy from the start, but whether you’re thrown into the spotlight or you strive to be there, there is no meeting the impossible expectations of the internet. It is just not humanely possible.

      And holy crap did it nearly destroy my life, literally. I went to bed one night, woke up the next morning with psychopathic emails which I thought were some kind of sick joke – people threatening to track down and murder my cat etc. I had no idea how toxic the internet can be. There is absolutely no sense of morality or decency. If you were knocked off your feet in real life in a suburban Australian street, you would have the usual bystanders come to your side – a woman with her pram, “Oh my god, are you alright?”, the tradie with his phone out “Sit still mate, cops and ambo are on the way.”.

      But online, that’s not what happens. You get knocked off your feet, and you know what happens next? People join in. LOTS of people join in, and it becomes a crowd beating. Before you know it, there are people all around participating in a downright toxic, vulgar verbal smackdown of yourself because some people want to prove they’re the smartest, most elite trilby-wearing critic who obviously -knows way more than everyone else does-, and to show how tough they are. Soon I had people sending emails to my workplace and one person on another site even tracked my physical address down before it was spread around. I effectively stopped working and now I don’t have my job anymore.

      I had a mental breakdown from it, and encountered the first seizure I’ve ever experienced in my life, my doctor told me in these exact words; “For the love of god, shut that damned computer off and don’t go near it again.”.

      But here I am again, like Biscuit often came back, and I think I see why – he wants to see the good in people, so desperately hopes that “next time will be different” but the internet doesn’t change, it grows. With growth comes more new faces, both good and bad, and some so abhorrent that they push the boundaries of what was previously thought possible.

      You have terminal cancer? Don’t expect sympathy online, you will be destroyed and made to feel bad for simply existing and having it. Who would’ve thought we’d find people to be this toxic simply because they’re hidden behind a keyboard? Remember the old story – two people bump into each other on the street and chances are both will go “Oop, sorry!” with sincerity. Two people in individual cars miss each other by metres at even the lowest of speed, and you will hear horns, swearing, and threats of taking a life…

      simply because they are hidden behind something that they feel protects them.

      • Oh my gosh, that’s horrible! I really hope you’ve gotten better since then! I’ve had to take breaks multiple times because i started getting so paranoid about things i really shouldn’t have to be, and i didn’t even have a situation much close to yours… I sincerely hope your health (and job situation) gets better, that sounds pretty scary.

        The internet’s good parts are its good parts, but the negative parts certainly have its toll… it’s pretty scary how people can act online versus offline; i dunno about anyone else, but i try to act online as i would offline. Being online can give you an alter-ego, sure, but i don’t think taking on a crappy one is the answer.

  • My heart just broke. I remember watching his Starcraft vids a a falling in love so to speak. Then I heard about his cancer and I’d thought he has beaten it, was in remission, guess not. Poor guy, glad to see he’s stepping away from social media. Wish him all the best

  • First I’ve heard about this, my hopes are with you Mr Biscuit. People abusing cancer patients? Words cannot express what kind of scum they are, and another reason why I am over internet anonymity.

  • Guess he fell into the whole trap of ‘giving a shit about what people say online’. Really it’s best thing to just discard and leave behind if you find yourself deeply emotionally affected by troll comments.

    There are ALLOT of people who have no other purpose to live but to go online and try and stir hate and displeasure about other people, seriously they breath to do it, you gotta just tell em to GFTS and move on.

  • Love you TB, can only hope Chris can field some of the comments and pass on just how many people you were the bright centre of the singularity that is the internet. You will be remembered.

  • All the best for the future TotalBiscuit, but if you pass away rest in piece. You will be remembered. I hope your last years are pleasant ones

  • Ive only just come across Totalbuscuit thanks to scouring youtube for Xcom 2 videos, and already Im sad to hear that he has Terminal Cancer. Im going to spend some time listening to his channel now.

  • I’ve never liked his content, too opinionated (and different from my own opinions) for me to like it. That said I’ve got nothing against the guy and being a father myself I can only imagine how hard it would be to have terminal cancer and know you’re going to leave your family and miss out on so much.

    Good move quitting social media, if it’s in the way get rid of it. No time for dealing with trash when he has more important things like life to deal with.

    I imagine his YouTube career and fame feel more like a trap and very restrictive right now. No doubt he’d love to just quit and spend time with family.

  • I do honestly hope TB actually can enjoy the last of his life.

    I can only imagine how bad it would feel actually dying of cancer and having to see all of the things aimed at him while he actually does have concerns of the reality of having a limited time too be with his wife and son.

    I found his podcast to be… Honest. I appreciate honesty

  • I pray all the best for the time he has left, that it may be fruitful and spent with the people that matter most to him,

    I really enjoy watching his videos, especially Hearthstone and his game reviews are quite balanced (generally speaking).

  • Dang… I clicked on the title out of curiosity/surprise, because I had heard the name “TotalBiscut” around (never really new of them tho; i’m not too up-to-date with popular internet people/accounts anymore) and….wow….i got chills, i feel so bad for him, but in terms of dealing with social media i can actually relate.

    Living with anxiety i can feel stressed pretty easily, or even panic, so when the sours of social media come to me, it’s pretty….crummy, to say the least. I’ve had to take breaks multiple times for the sake of my mental heath, and recently just a sudden month-plus long “disappearance”, as at this point i practically have become paranoid i can’t satisfy everyone, or make everyone happy, or am considered annoying.. On the surface it probably sounds pretty silly, but when you’re actually experiencing it the fear tears you down. And it tears you down bad. To the point where it’s not just mental health suffering; it’s physical health, too. It’s all-around health. Especially if you’re a super sensitive, sappy, depressed, innocent fool like i am, where anything negative feels like daggers.

    I’ve wanted to start a gaming channel or something for a while now, but the one iffy part is imagining how to deal with fan-reception… If, as of now, i’m just a little everyday account with maybe 2,000 twitter followers and 300 youtube subscribers, and i already feel this way, i fear how negative hater-fan-troll-whatever comments will affect me, if i were to become some dedicated channel/account and possibly became more popular.

    But sheesh, back on the real topic, this is so sad, i wish him well. Pretty smart move to abandon social media to relieve mental health, it really does become heavy after a while. And as for his general health, i hope he has a miraculous recovery. As for this; “There’s the thing. I would delete my Twitter right now if I could. I would delete it. I can’t. I legally can’t. [laughs] I’m under contract. I have to maintain this Twitter for my YouTube channel and for my sponsorship agreements,” this broke my heart. It says “[laughs]” but i feel so much pain here, intended or not. I may be an outsider here, but my thoughts will be with him. Hope all goes well.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!