Being controversial online has always been a lucrative way to brand yourself, and Adin Ross is taking it to a new level.
Ross has had one hell of a controversial transformation. Once one of Twitch’s fastest-rising streamers, he amassed over 7 million followers on the platform and streamed with some of the biggest rappers in the game, including Lil Yachty and Tory Lanez.
But after getting permanently banned from Twitch for what the platform called “unmoderated hateful conduct” in early March, his desire to consistently push the “edgy” envelope with misogyny and transphobia and his obsession with the ideology of Andrew Tate caused his star to plummet. De-platformed and without Twitch’s terms of service to abide by, Ross seems to be going even more extreme with his stunts and antics.
Siloed off to controversial streaming platform Kick, Ross has been allowed to milk his audience of tens of thousands of viewers for content. According to SportsKeeda, he reportedly encouraged one viewer to throw urine on a family member, and he joked to another about paying the viewer $20,000 to slit their brother’s throat.
In a statement, Kick told Passionfruit, “Kick is currently in Beta and our moderation scales each day. Adin makes the necessary adjustments after fruitful human to human discussions.” When asked what “adjustments” Ross made, Kick declined to further clarify its remarks.
“One of the main things about Adin Ross is simply the size of his platform and his ability to garner a lot of attention from the gaming press,” Madeline Peltz, deputy director of Rapid Response at Media Matters for America told Passionfruit. “His move from Twitch to this platform Kick and all of the attention that has garnered speaks to the influence that he has.”
Media Matters is a political watchdog group working to combat the rise of conservative misinformation online. Peltz has studied the right-wing men’s rights space, covering its rise over the past half-decade.
Ross started streaming in 2019, playing the NBA 2K series to a relatively small audience. But in 2020, with more viewers flocking to Twitch than ever before due to the isolation of the pandemic, his channel gained footing. He started making cash wagers on games with other creators, eventually playing alongside stars like Lebron James’ son Bronny.
When NBA 2K21, the next game in the NBA series, was poorly received by the community, Ross pivoted his content to e-dating streams, where he brought on his friends to try and win dates with women, and collaborations with famous hip-hop personalities. This built up his audience and by the end of 2020, he was averaging around 16,000 viewers a stream, according to TwitchTracker.
“A lot of people got stuck inside during the pandemic and were looking for social connections with other people, and a lot of young people found that on Twitch,” Jacob Wolf, who hosts the Visionaries podcast that interviews influencers and those in the digital culture space, told Passionfruit. “Adin benefited, he had a unique and different voice that has spiraled downward to being a hateful voice.”
Ross’s content and online personality shifted after being introduced to controversial misogynist Andrew Tate. After their first meeting on Discord in July 2022, Tate would often appear on Adin’s streams, spouting self-help advice and pushing Tate’s outdated and offensive views on women.
On Tate’s first live stream with Ross in July 2022, Tate said that “in general, on average, females are not as good at driving as men.”
“You’re living amongst the crack heads dodging human excrement to get into your Penthouse and find some female who’s absolutely not only promiscuous but who’s happy to just be used and defiled because for some reason she seems to think that’s the answer to something,” Tate said on a November live stream with Ross.
Tate also encouraged Ross to have “four wives” since they “wouldn’t cheat on you, they’d cook for you, they’d look after you,. They wouldn’t have OnlyFans.”
In December 2022, Ross flew to Dubai to visit Tate. “Real Gs don’t get rid of chicks, they keep them on the back burner, like the garden art with my cars,” Tate said on a live stream of the visit while the pair played chess. Tate was shortly thereafter arrested in Romania on Dec. 22, 2022, on charges of human trafficking and sexual assault.
Even after the arrest, Ross would soon become one of Tate’s top acolytes, even going so far as to shave his head to look like the “Top G,” a nickname Tate gave himself which he said on his podcast means “capable in all realms.”
Ross would continue to support Tate, tweeting that President Joe Biden should “go ahead and pardon Andrew Tate.” Tate returned the public support, tweeting that Ross would be the only non-family member added to his visitation form.
Other streamers spoke out against Ross for his Tate admiration. Twitch streamer Felix “xQc” Lengyel said Ross is “emulating Tate,” and it’s a “really unhealthy rabbit hole to go down.” Political commentator and streamer Hasan Piker said on stream that Ross “is just going to get banned from everything, and he needs to save himself.”
Passionfruit reached out to Adin Ross, Andrew Tate, Felix Lengyl, and Hasan Piker for comment via email and did not hear back in time for the publication of this article.
Over the past two months, Ross’ content has only continued to get more vitriolic and transphobic. Parroting many of Tate’s views, he tweeted “there are only 2 genders” and that “men can’t get pregnant” to his 2.1 million followers. He also started streaming on Kick, a live-streaming platform with crypto gambling site Stake’s owner as an investor.
“We can do whatever the fuck we want,” Ross said on a Feb. 12 Twitch stream about Kick. “There are no terms of service there, you can say whatever you want in my chat, and nobody can get fucking banned.”
Ross started co-streaming on Twitch and Kick in mid-February but was banned from Twitch indefinitely on Feb. 24 for what the platform called “unmoderated Hateful Conduct in chat.” The eighth ban for the streamer came after he had kept his Kick chat open on his screen for at least 20 minutes, which was full of antisemitic and racist comments, according to Dexerto.
Kick does have terms of service that prohibit “hate speech” and “objectionable content,” but it’s unclear how enforced the policies are. On Feb. 14, Ross streamed the Super Bowl on Kick to over 100,000 people—and streamed porn a few days later. Streaming “sexually suggestive content” as well as copyrighted content is also prohibited in the terms of service.
It’s unclear how much Kick paid Ross to stream on their platform, but he claimed on a Feb. 28 live stream interview with YouTuber Jake Lucky that he “signed the biggest streaming deal of any creator of all time.”
Being controversial online has always been a lucrative way to brand yourself, especially in the gaming space. Generations of the internet’s earliest users dredged through slurs and hate speech in Xbox multiplayer game lobbies and online forums. Gaming has also been predominantly marketed at young men, even though women make up almost half of the gaming market, according to Statista.
Tate, for example, managed to mobilize this audience in part due to Ross’ constant collaborations. Before Tate was arrested, his Hustler’s University program that promised users they can “escape the matrix” and make millions of dollars amassed over 200,000 users paying $50 a month.
“They’re trying to not only build an audience of young men but also monetize and capitalize on such a following, one of the ways that they can make that happen is through topics like relationships and fitness and self-improvement,” Peltz said.
Marketers and streamers have figured out how to appeal to these isolated young men to make a profit. Ross is here to push the envelope and create controversy to build up his views and capital. On a March 18 stream, while criticizing Piker, Ross said, “Fuck fame, it’s all about the money.”
In this internet-heavy world, where all it takes is one personality to introduce hate speech to a young viewer, the stakes are so much higher.
But Ross is also cultivating an audience of trolls and edge lords that want to see him suffer. On a March 2023 stream, Ross clicked on a seemingly innocuous video that was edited by a fan that showed a nude picture of Ross’ sister from her OnlyFans. “I’m not even joking, that shit is just too far,” he said.
“If these influencers can post something online, it goes viral and accelerates faster than ever in the history of humanity,” Peltz said. “The scale at which this information is being shared, re-posted, and reaching a massive audience with billions of impressions is happening faster than ever before.”