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The Untold Truth Of Boogie2988

Steven Williams, who goes by the name Boogie2988 online, has recently been in the news for an unexpected reason: he was arrested for discharging a gun in a residential area in Washington County, Arkansas. Even though some gamers are just hearing about Williams, he's been creating YouTube videos for years and has amassed a following in the process.

Williams created Francis, an over the top nerd character that fans loved to hate. Over time, companies and gamers began to take notice of Williams, looking to him more and more for input beyond the character of Francis. However, Williams hasn't been free from controversy, even at his most popular. At the height of GamerGate, in which people largely argued over gaming journalism and the treatment of women within the industry, Williams voiced his support for the movement. He has also spoken negatively about media critic Anita Sarkeesian and claimed that white, straight men receive just as much poor treatment online as people of color and women. 

The latest news on Williams is unfortunately tied to legal issues. On May 11, Williams tweeted a cryptic thank you to his fans, saying, "Just want to say thank you to those of you who have supported me at one time or another." Williams followed up to clarify that he wasn't having a mental health crisis, but was logging off to deal with "cop stuff." But who was Boogie2988 before the legal drama? Here's his untold truth. 

You were never meant to like Francis

WIlliams made a name for himself by playing "Francis," an over the top angry nerd who flew off the handle at every small thing, ranting about things like the Xbox's "always online" function. However, it's worth remembering that Francis was a character, meant to get some sort of reaction out of the gaming and nerd communities. In fact, Williams built Francis to be hated.

In an interview with Kotaku, Williams said, "I wanted people to just f***ing hate him. I wanted people to click the next video and hate him again. Click on the next video and hate him again. Then click the next video and see the real me, and just maybe we can change perception a little bit." Williams described Francis as a "a sh***y, detestable, laughable, fat stereotype of a nerd neckbeard," which isn't exactly a charming concept. However, there's more to Steven Williams than his Francis persona.

Williams has stated that his Francis his videos are heavily scripted. However, Francis is still somewhat based in reality, and Williams has explained that Francis is a combination of people he's known and problems he's experienced himself. 

Companies want to stay on Boogie2988's good side

Williams' Francis character eventually became an unlikely marketing tool for gaming companies like Sony and Microsoft. Xbox came calling after Williams posted a Francis rant about the new Xbox console. Microsoft asked if it could send Williams a new console in order to temper some of his more negative videos about the system. 

Eventually, Williams even met Larry Hryb, the Director of Programming for Xbox Live. Hryb visited Williams' home and recorded a video with him (as Francis) as a promotional stunt for Xbox. The duo had a lightsaber battle on video, stirring up fans and demonstrating that there were no hard feelings between Williams and Xbox, no matter how the Francis character behaved.

The lightsaber battle was all in good fun, but it also worked as a marketing tool for Xbox. By "winning over" the grumpy Francis, Xbox showed that even the most hesitant fans would like its new console. In fact, the Xbox One had a variety of features fans didn't even know about.

Williams' popularity on YouTube earned him a coveted position as a well-known gaming influencer, though pop culture didn't really have a term to describe his fame at the time. Fans recognized Williams for his character, but respected him for his experience as a gamer, which in turn led to some interesting opportunities in the long run. 

Boogie2988 hasn't been popular with everyone

Fans haven't always supported Williams, however. As mentioned before, he's been involved in a few controversies. In addition to his previously-mentioned support of GamerGate, Williams was part of a promotional campaign by BetterHelp that received criticism from fans online.

As reported by The Atlantic in 2018, Williams and other popular YouTubers like Shane Dawson experienced backlash in 2018 over his support of BetterHelp, an online counseling site. While there's nothing wrong with discussing one's personal struggles with mental illness, fans took issue with the fact that BetterHelp wasn't required to provide qualified counselors or take the care to match people with providers accurately. Fans felt betrayed, feeling as though YouTubers like Williams stood to make money off of others' struggles.

For his part, Williams apologized for the sponsorship. Well, sort of. Though he agreed to cease his deal with BetterHelp, Williams shrugged off the incident by saying he only sold a few memberships anyway. While this sort of talk could potentially end a streamer's career in seconds, Williams has continued making videos and drawing an audience. 

Only time will tell what is next for the divisive content creator — as of May 2021, he expressed a desire to temporarily step away from social media — but fans will be sure to keep a close eye on the future of Francis.