Destiny
Bonnell in January 2022
Personal information
BornSteven Kenneth Bonnell II
(1988-12-12) December 12, 1988 (age 33)
Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
NationalityAmerican
OccupationTwitch streamer/YouTuber
Partner(s)
Melina Göransson
(m. 2021)
Websitedestiny.gg
Twitch information
Channel
Years active2011–present
Genre
Games
Followers691,000
Total views113 million
Associated acts
YouTube information
Channel
GenrePolitics/Gaming
Subscribers400,000[1]
Total views242.2 million[1]
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg 100,000 subscribers March 2018

Updated: December 23, 2021
Destiny's voice (1:34) in an online debate in March 2021

Steven Kenneth Bonnell II (born December 12, 1988), known online as Destiny, is an American Twitch streamer, political commentator, and YouTube personality. He was among the first people to stream video games online full-time and received attention as a pioneer of the industry.[2] Since 2016 he has gained further attention for live-streaming political debates with other online personalities, in which he advocates for liberal politics.[3][4][5]

Early life

Steven Kenneth Bonnell II was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on December 12th, 1988, to a Cuban-American mother and American father.[4] He was raised in a conservative Catholic home in Omaha, Nebraska, where he attended Creighton Preparatory School—a private, Jesuit high school for boys.[5] When he was a pre-teen, his mother's home day care business collapsed, and his family's home was foreclosed.[5] A few years later his parents moved to take care of an aging relative, after which he lived with his grandmother until he was 18.[4]

In 2007, Bonnell enrolled at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, where he studied music while working night shifts as a restaurant manager at a casino. Ultimately unable to juggle both his education and full-time work, Bonnell dropped out of college in 2010. Soon after, he was fired from his restaurant position, and found work as a carpet cleaner.[4][6][7]

Career

In 2011, Bonnell quit his job as a carpet cleaner to stream video games full-time. Streaming his Starcraft II matches on Justin.tv (which later merged with Twitch), he was immediately financially successful.[2][5][8] In October of that year, Bonnell joined professional team Quantic Gaming and placed 4th in the 2011 MLG Global North American invitational.[3] During his years as a Starcraft II streamer, Bonnell was known for his abrasive and confrontational style, including use of threats and pejoratives against other players for shock humor.[2] Bonnell identified as a libertarian during this era, but his politics began shifting toward liberalism after an incident in which he heard another streamer call a gay person a "fucking faggot."[4][5]

Starting in 2016, Bonnell has gained attention for live-streaming political debates with other internet personalities. Subsequent journalistic and academic coverage of right-wing YouTube commentary has credited Bonnell as an early and effective opposition to it, particularly owing to his provocative, combative debate style which appeals to right-wing gaming audiences.[4][5][9][10][11][12] Bonnell himself has stated that his intention is not to persuade their opponents, but to persuade the audience; although he has expressed that airing his opinions often feels "like screaming into the void," he estimates he has received hundreds of emails from former members of the alt-right crediting him for their conversion to left-wing politics.[4][5] In 2019, Bonnell began debating in favor of capitalism against socialists and communists.[4]

Bonnell debated popular YouTuber Jon Jafari, better known as JonTron, on immigration and assimilation in March 2017, after Jafari tweeted in support of anti-immigration statements by Republican congressman Steve King. In his debate with Bonnell, Jafari's statements concerning race, crime, and immigration were seen as controversial by viewers, and the subsequent backlash garnered media attention.[13][14][15][16]

In November 2018, Bonnell and fellow streamer Trihex (Mychal Ramon Jefferson) premiered a political commentary collaboration, The DT Podcast. The podcast streamed its final episode in October 2019, during which Jefferson confronted Bonnell regarding statements the latter had made defending his use of racial slurs in private.[5][17]

Bonnell was notified in September 2020 that his Twitch partnership agreement would be terminated the following month for "encouragement of violence." The termination came as a result of comments made on-stream after the Kenosha unrest shooting, in which Bonnell expressed opposition to riots at the George Floyd protests. Bonnell said that "the rioting needs to fucking stop, and if that means like white redneck fucking militia dudes out there mowing down dipshit protesters that think that they can torch buildings at ten p.m., then at this point they have my fucking blessing...”[18][19] Bonnell later clarified this point, saying Kyle Rittenhouse was clearly misguided but that his frustration was with rioters who Bonnell believed would scare people into voting in Donald Trump again.[20]

As of December 2020, Bonnell streams simultaneously on Twitch and YouTube.

