I’m a bit late on this but Duncan “Thorin” Shields just had a huge meltdown on Twitter and it’s hilarious. Since fireworks are forbidden over here, I figured it’d be a great fire to comment on near the end of the year. Thorin is someone I’ve never heard about until now, mainly because I’m not that into E-Sports. Apparently, he’s a bigshot in the community of E-Sports and, as it turns out, he’s also a misogynist. Sparked by a discussion around ESL’s new CSGO Women’s Circuit, a Women-only league of sorts, both Thorin and Semmler sparked controversy with their shitty takes on the matter. Instead of leaving it, they started to dig their graves further by doubling down on the hill of shitty takes that they decided to die on.
Thorin’s thread can be found here, btw, if you still don’t know what I’m talking about. I only found out about it today, so… you didn’t miss much, I wanna say, but it’s kind of hilarious how much the whole esports thing went to Thorin’s head. It all started with him enacting a bunch of conversations and essentially free-styling some quotes to exaggerate “a bit”. Eventually, though, it turned into this thread that resembled the ramblings of a mad man. Eventually, Thorin started calling out and blocking people, insulting everyone, and eventually, it turned into him “insulting” people as “feminists” and declaring himself a “misogynist”. Given that he’s 38 years old, I’d think he’d know what a misogynist is and that it’s not the most flattering trait to have but… here we are!
Now, you can follow the thread or not but I just wanted to give my thoughts on this because this whole thing is really problematic because of a plethora of factors. For starters, him declaring that he himself “[is] esports” and that we all are just “peons” is incredibly weird – but hey, we already established that he sounds like a madman. The issue here is that he puts him on one side and feminists on the other side. It wasn’t about sides or feminism or anything. In fact, when this whole discussion started, it was about toxicity – and women – in E-Sports. Thorin makes this about “woke-ness” and “feminism” when that really isn’t the point. According to the thread in question, “feminism” is bad, “feminists” are an insult, male feminists are “future sex offenders”, and everyone that disagrees with Thorin apparently has lingering resentment against men because of their father/ex-boyfriend/brother/etc. It’s based on stupid stereotypes, which is somewhat ironic because Thorin essentially re-inforces the stereotype of an incel.
Now, feminism itself is “just” “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes” and I wouldn’t know why Thorin is so opposed to that idea. Everyone that is a feminist is in support of that ideal. Modern-day feminism obviously differs from this initial idea in some ways due to the groundwork laid by previous generations but again, the idea shouldn’t be opposed this much. Thorin places himself directly on the other side of this “for the memes”, I guess? It’s either him or the feminists. It’s either him or equality. It’s either him or women. In one tweet, he even used “#JustMisogynistThings” to further enforce the idea that he hates women and I just don’t get why he wants to die on that hill. The reason why equality is important is that all humans should be equal but not all are treated equally.
In the case of esports, women are often not finding a place in teams because management is too lazy to build the infrastructure for that. Players often have to move into a house where they train all day – and since most players are male, women would need extra changing rooms, extra bathrooms, extra bedrooms, etc. On top of that, romance is a factor apparently. All of this is stuff I heard in interviews when the question arose btw and it’s bullshit but whatever. Sure, there are women in esports but most teams consist of mostly male players. An All-Women’s League would circumvent the problem by giving very good female players a stage where they could get scouted from – and on top of that, people would see that female players are as good as male players. Now, I don’t know if this is *the* solution but if you don’t like it, don’t watch it. We live in a free society and nobody will torture someone that hates women by forcing them to watch it… and Thorin won’t anymore have to worry about potentially having to cast these games, anyway.
Thorin, after all, is a self-proclaimed misogynist. He put the label upon himself and started insulting others because he chose that hill and he’ll stay there for the rest of his life. Chances are that people will just forget about it in a matter of weeks but I doubt that he’ll get many contracts in the future as a host. What I find troubling is that this person has a huge platform with (at the time of me writing this) 208,9K followers on Twitter. That’s a huge platform. Chances are that a lot of people just didn’t see this yet or that he even gained followers through this whole thing. Most likely, people won’t care about his weird meltdown here as it’s not relevant to his career — but it is. He’s actively working against an attempt of “establishing an inclusive gaming community free of discrimination, verbal abuse and bullying”. It doesn’t matter what he calls himself but he’s essentially trying to rally against the idea of women in e-sports… for no apparent reason. Even if this whole ordeal is idiotic by him, it could be another stepping stone for more equality in esports and in the gaming industry and I just don’t think that’s good. I very much dislike how he uses “feminist” as an insult and how he tries to build himself up as the founding father of e-sports. I’m not sure what his relevancy was like before this meltdown on Twitter but hey, even I’m writing about this, so I’m sure more people will have eyes on him now.
What I’m trying to say is that “cancel culture” won’t do shit in this case as he’s now trying to compare his “evil” to Riot Games’ “bigger evil” to make it seem even? I don’t know, it’s a weird point to make, to be honest, and in a way, putting himself as a misogynist on the same stage as a company known for many years of sexism, bigotry and bullying is… weird? I don’t get what the strategy behind that is supposed to be. Him screenshotting random people and him playing himself up against others is silly. His attempts at bullying random people are stupid. I don’t want to come off as an ageist but I would’ve expected a 38-year-old man to be more grown-up than this. Screaming “I AM ESPORTS” at the end of some incredibly tasteless and bigoted rant is only working against him here. I don’t know where it went wrong with Thorin and I frankly hope that I’ll never understand because… do I, a mere “peon”, really wanna understand what a madman is thinking? In the end, Thorin presented himself as someone that is so much better than us and who stands above us all… and maybe we’re just not progressive enough to understand why being a sexist asshat is a good thing. Maybe I got it all wrong. Who knows?