Smite Caster Resigns Following Insensitive Suicide Comments 

Smite Caster Resigns Following Insensitive Suicide Comments

Pro Smite streamer and commentator Brandon "DM Brandon" Nance is resigning from his position with developer Hi-Rez Studios after reacting to a viewer's donation message with a acerbic rant about suicide and depression. Brandon Nance has been a tournament caster for Hi-Rez Studios since March of 2013, regularly streaming the game via Twitch. He's built a strong following in the Smite community, with nearly 80,000 followers on Twitch.

Nance also has a reputation for being outspoken and blunt. Responding to an incident last year in which he went off on a player for poor performance, Nance wrote, "I have always been loud, abrasive, and I don't know how to change it. I don't know that I would."

During a streaming session on Monday, April 18, Nance received a $US5 ($6) charity donation from a viewer, accompanied by the message, "I tried killing myself last August, discovered your videos once I was released, and Smite has become a positive outlet for me. Thanks."

Nance did not respond well to the donation message.

"There are a lot of streamers out there who would appreciate that message," Nance began. "I'm just going to call you an asshole. It's a selfish, stupid thing to do."

In the clip below (via Eurogamer) the stream recording then jumps to Nance responding to critical comments in chat.

"Suicide is not selfish. You are a terrible person," read Nance from the Twitch comments. "Well you can find another streamer to watch, suicide is very selfish.

"Everyone has loved ones. Family. Parents. If you kill yourself with another person on the planet that cares about you, you're being a selfish prick, plain and simple. If you don't like my opinion about that you can find somewhere else to watch who's going to tell you that killing yourself is OK. Go fuck yourself, kid."

Nance's rant then moved to the topic of depression.

"I'm so sick of this constant, ridiculous self-pity bullshit like 'I have depression I can't do anything in life.' Everyone has fucking depression and anxiousness. Everyone has a hard time fucking waking up, and still a lot of us do it without putting the burden on a lot of other people. There is therapy, there are friends and there are people to help you.

"And if you decide that you're going to end your own life or let these ridiculous fucking debilitating disease ruin your life because you don't know how to deal with it, well then fucking good."

It goes on like that for a while. Then there's a brief bit on freedom of speech. Then Nance circled back around to the person who wrote the initial message.

"And to the person that made the message, I hope you realise that I'm not trying to personally attack you. I'm trying to wake you up a little bit."

The rant drew criticism from all corners of the Smite community and beyond. While most of the comments I've read (especially on the YouTube video) condemn Nance's behaviour, many of the comments found on Reddit or in the official Smite forums agree with his message, just not the way he got it across.

On Tuesday Brandon Nance resigned from Hi-Rez Studios. In a lengthy message posted via Twitter, he said that while he could weather the hate from his comments, he did think his employer should have to deal with it.

As for yesterday: I couldn't believe what I said. Because I didn't mean it and I certainly did not mean for it to come out as it did. I couldn't understand how I fucked that up so badly. The stress levels of trying to juggle this lifestyle while keeping up appearances at events, and everything on top got to the point where I was actually fucking up what I meant to say. But please don't point your hate at others for my mistake.

In the message Nance said he will continue to focus on streaming and charity work, planning on moving from Atlanta where Hi-Rez Studios is located back to New Jersey.

In a follow-up message today, Brandon Nance said that he himself suffered from depression. The message includes personal details regarding a family tragedy Nance suffered in 2009, a story meant to give some background into why he is the way he is and why he reacted to the suicide comment the way he did.

When you tell me that you're thinking of hurting yourself, I go blind. I say things I don't mean. I do things I don't mean. Because I get irrational. I get angry and I lose control. Shit, that's why I get so mad at games. Losing, to me, is failure, and I can't fail. I have too much riding on all of this.

The first thing I did after I saw my mistake was email the person who wanted to celebrate their life through that donation and I apologised.

The message concluded with a plea for forgiveness.

Now, as much as I want to hide in a hole and never come out, I have to go keep working. Not for myself, but for the people whom I live for. I was wrong in my approach, and I hope you'll forgive me.

Approached for comment on this story, Hi-Rez Studios president Stew Chisam gave Kotaku the following statement:

"At Hi-Rez, we care about our community deeply and we take topics like suicide, depression and mental illness not lightly. All our employees are free in their opinions, but when people don't respect the values we stand for as a company, we treat it seriously.