On April 29, 2021, Bonnell was temporarily banned from Twitch after a guest showed a sexually explicit picture of Hunter Biden and two women on stream.[21]

In November 2021, Bonnell received criticism for promoting non-fungible tokens on a sponsored stream days after stating “Every single person on the internet that is pushing NFTs is just trying to find a bigger sucker. That’s it. That’s all it is. Every one of them. Basically scammers.”[22]

Political views and activism

Bonnell has variously described himself as "a very big social democrat",[5] a "hardcore capitalist" and "classical liberal",[23] a "rule utilitarian",[24] and an "agnostic atheist".[25] He has argued against white nationalism and fascism,[26][27][28] and socialism and communism.[29][30][31][32][non-primary source needed] He has cited his poverty during his teenage and college-aged years as an influence on his views, and prefers to argue based on empirical data rather than moral suasion.[5]

In 2020, Bonnell supported the general election campaign of Joe Biden.[33] Following Biden's victory, Bonnell led a canvassing operation with his viewers in support of Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in the 2020-21 Georgia Senate runoffs.[34][35]

Bonnell led another canvassing operation in support of Mark Gudgel for the 2021 Omaha mayoral election.[36] On March 3, 2021, Gudgel officially cut ties with Bonnell over the latter's statements regarding riots at the George Floyd protests. In a statement addressing the change, Gudgel said that "Bonnell’s incitement of violence runs contrary to everything I believe and have dedicated my career to as a public servant and educator over the past 17 years."[37]

Personal life

Bonnell is of Cuban-American descent on his mother's side, and his son (via an ex-partner) lives in Nebraska.[4][5] Bonnell moved to Glendale, California in December 2018, then to Culver City and again to Huntington Beach. He currently resides in Miami, Florida.[5][citation needed]

He is bisexual and is currently in an open marriage with Swedish streamer, Melina Göransson.[5][38][39] Bonnell and Göransson married in December 2021.[40]

Having studied music in college at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, he plays multiple instruments including the keyboard and guitar.[41]

