IShowSpeed's wild life – fireworks in house, e-dating scandal, Ronaldo obsession (2024)

YouTuber IShowSpeed, known for his love of Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United, has faced plenty of controversial moments since becoming an online star and rapper

IShowSpeed's wild life – fireworks in house, e-dating scandal, Ronaldo obsession (1)

Internet sensation IShowSpeed has been swarmed by SWAT teams and set off fireworks in his bedroom during his controversial rise to success.

IShowSpeed, real name Darren Jason Watkins Jr, came to wider prominence among football fans due to his obsession with Cristiano Ronaldo. The 19-year-old infamously featured on Sky Sports in November 2022 as he attempted to meet his idol.

Sky Sports deleted traces of IShowSpeed’s segment after historical misogynistic comments emerged but this did not slow his success. Watkins subsequently revealed getting a tattoo of the forward, as well as dedicating a song to the former Manchester United hero.

The United fan boasts a combined 52 million subscribers across YouTube and TikTok, having initially gone viral for his live streams on Twitch. Here is a closer look at the YouTuber’s rise to fame and most controversial moments.

Who is IShowSpeed?

IShowSpeed created his first YouTube channel in 2016 but it was not until 2020 that he began to earn a number of subscribers. Clips of his streams began circulating on TikTok and Speed reached one million subscribers in June 2021, with his audience growing at an astonishing rate.

He moved to Los Angeles with fellow streamer Adin Ross and released his first rap single in 2021. In the last year, Watkins has fought KSI in a charity boxing sparring match. The internet personality also featured at Wrestlemania 40 in April, appearing in a Prime bottle costume during Logan Paul’s match with Kevin Owens and WWE legend Randy Orton.

Fireworks, SWAT team and other controversies

He once marked US Independence Day by setting off a Pikachu firework in his bedroom. Believing it to be a firecracker, Speed was surprised when the Pokemon began firing multiple fireworks and shouted to his mother for help during a live stream. The fire service was called, though Watkins repeated the stunt the following year.

Watkins’ live streams have also seen the YouTuber interrupted by SWAT teams because of hoax calls to law enforcement by trolls. After receiving false information, armed police have twice shown up to Watkins’ address in an attempt to apprehend IShowSpeed.

In August 2023, Speed accidentally flashed his penis to 25k viewers as a result of a jumpscare. The clip went viral on social media but the accidental nature meant that YouTube opted against taking further action.

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Cristiano Ronaldo obsession

Watkins was already a star before his adoration of Ronaldo became a notable part of his online persona. Having travelled to Old Trafford, Craven Cottage and the Qatar World Cup, it was not until June 2023 that IShowSpeed finally met Ronaldo after a 3-0 win for Portugal over Bosnia and Herzegovina.

A year earlier, Speed had released a song titled, ‘Ronaldo (Sewey)’, as well as a single in honour of the last World Cup, both of which commanded millions of views on YouTube. In January 2023, the influencer revealed a tattoo portrait of Ronaldo on his arm.

Despite his idol leaving United, Watkins has remained a fan of the Red Devils and live-streamed himself at Wembley during their recent FA Cup triumph. He has also made a name for himself in charity football matches, notably whipping referee Mark Clattenburg with his shirt after seeing a goal disallowed for offside and putting in a controversial slide tackle on former AC Milan and Real Madrid star Kaka.

E-dating scandal and misogynistic comments

In December 2021, IShowSpeed participated in a livestream e-dating show. Watkins was the first player to be eliminated after making threatening comments to a female participant, later rejoining the stream to fire further slurs at the contestant. The incident led IShowSpeed to be banned from Twitch for "sexual coercion or intimidation". His ban was reportedly revoked last year.

A few months later, a Twitch clip of Watkins resurfaced, telling a female gamer to “Get off the f****** game and do your husband's dishes." This led him to be banned from playing Valorant and all other Riot Games titles. IShowSpeed apologised for his comments and claimed that he had received racist comments from other players that day, suggesting that this had contributed towards his behaviour.

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IShowSpeed's wild life – fireworks in house, e-dating scandal, Ronaldo obsession (2024)
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