Nicole “Neekolul” Sanchez spoke out this weekend, seeking to clear the air around her 2018 arrest and night in jail for corporal injury, a domestic violence charge.
The 100 Thieves streamer, who first came to prominence with her “Okay, Boomer” viral video last year, released a statement to Twitter this past weekend, in which she stated that is not a domestic abuser, and instead was the victim of domestic abuse for seven years.
“I get comments ‘have u hit ur new boyfriend yet’” Neekolul said in the statement. “Comments like these are extremely hurtful, the time after I got arrested my abuser showed me the pamphlets and flyers he was provided (abuse victim materials) where he could get help as an abuse victim... and I don’t think ever in my life I felt so wronged and let down, to this day I feel disgusting thinking about that.”
According to Neekolul, her arrest and subsequent punishment were in response to the only time she hit her ex back after years of being physically and emotionally abused by him.
“TLDR: it came out a while ago but was recently brought up again that I got in trouble for hitting my abuser, and some people have characterized me as an abuser,” Neekolul said in the introduction of her statement. “For 7 years leading up to that moment I endured beatings, verbal and mental abuse, social isolation, public humiliation, and more. I know some people just get a kick out of trolling me and saying I’m an abuser or crazy, but I hope this will clear everything up for anyone out there who actually thinks I’m a bad person... I’m tired of being quiet and people thinking the person who beat me for years deserves sympathy.”
Neeko’s timeline of her abusive relationship
According to Neeko, the abuse from her ex in her relationship started when she was only 15. She said that his misconduct included forms of emotional, mental, and physical abuse.
“From the ages of 15-18 the abuse escalated as time went on: slapping, choking, slamming me, threatening my life at knifepoint, threatening his life, threatening to hurt both of us (ex. Driving violently in the car threatening to crash it), gaslighting, taking my belongings and breaking them (phones, things of sentimental value, etc), and public humiliation (ex. trying to make me look crazy or dumb to other people to isolate me), and so much more.” the streamer explained.
Neeko said that she had trouble asking for help at the time because she was a scared teenager, and even at times felt pressured to protect her ex-boyfriend from getting in trouble by lying to her parents about his actions. When she did contact the police over the abuse, Neeko said that the officer responded with “you are too young to be going through this, you should rethink if you want to do this.” This reaction led her to back off from pursuing further action.
She shared another instance when church youth leaders noticed that there was something wrong going on with her and her ex, but instead of addressing the issue privately the leaders decided to have a public discussion about whether or not she was being abused. According to Neeko, this was embarrassing and humiliating and only served to push her further into isolation.
Neeko said that things only got worse from 19-21, with her ex-boyfriend escalating things to “closed fist” beatings. She said that he would strategically hit her behind the head to avoid visible bruising.
After she started to gain an audience streaming, Neeko said that her ex became more agitated.
“He began harassing me endlessly all day, nonstop for weeks....my phone was literally unusable as it was constant calls and texts from him," she explained. "He got tired of this so he decided to come to my home while my parents weren’t home and harass me in person, banging on my front door screaming, threatening to run his car through my door. He had done this multiple times in the past, he would show up and then leave...but this time he wouldn’t leave.”
After she called the police, and her ex eventually left, Neeko said that she confronted him about his behavior at his house. That conversation escalated, and Neeko said that she struck him when he raised his arms in a threatening manner, after which her ex called the police and she was placed in jail for five hours in her pajamas.
“After all these years of receiving abuse I’m the one who ends up getting in trouble,” Neeko said. “I’ve seen a lot of people saying crazy stuff online but my only punishment was 12 classes of anger management and 1 yr of good behavior and it would be dropped. The judge took into consideration my situation - everything I had been through and saw I wasn’t a dangerous person. He even removed the automatically applied restraining order which is apparently very rare which I think shows people recognized I wasn’t the one causing problems.”
Neeko said that she remained with the abuser for some time, even after he had her arrested. She said that wasn't until she was in a therapy session for her anger management classes that she had the realization that she should leave him.
“I felt like I needed to talk about my experience as a victim of abuse in hopes that abuse is taken more seriously,” Neekolul explained. “Victims are manipulated or scared of their abuser so sometimes they stay silent. Abuse like the domestic abuse I was receiving puts you in a literal mental prison that took a hold of me from a young age. Violence is never the answer and I should have never stooped to his level and I wish I stood up for myself and left for good sooner.”
The gaming community reacts to Neekolul’s story
The reactions to Neekolul’s statement from the streamer and gaming community were mixed, though most responses were positive and encouraging to the streamer.
She received a number of statements of support from notable streamers like Keemstar, Pokimane, and Anna Rudolf.
“I'm deeply sorry you had to go through all this, Neeko. Much love to you on your path to healing and thank you for speaking up!” Rudolf said in response to the original post.
“When you become popular online people stop looking at you as an actual person and they start looking at you like a thing,” Keemstar said. “They say evil stuff because they don’t think it will hurt you. So try to not let it bother you. They don’t really hate you the person. Just the thing.”
There was some pushback on her statement as well. Most notably, Destiny talked about her statement on his stream where he criticized Neekolul for hitting her ex and said that if she was a man they would have "canceled" her for it. Others have echoed Destiny's sentiment, refusing to acknowledge any of the claims Neeko made in her statement.
However, critics of Neeko's story like Destiny are in the minority, with most people responding to Neeko with messages of support and encouragement.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.