Turner Ellis Tenney, known as Tfue on Twitch and as a competitive player of Fortnite, has announced that he will be taking a break from streaming. In a burst of three short tweets, Turner stated that despite having everything he could ask for in life, he feels trapped and unhappy.
Turner has been in the spotlight throughout this passed year, but not always for reasons that one would want as a streamer. Certainly, he appears often for his Fortnite streams, collaborations with other players, and competitive events. In addition, however, there have been some downsides as well, such as when Turner declared that FaZe Clan had locked him into a contract that was terribly one-sided and unfair, with both sides going back and forth for months with no clear resolution.
Turner also qualified for the first Fortnite World Cup Championship, but was considered to have under performed, placing 67th overall among the 100 participants. Under performance is relative of course, as securing such a position in one of the most popular games in the world is no small feat, and there are more than 250 million registered accounts. Still, critics did not shy away from describing his performance overall as underwhelming.
Recently Turner joined the long list of streamers to allegedly use a racial slur while streaming Minecraft, and then seems to have received preferential treatment by the Twitch moderation team, which is well known for its inconsistent disciplinary action, especially when it comes to popular streamers that bring in a large number of viewers.
Part of his decision may be due to the frustration expressed by Turner following a small falling out with fellow gaming partners Dennis "cloakzy" Lepore and Thomas "72hrs" Mulligan. The three often practice together in Fortnite but were offered the opportunity to stream the latest Madden game in exchange for sponsorship. Turner rejected the deal presumably with the assumption that his partners would as well, but instead they both signed on. Turner stated on the matter, "So now I'm out of over $140,000 because I thought we were going to practice, and now I'm here."
To casual observers, all the events described above may seem like a mountain of activity, and they would be correct in thinking that. The pressure that can build upon mental health to be a top competitor in a game with millions of players vying for a top spot, while also constantly hustling and selling oneself as an entertainer on Twitch, while also navigating legal contracts with esports organizations, and everything in between, is enough to drag even the strongest-willed individuals down after a while.
The struggles of working to maintain a well-known and relevant online persona on platforms like Twitch or YouTube can be exhausting, and the effects can be detrimental to mental health. Recently, Laina Morris announced that she would be quitting YouTube amid her own struggles with mental health. She is best known for embracing the “overly attached girlfriend” meme, and she spoke candidly about the struggles associated with a never-ending demand for more and more content.
The culmination of such problems can lead to tragedy as well, as seen with Desmond Amofah, known on YouTube as Etika. He posted an emotional video that described his own deteriorating mental health and is presumed to have jumped from the Manhattan Bridge, as his body was found five days after his disappearance in the East River.
Turner’s decision to stop streaming for now is not only a healthy decision, it should be the norm among all streamers. However, this is all but impossible in most cases, since views and subscriptions are what provide them with compensation, and these dry up quickly if one is not producing content all of the time.