Jake Lucky, Hunter Grooms Bring Their Pseudo-Journalism to Twitch's Latest Sordid Story
As the Amazon-owned platform permanently bans one of its most-watched and followed streamers, the industry's two most notable flacks are predictably at the center of the coverage.
On Monday, Amazon-owned streaming platform Twitch permanently banned one of its most-watched and followed streamers. After streaming pornography on competing platform Kick and then showing racist messages from his chat on that platform on Twitch, Adin Ross’ time on the platform came to an unceremonious end.
Over the past two days, Ross has been the focal point of the creator economy news cycle.
On Sunday, a Twitter account by the name Miller Ross claimed to be Adin's half-brother and tweeted about how their family had been torn apart by Adin’s behavior after an encounter—and later mentorship—by admitted misogynist influencer Andrew Tate, who is currently in jail, charged with human trafficking in Romania. At 22, an impressionable Ross has become the de facto messenger for a younger generation of Tate’s ideals: that women are “dishwashers” and that “there are only two genders,” among other hateful dogmas.
At the center of covering Twitch’s biggest story in recent memory, though, are two pseudo-journalists: Jake Lucky and Hunter Grooms, formerly employees of gaming news channel Esports Talk. Among the most influential reporters on the gaming and creator beat, although they do not describe themselves that way, Lucky has been live tweeting the developments of the Ross scandal. On Monday, Twitter suspended Miller Ross’ account, which Grooms passionately reported proved impersonation—before backtracking when questioned by another influencer.
To put it simply: The coverage from Lucky and Grooms on the Ross situation has been abysmal.
Many of my colleagues in the gaming reporting space tilt at Lucky, I’d speculate partly from envy given his profile and the incomparable access he has to some of the most high-profile creators in the budding creator economy. There are critiques, though, that are valid: Lucky and Grooms frequently hip-fire reports on Twitter haphazardly, from posting the web address for and only slightly obscuring deepfake porn of some of the female influencers they cover, to calling out other credible reporters on their investigative stories about people they seemingly have a business relationship with.
The Jacob Wolf Report is a reader-supported venture. Free and paid versions are available. The best way to support us here is by taking out a paid subscription.
To give Lucky, and Grooms to a lesser extent, some credit: They go to where the audience is. Their engagement on Twitter, in particular, versus the other people covering gaming and esports—or creators, where there are very few reporters even on the beat—is enormous. Twitter, though, does not equal dollars. And it certainly does not lend itself to tactful reporting.
Lucky is at times given unnecessary flack.
When he covered a series of scandals from teenage creator Darren “IShowSpeed” Watkins Jr., including him berating a woman in a “VALORANT” game in a misogynistic manner, or him receiving a virtual blowjob in “Minecraft” on stream, Lucky became the victim of a dogpile that included death threats. More recently, when covering Ross in the past week, Lucky received a message from Ross himself, saying “Keep Yourself Safe,” text aligned to say “KYS” — or in gamer speech, “Kill Yourself.”
But here’s the problem: Lucky is now hosting an interview with Ross on Ross’s channel. Rather than hold Ross accountable on his own platform, Lucky is going to Ross and letting Ross dictate the conversation, what got him in trouble in the first place.
I don’t always attribute Lucky or Grooms’ frequently angering behavior necessarily to malice. Neither are surrounded or supported by capital-J journalists in the current organizations or previous employer.
It’s part of why, in March 2021, Grooms helmed a piece on Esports Talk using an out-of-context clip of veteran esports journalist Richard Lewis drunkenly getting angry on a podcast in 2020 after the death of his roommate and his best friend. Since Lewis has said he was suicidal, was drinking and taking sleeping pills together, and admitted he acted out of turn. Grooms, though, used that clip to try to smear Lewis on a completely unrelated topic more than a year later.
But Lucky, in particular, has been confronted publicly and privately by tenured and respected journalists in gaming—and rather than listen to their critiques and improve, he ignores them and continues to make the same mistakes over and over again.
Some saving grace is that Lucky and Grooms’ platform where it matters is much, much smaller than it was at Esports Talk. Grooms is currently unemployed, after the Stan Kroenke-backed esports team The Guard laid off the majority of its staff on Feb. 22. His job at The Guard did not include his unofficial duties of Twitter journalist. And for Lucky, his channel, Full Squad Gaming—backed by venture capital money invested in the esports team NRG—struggles to get 2,000 views per video on YouTube in any given day, despite more than 100,000 subscribers.
Thank you for reading The Jacob Wolf Report. This post is public so feel free to share it.
Lucky and Grooms’ perceived relevance comes from Twitter, where, combined, the two hold more than 415,000 followers, Lucky the bulk of that number. Lucky has become a hit on LinkedIn, too, the platform pervasively known for grifters who move trend to trend, with no real insight or grasp on the industries they exclaim to be experts on. LinkedIn is a perfect place for Lucky, whose primary content is reposting clips or descriptions from Reddit and the dozens of people who send him random news.
Lucky and Grooms’ content is not relevant, helpful or meaningful to the larger, growing audience, though—the gamers and creator superfans who consume the original content in the hundreds of millions and are the core demographic desired for media advertising. That audience already consumes the clips Lucky and Grooms are sharing from the source, be it on Twitch or YouTube or the reposts on Reddit.
Instead, the audience wants to hear commentary, analysis or what’s commonly known in journalism as the “second-day story.” Content creators like Ludwig Ahgren, Hasan Piker, Charlie “MoistCr1TiKaL” White, Devin Nash and Brandon “Atrioc” Ewing, before the aforementioned despicable deepfake porn scandal, offer precisely that. And most of the time the analysis is educated and on the money. That reaps that group hundreds of millions of viewers on YouTube, versus Lucky’s just few thousand.
Lucky’s brand of “journalism”—although he avoids that word intentionally—therefore doesn’t generate significant revenue. The Twitter and LinkedIn numbers look nice, and you bet your ass NRG’s CEO is bragging about them while The Guard and the rest of the esports industry is melting down in real time, but they do not matter. Revenue is important. Drama reporting on Twitter doesn’t work.