That’s Just A Theory- MatPat and Ableism

Shiloh Connor
5 min readNov 20, 2022

Well this took me a lot longer than I hoped.

I’m going to start with this. I don’t think Matthew Patrick is intentionally an ableist. He’s irritating, and a Backpfeifengesicht of incredible proportions. But I want to address an incredibly alarming pattern with his content. Specifically, that Matpat is.. Kind of irresponsible with his platform.

It starts eight years ago, with MattPatt’s Mario is Mental series. The premise of the videos is that Mario has Antisocial Personality Disorder, and is therefore inherently an evil abomination.

Anyone who has spent two minutes in a room with me knows how I feel about scapegoating mental illness as the root of evil. But for the newbies only finding me because of this article, let me explain. ASPD is a Cluster B disorder. This means it’s a personality disorder that affects the ability to bond with others or have empathy for strangers, process emotions in a healthy manner, and control intrusive behaviors, impulses, and thoughts.

According to a lot of modern medical research, Cluster B disorders are induced by a combination of genetic factors and severe trauma that warps the mind as a survival and defense mechanism. The behaviors and symptoms have just as much a negative impact on the patient as they do on those exposed to the patient’s negative traits.

The disorder is heavily stigmatized and frequently conflated with Sociopathy, which is detrimental to patients and laymen alike. People will believe these patients to be inherently criminal, that they are lesser, that they cannot be helped or change whatsoever, which is just blatantly not true.

If you have enough common sense to pour water out of a boot with instructions on the heel, you could see why demonizing this severe mental illness is fucking stupid, dangerous, and ableist. Abusive and violent behaviors are a choice, and to blame them on mental illness is to deny accountability to abusers. These videos normalize the idea that someone can be inherently evil because of a condition they cannot control.

The next most notable MattPatt video I can name with serious ableism issues is another multi-video project. The Dori is Faking videos.

I should not have to explain why this behavior is setting a terrible example of acceptable behavior. Mat isn’t a psychologist, he’s not a therapist, he’s not a diagnostic specialist. Nor does he have the kind of neurological issues that could create a disorder similar to the character’s. No education on it, no lived experiences. He is speculating.

So why the fuck is he teaching people that speculating on whether someone is faking or not is okay?

Yes, Dori is a fictional fish, and therefore cannot be emotionally impacted by these accusations. Nor can she be victimized by people fake-claiming her and harassing her on social media, as again- she’s not real.

But there are real people affected by this kind of behavior.

A lot of disabled people in real life are accused of faking their disability because of stereotypes and ignorance, to the point of harassment. Ambulatory wheelchair uses (people who *can* walk, but struggle due to pain and disability and need a wheelchair to keep from constant suffering), folks with mood disorders like Depression or Bipolar, and even Autistic people are accused of faking because they ‘aren’t disabled enough’. This is a huge struggle for millions of us. And here MatPat is, saying it’s okay to do.

Or if we want to get into more recent videos- his Encanto video, ‘Dolores is the real villain’! What’s the story behind this one?

It’s actually quite simple!

“Dolores is the True Villain of Encanto because her sensory overload is such an ~unbearable~ disability that she would stop at NOTHING to get rid of it.”

I should not have to explain to MY audience why this is ableist, but here’s a hint- Eugenics. The theory asserts that Dolores’s Autism Coded sensory issues are the worst possible thing on earth to have ever.

Autism Speaks level bullshit here, Matt.

In addition, if you had crippling sensory issues that made functioning difficult on a day to day basis, wouldn’t you want a break from that? Imagine the energy most hypersensitive autistic folks have to spend eliminating overstim risks in their lives. The money it costs. And yet you’re going to villainize that frustration? I want to say that’s surprising, but it really isn’t.

We could also talk about MatPat trying to diagnose Angry Video Game Nerd with ADHD- a REAL PERSON who exists outside of youtube and exaggerated his rage issues for comedy on camera.

I will repeat as I said earlier, MatPat does not have a medical license to diagnose mental illnesses of any kind. And that’s not even to mention the inflammatory thumbnail.

This habit we have of speculating on the mental health of strangers is already a pervasive issue and should be taken more seriously.

Or about how MatPat held a literal conference on Etika’s suicide, despite again- not being a doctor, and not even KNOWING the man- pinning his suicide on CANCEL CULTURE!

Do I really have to explain why this is insensitive and disgusting? Why people should be upset by this?

MatPat is a creator with a massive set of channels. Game theory with 16.3 Million, Film Theory with 11.4 Million, Food Theory with 4.06 Million, and GT Live with just over 2 Million. These are massive platforms that reach insane amounts of people. And with that platform comes a level of responsibility to your audience.

Like I said at the beginning. I don’t think Matpat is being this much of an idiot on purpose. I genuinely think he just doesn’t know. But there is a point where ignorance and malice become completely indistinguishable.

Mat. I’m begging you. Hire sensitivity readers. Hire consultants. Talk to actual disabled people for once. You have such a massive platform, you need to do right by the viewers who come to you for entertainment. I know I’m just some rando and my opinion matters less than nothing to you. But despite how critical I am of you here, I do love a lot of your videos and I want to believe you could get better. *Be* better.

But.. that’s just a theory.

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Shiloh Connor

Freelance Artist, Writer, and Activist looking to start a conversation!