References

  1. ^ a b "About Destiny". YouTube.
  2. ^ a b c McCormick, Rich (August 26, 2014). "This is why people want to watch other people play video games". The Verge. Archived from the original on June 28, 2020. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Steven "Destiny" Bonnell joins Quantic Gaming". www.gamasutra.com. Archived from the original on June 28, 2020. Retrieved April 16, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Quirk, Trevor (January 15, 2020). "Can This Notorious Troll Turn People Away From Extremism?". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Archived from the original on June 28, 2020. Retrieved April 16, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Breland, Ali (April 1, 2020). "Steve Bonnell Made Big Bucks Following a Simple Plan: Play Video Games. Troll Your Fans. Fight the Online Right". Mother Jones. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  6. ^ Bonnell, Steve (March 17, 2013). "My Journey In Streaming". Destiny. Archived from the original on June 28, 2020. Retrieved April 16, 2020.
  7. ^ Destiny (May 17, 2016), My Life Before I Started Streaming, retrieved November 2, 2018
  8. ^ "Inside the new world of 24/7 on-demand videogame TV". Edge. July 1, 2013. Archived from the original on July 7, 2013. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  9. ^ "Caleb Cain: Former far-right extremist says 'no one has a strategy' for ongoing threat". Sky News. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  10. ^ Lewis, Becca (September 18, 2018). "Alternative Influence". Data & Society. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  11. ^ Roose, Kevin (June 8, 2019). "The Making of a YouTube Radical (Published 2019)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  12. ^ "Three: Mirror Image". The New York Times. April 30, 2020. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  13. ^ "Popular YouTuber JonTron Has Some Batshit Crazy Thoughts on Immigration He'd Like to Share [Update]". Gizmodo. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  14. ^ Gajanan, Mahita (March 14, 2017). "YouTube Star JonTron Under Fire for Comments on Race and Immigration". Time. Archived from the original on September 3, 2019. Retrieved April 19, 2020.
  15. ^ "Longtime Fans Of YouTuber JonTron Say They Can't Watch Him Anymore". Kotaku. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  16. ^ "A Brief Breakdown of the JonTron Racism Controversy". Game Rant. March 21, 2017. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  17. ^ Viana, Bhernardo (October 24, 2019). "Trihex and Destiny end their podcast over use of the n-word". Dot Esports. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  18. ^ Richman, Olivia. "Destiny loses Twitch partnership for "encouraging violence" - LoL - News". WIN.gg. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  19. ^ "Twitch Legal Department Unpartners Destiny After 'Encouragement of Violence'". Game Rant. September 12, 2020. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  20. ^ Bonell, Steven. "Kyle Rittenhouse ("mowing down protestors")". My Position.
  21. ^ "Destiny banned from Twitch after guest flashes inappropriate image". Dexerto. April 29, 2021. Retrieved December 31, 2021.
  22. ^ "Twitch streamer Destiny criticized for promoting NFTS after calling it a "scam"". November 5, 2021.
  23. ^ "Taxes, Wages & Yoko Ono ft. Anthony Fantano - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  24. ^ "Consequences and Moral Values - Destiny Debates - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  25. ^ Bonnell, Steven Kenneth II. "Young Earth creationism - Destiny debates Kent Hovind". YouTube.
  26. ^ "ARE WHITE PEOPLE OPPRESSED? - Debating Mike Enoch - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  27. ^ "Destiny debates nazbol Eric Striker - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  28. ^ "Destiny & Vaush DEBATE Erik Striker & James Allsup - Racial Biases in Criminal Justice - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  29. ^ "This is not a healthy positive direction to head in... - Destiny Debate on Socialism ft. Ben Burgis - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  30. ^ "This feels so idealised... - Destiny Debates NonCompete - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  31. ^ "This isn't strengthening your arguments... - Destiny Debates Socialism ft. Caleb Maupin - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  32. ^ "Socialism vs Capitalism - Destiny Debates Michael Albert - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  33. ^ "Voting For / Against Biden - Debate w/ Kim Iversen". www.youtube.com. Retrieved January 18, 2021.
  34. ^ Gray, Sakura (December 21, 2020). "MATH MVMT hosts canvassing event ahead of Georgia Senate runoffs". WRBL. Retrieved February 10, 2021.
  35. ^ "IMPORTANT: I'm Getting Involved in Politics and Heading to Atlanta - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
  36. ^ Johnson, Anton (February 17, 2021). "How one creator is using streaming service Twitch to shape an Omaha mayoral candidate's 'Destiny'". The Gateway. Retrieved February 18, 2021.
  37. ^ Ristau, Reece (March 13, 2021). "Omaha mayoral candidate cuts ties with internet personality over protest comments". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved March 14, 2021.
  38. ^ "Open Relationships, Intense Officer Confrontation & Dealing w/ the Police - LNOD". www.youtube.com. Retrieved January 25, 2021.
  39. ^ "Personal". destiny.gg. Retrieved May 31, 2021. Melina and I are currently in an open/poly relationship. We treat each other as primary partners, though we may pursue other sexual/romantic relationships as well.
  40. ^ Göransson, Melina. "I am married!". Twitter. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  41. ^ Breland, Ali. "Steve Bonnell made big bucks following a simple plan: Play video games. Troll your fans. Fight the online right". Mother Jones. Retrieved June 3, 2021.