"If any good comes from this episode, we hope it shines a light on mental illness issues, and the need for broader education, support and open conversation about how these devastating illnesses are perceived and discussed in our society. All of us have important people in our lives that have been touched by mental illness. How we talk about these diseases is important."

In response to the incident Hi-Rez Studios made a contribution to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, encouraging others to do the same.

If depression is affecting you or someone you know, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.


Comments

    Fair enough.

    I was expecting to be angered, but I understand his angle. He's hardly a therapist, so his approach could use a whole lot of work, but he's not as ignorant as most.

    I've been conditioned by swatting, and the existence of people like leafyishere, to assume that all young people on the internet need a good punch in the face.

    This guy isn't one of them.

    Last edited 21/04/16 8:17 am

      Come in expecting the same thing. While he definitely went the wrong way about it. I do kind of see what he is getting at.

      He screwed up, faced the storm and apologised. While it's time to move on, I still think it's a bit on the nose to slam people with mental health issues and then come out saying he gets irrational and has been stressed out, asking for forgiveness.

      He probably took the angry route a bit quick... he pretty much goes against his own logic when he said you have friends and people who care about you who can help, but I'm going to say you are a complete idiot and deserve everything you are suffering from if you don't understand that...

      Like, shouldn't you be someone who can help this person, in fact the person has directly said thanks for helping me. But then he bashes the person's issue. Seems like a bit of a douche.

    *Shrugs* I'm the one who usually feels like a selfish asshole when someone opens by declaring self-harm or attempted suicide, and I throw up a wall and walk away from that person, cutting all ties.

    I'm guessing that guy has some unresolved issues in the past of a loved one or with himself and is having a bad day.

    Ok yea after reading the end of the article it seems he had had a couple of big encounters with it.

    Last edited 21/04/16 8:40 am

    I've battled anxiety and depression since I was a kid, and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder recently, so I can relate to being given shitty "advice" from people who think they have it all worked out. Piling guilt on top of what the poor kid is going through is not only counterproductive, it may even reinforce their view that suicide is their only option.

    What a cunt.

    Last edited 21/04/16 8:33 am

    Isn't it as equally selfish for someone's happiness to be entirely dependent on your always being there? What if your existence is constant unhappiness? Isn't demanding they stay alive and condemning them to 75+ years of miserable existence then the ultimate in selfishness?

    We're all going to die some time, some of us would prefer to choose when. Life is mostly a series of battles with brief periods of respite between; some of us want to get off the ride early.

    Last edited 21/04/16 8:38 am

      I've had this position related to me by someone I care about before, and I still can't agree with it.

      The main reason I don't agree is because that suffering should be fixable. And when your brain in the one betraying you, you're not in the best position to judge the odds that you'll be suffering indefinitely.

      Getting help and trying to solve the problem should always be the answer. Always, always, always.

      (Edit: I understand it, I sympathize, but I also believe it's wrong.)

      Last edited 21/04/16 9:34 am

        Fully agree with this assessment. Sometimes, in rare circumstances, there are truly unsolvable cases. Issues like permanent disability of an extreme variety, terminal illness, etc, are cases where euthanasia/suicide might make sense. What doesn't make sense is "My life is shit, I have no prospects, no friends, and I feel horrible".

        Yes, that might be a very deep hole to dig yourself out of, but that's why there are things like support groups, doctors, counsellors, psychiatrists, and a whole heap of other resources to assist you. Emotional pain is never grounds for suicide in my book, and trust me, I've been through a lot of it in my own life.

        I get what you're saying, but schizophrenia is not fixable, dysphoria is not fixable, clinical depression* is not fixable, bipolar is not fixable.

        None of the mental illnesses are fixable, we are stuck with them for life. There is support, but there is no fix. It's like living with terminal cancer (minus the awful shit) - it's never going away.

        We have them for life and they will always be on our shoulder. The only real "fix" is dying.

        (* There are 'bouts' of depression and anxiety which everybody has, but true mdd will always be recurring for most people).

        Last edited 21/04/16 10:16 am

          I should clarify: the suffering should be fixable, if not the underlying cause of it. Symptoms: treated, such that there is no more suffering.

