SMITE caster departs Hi-Rez after live rant on formerly suicidal donor

Let’s imagine that you’re a studio-funded caster for a major MOBA. A fan joins your stream, donates $5, and tells you that he was suicidal but your streams helped save him. What do you do?

You probably don’t go on a tear telling your fan he’s a a selfish, terrible asshole who needs to learn how to deal with depression properly and that he — and everyone who disagrees — should go watch some other streamer, which is basically what Hi-Rez’s DMBrandon did on a SMITE stream earlier this week, landing him a nice big Reddit thread with a few thousand angry comments and a hefty helping of community outrage.

According to DMBrandon’s own tweet, he subsequently left Hi-Rez, saying “the stress levels of trying to juggle [his] lifestyle” had led him to screw up on air.

Hi-Rez president Stewart Chisam says his company subsequently made a contribution to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; he issued a statement to Eurogamer:

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.

Source: Reddit. Thanks, Cramit!
Update: In a second post, DMBrandon further apologizes and explains his reaction is partly related to his own feelings about his family and his sister’s murder.

“The video that got shorter, and the rant I was on that got cut off and lost context showed me saying something awful. I seriously can not apologize enough for it, and I feel terrible. I stepped down form hirez because I realized that my lack of self control reflects badly on too many hard working people and I didn’t want to be a burden. That rant, at the end, said plainly: I did not save your life. Music, movies, no form of entertainment saved you. If I help you get over something deep, it’s a distraction. I, personally, am not helping you. Because you would have found something to get you through what is hurting you. You want to keep going, and it’s yourself you owe the credit for every victory you have. If you find help in your bad states, it’s still you who sought it, and you who wanted it most. And I love you for that. Depression is not something that defines you. It’s something that impacts you, and hurts you, but it isn’t you. You’re you.

“At the end of the day, there are people who need you. Even if they don’t like you. Even if it seems you’d be lifting a burden on them. I have seen what it looks like when a person leaves. It kills more than just you. It changes everyone around you, and rarely for the better.

“I am humbled and changed by the hate you’ve sent me. As a person in the limelight with so many secrets, it’s hard sometimes to be honest. And I bottle and I bottle and eventually I say stupid shit. Whether it’s to a kid who wanted to share with me, or a bunch of teens who were just trying to get a rise out of me, or even a friend whose attempting to make me chill out because they know why I’m being so fucking stupid. I’m sorry for letting it eat me alive to the point where I snap. None of you deserve my anger. No one does.


“I’m not a tv show character. Those words you say to me, they hit me. And I understand that’s hypocritical, with the way I act sometimes. But please know that I repent. Regularly. And not just when I get yelled at for it. I’m actually a really quiet person when the camera is off. I’m afraid and I’m scared all the time. And I’m absolutely the positive that people will use this to hurt me. But I’m okay with that. Because I’d rather give the people more ammunition to hurt me than be known as a person who truly meant to hurt someone. I’d rather have my life put on display like a fucking Kardashian than allow you to think that I could possibly mean I’d want anyone to come to harm.

“I’ve said it. It’s all I can do now for now. I definitely don’t know enough about mental illnesses and disorders. I figured by leading my life as I have, with so much hurt around me, I was pretty knowledgeable. But my experiences barely scratch the surface. I’m going to educate myself more on the topic, and I will do my best not to talk about it until I know a ton more. I tell people a lot that they shouldn’t have an opinion on something unless they understand it. On this point, I was the ignorant one.

“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.”

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