Streamer Félix Lengyel, better-known as xQc, has been for several years the most-watched personality on Twitch and, according to last year's Twitch leak, is the highest-paid star on the service. He's raked in an estimated $8 million since 2019, and is open about the fact that he's spent a lot of it gambling—a few weeks ago he boasted of losing $2 million in a month, an amount so mind-blowing that his own dad called him live on-stream to remonstrate (opens in new tab).
On his most recent stream, xQc spent a lot of time watching the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial, watching TikToks, playing Clash Royale, and then ended by gambling real money on online slot machines. A minor controversy began in chat about whether he had appropriately tagged this as sponsored content with '#ad', and arguments began happening about whether he should be gambling on stream and in particular whether he should be taking money to do it.
This eventually raised xQc's ire and he began to argue back, first on the stream itself and later in stream chat. Important context for this is that xQc has in the past faced serious backlash for streaming gambling, and at one point apologised and said he wouldn't do so again—so some accuse him of hypocrisy.
"I don't really give a fuck," said Lengyel. "The reality is people are a bunch of hypocrites when they say stuff like that [...] Everybody threw us all under the bus when the chips were down, and everybody turned on us. Everyone was a bunch of bitches. But when some other streamers did it, everybody flipped and said, 'oh dude, if I had that much money, I would do it too! I respect this guy!'"
xQc continues for a few minutes in this vein, before explaining his decision to promote gambling again. "You know what, at the end of the day I was like—'I love gambling, so I’m just going to gamble.'”
xQc further elaborated on his stance after the stream in Twitch chat. I've tweaked some spellings and punctuation for clarity, a screenshot of the original post is embedded below.
"Everyday it's a new complaint, a new problem. People get so mad at me for doing Toreba [a mobile crane game] for content in a content drought. I'm not a hypocrite, I literally changed perspective and voiced that very clearly over the last months. I'm not here to be a role model, I'm here to have some fun, so I'll do [it] until it becomes boring.
"'I won't watch anymore'—OK, turn the computer off and go speak with your parents and peers if you want a role model for your moral compass. 'That hurt me'—if you are genuinely hurt by a broadcaster doing something on their own that doesn't involve you, you probably shouldn't be watching streams."
xQc says that the content was appropriately marked with '#ad' and that "if you push misinfo you will get smoked" and bemoans peoples' "sense of misplaced morality."
"Making fun of me being addicted like it's a joke," writes xQc. "Memes flying around, public opinion clowning me for it. The minute it reflects back on them, now it's time to find victims and cry wolf. Backwards-ass people thinking that an idiot aiming to entertain (me) rips away all free will from vulnerable individuals. Get a grip of your own life before fixing mine.
"I apologised because people led me to believe there was a problem. I was wrong, there isn't any problem. Sorry for apologising."
This has somewhat predictably started an argument among xQc's huge following, which is currently playing out in his official discord, subreddit, and on social media. Some think the star is in the right and can do what he likes. Some just say 'money talks' and that's the end of it. Others are concerned about the extent of his addiction and whether they're watching someone live-stream their own decline. And then part of his audience would point out that xQc's fame makes him a role model, whether he likes it or not.
"Why would I take gamba complaint more seriously than mobile game complain threads?" writes xQc, before ending with an overly dramatic flourish. "Like I said, no opinions will be supressed except for legitimate misinformation like the # thing. '2022 xQc despair mobile game trash content'. U wanna see despair? I'll show u despair."
xQc is currently live and watching the Depp vs Heard trial, and hasn't yet streamed any gambling. Doubtless he will though, and seems to be adopting a defiant and hardline stance against any criticism. This one is going to run and run but, either way, Twitch's biggest face bragging about gambling is not a great look.