            True - but what good is that if it just comes back? It's no different than suffering massive back/leg/hip/etc injuries and being stuck in pain on opiates and lyrica and shit for the rest of your life. The type of pain is different, but they're always there whether you treat the symptoms or not.

            Some gnarlier symptoms are entirely untreatable. Schizophrenia is often very difficult to treat; most will grow 'accustomed' to their medications and require significantly long periods of tritration and trying something new. As your medication comes down in dosage, symptoms get worse, then we start the rollercoaster all over again on a different antipsychotic.

            At least chronic pain is easier to treat.

            Last edited 21/04/16 10:24 am

    I understand he reacted poorly and he understands that he did, which is great that he acknowledges that but he is essentially a public figure and should have more control over his emotions, and learn what is, and isn't appropriate to say.
    He wasn't being attacked, or abused, or insulted in any way by the person who posted the original comment, he wasn't lashing out in self defense of himself or others. Someone who clearly has some of their own personal issues was opening up to him, and thanking him for getting him through that time in his life, and his response is it attack, abuse and insult them.
    If you are in the public eye, and representing a company, you need to be more self aware and remove a lot of emotion and personal opinion in this sort of situation, a simple 'Thank You' would have sufficed, regardless of how he actually felt about it.

    I hope in the future he is able to control his emotions. I'm glad he has apologised and can move on from this and continue to stream, a mistake shouldn't ruin what he enjoys doing, he has paid enough by resigning from Hi-Rez Studios, good luck to him from here on out.

    Depression is way too complex to just decide that anyone who self harms or attempts to or succeeds in committing suicide is selfish. In a lot of cases it's brain chemistry causing the problems/feelings and things in the person's life act as a catalyst for it to all come crashing down. My Uncle and my Father have both committed suicide yet at no point have I felt that they were selfish. You don't think straight when you're depressed, you don't think about how it will impact others and even if you do then likely you'll think they just don't care or they'll be better off without you. Telling people they're being selfish is more likely to just add onto what they're already dealing with and could push them over the edge...especially if they've latched onto you as support or a coping mechanism.

    Pretty bad move. Glad he realised he was wrong, resigned and is accepting responsibility for it. It's possible he could have handled this without resigning but if he's prone to over reacting like this then being in the public spotlight isn't the best choice career wise.

    I really hope whoever donated doesn't take all this too hard.
    They clearly donated because they found past videos inspiring, and cared about showing gratitude.

    What's the saying? Never meet your heroes...

      Clearly you've never done blow with Lee Lin Chin and watched her subsequently punch on with everyone in the room. :p

      Last edited 21/04/16 12:47 pm

    This guy sounds a bit unstable himself.

    stop censoring yourselves and being too critical internet, its meant to be fun!

    Hahahaha wow. tells it like he sees it. still I don't understand why he would retire from streaming. (I didn't read the whole article.)

    Yeah, he's just another douche streamer who went on a rant and is now experiencing the consequences. This is almost par for the course.

    As someone with depression , Aspergers ( which is not a bad thing if anything its part of the reason i didn't off myself in the past) and OCD who has tried to end there life TWICE (once stopped by an mmo company when i told a friend (THANKS JAGEX) and the other a failed overdose) all i can say to this idiot is FUCK YOU to this streamer.

    Yes alot of the times problems can be dealt with and im alot happier now (still depressed and miserable) and glad i did deal with them but guess what it's fucking selfish that i had to be kept here.

    If its selfish to kill yourself because of others then you need to also accept its selfish not to let someone kill themselves just because of you and other people.

    Keeping someone alive in a life they hate that they have tried so hard to live and have success but keep coming to the point of suicide is just SELFISH.

    "But its good for them things get better"

    BULLSHIT this is not always true infact things got alot worse for me and are worse now the only reason i'm alive is my fear of death and pain and the fact that i have HOPE that in the future i will be happy.

    I'm living on a fucking hope and a dream studying and working everyday and want to die i choose not to because i have hope still but if i lose that hope or anyone does and they want to die not allowing them to is fucking selfish.

    He could of just said "Hey, thanks for watching and the donation" but instead he was a utter C%#T about it.

    Sometimes it pays to just say "I'm really sorry but I don't know enough about that to help you.. "
    You don't haft to have ALL the answers in the world!

    Last edited 21/04/16 7:13 pm

    Brilliant work done, Nice.

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