Deadmau5: act your age, not your shoe size.
Canadian DJ Joel Zimmerman, more commonly known as Deadmau5 (pronounced “dead mouse”) announced that he will quit using Twitch after getting temporarily suspended over using a homophobic slur during a livestream.
In the live stream, Zimmerman was playing battle royal game PUBG. Out of frustration over another player stream sniping — revealing his location in the game — Zimmerman used vulgar language and called him a homophobic slur. After being temporarily banned, he made a now-deleted Reddit post saying that he was “not going to stand for twitch’s double standard when it comes to censoring and suspending me... While we’ve had some fun partnerships here and there... im gunna have to cut this one short.”
Furthermore, he did not apologize for his choice of language. Instead, he said he was “sorry that we live in a world” where people on the Internet can sit around waiting for an opportunity to “get a few... clicks” by reporting something edgy. He claims that “sane people who knew what it was in the heat of the moment knew the purpose of the statement.” Zimmerman also justified his behavior by saying that he was directing his insult at the player, not “at an entire group of people who have a sexual orientation that differs from my own.”
Ironically, he added that he didn’t need to defend himself with an “’IM NOT THAT PERSON, I AM SORRY’ reflex,” yet that seems to have been the message of his post.
This is not the first time Zimmerman has used online anti-LGBTQ language. Just this past October, he insulted a SoundCloud musician by saying that he would bet that he engaged in homosexual behavior. When called out, he joked that “women don’t possess penises. You’ll find out when you’re older.” Activist and author Amanda Jette Knox tweeted her disappointment, saying that “we took our trans daughter to his concert in Montreal for her birthday. She’s been a huge fan.” Zimmerman replied with a sorry excuse of an apology: “i wasnt trying to make blatant transphobic statements, just got into a heated arguement [sic] with some dude online said something dumb and the internet took it way into somewhere unintended. I’ve since deleted the tweets, im not that kind of person. my apologies.”
The LGBTQ community is not the only demographic that Zimmerman has used derogatory language against. The same week when he cracked homophobic and transphobic jokes on Twitter, Zimmerman called a song he heard by Julian Scanlan — known as Slushii —”AIDS music” and “autistic s**t” during a gaming stream. Scanlan posted, in a now-deleted Tweet, that “as someone who’s actually on the autism spectrum, this is really disappointing.” Long-time fans generally know that Zimmerman did not mean to insult Scanlan in that manner and probably did not even know Scanlan was on the spectrum. But one would hope that Zimmerman learned better than to use such crude language.
This led to Zimmerman posting that he needed to seek professional help for mental health challenges that he had “wrestled with for the past several years... and I will be going off the radar and taking the time necessary to work on myself.” A month later, he updated that he was “on the right track and... feeling better” to the extent that he was doing shows in Europe later that month. Still, he was giving “the team at mau5trap my socials to get you info on touring and stuff” rather than handling social media himself. Still, he continues his Twitter hiatus and a member of his team controls his account.
Do I think Zimmerman has malicious intentions to hurt members of the LGBTQ community or those on the autism spectrum? No. His lack of filter and distasteful language is more than likely a sign of immaturity. Seeing the types of controversies he traps himself in makes him appear as though he would fit right in with the average 11-year-old playing Call of Duty while devouring Mountain Dew and Doritos. Until then, we can hope that he learns that his language carries more meaning than he realizes.