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DJ Khaled, who likes to go by his birth name Khaled Khaled, hopped onto a Zoom meeting about Fortnite, of all things. He looked around at the screen and saw Megan Fox, along with dozens of grey squares with microphones and video turned off.

“Who’s on the call with me?” he said with his signature raspy voice. “Who am I talking to?”

The superstar recording artist, who had just released the No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, joined a call with over 40 reporters, publicists, content creators and Fox. He was there for a Fortnite Showdown put on by Evil Geniuses and LG to promote new OLED televisions.

“On this gaming thing, they are trying to tear us apart,” he said to Fox. “So when I win, I’m going to make sure I still thank you for the motivation.”

That message summed up a promo event that was remarkable for its strangeness, complete with two pop culture superstars, a couple of pro coaches and a few dozen moments of painful silence.

Megan Fox vs. DJ Khaled?

The firm that put the showcase together had asked the group of reporters to refrain from “gossipy” questions related to Fox and DJ Khaled’s personal lives. They didn’t ask for the 20 minutes of disengaged quiet, however, that they received from almost every reporter in the room.

“Just use the ‘raise your hand’ function in Zoom and I call on people,” the moderator said to the digital, mostly faceless call. Maybe everybody was nervous, or perhaps no one knew how to raise their hand in a Zoom meeting. Whatever the reason, no one budged when asked to pose the celebrities with questions.

Both Fox and DJ Khaled had joined the call late, meaning that the moderator had to start chatting with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive coach Wilton “Zews” Prado and content creator Justin “FearItself” Kats, both of whom are signed by Evil Geniuses. They would serve as coaches for the showdown.

DJ Khaled laying back
DJ Khaled relaxing after finishing a match in fifth place. | Provided by Evil Geniuses

Getting into the game

“When you’re working with someone who hasn’t played the game that much,” FearItself said about how confident he felt ahead of the match, “you have to focus on the basics.”

Fox popped in first, and the moderator instantly included her in the conversation. The first question: how was she going to kick DJ Khaled’s ass?

“I get stressed out under pressure,” Fox said. “My best hope is that DJ Khaled just sucks, that he doesn’t know how to use the controller.”

The moderator opened the floor for questions, and I asked about DJ Khaled’s infamous performance at the inaugural grand finals of the Overwatch League. She opened the floor up again, and another reporter asked about both stars’ experience with Fortnite. The third time around, from Buzzfeed to People and dozens of other outlets, no one raised a hand. Finally, I jumped in to ask about Megan Fox’s love for Mortal Kombat.

“I’m naturally good at that game,” she said. “It requires the least amount of effort from me.”

That was it. There were no other questions. Fox and DJ Khaled began to set up for the 90-minute Fortnite competition. They were running duos, with FearItself joining DJ Khaled and Zews running with Fox. Both teams would score points through getting wins, kills, revivals and other in-game actions. Stream host and Kinda Funny founder Greg Miller also gave out points randomly.

The competition

Both duos hopped into separate matches and it was immediately clear that FearItSelf would be carrying his squad. DJ Khaled’s camera panned up, down and anywhere but ahead of his character. He ran about Lazy Lake firing SMG spray into the sky, looking as determined as Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf during the Fortnite World Cup.

He also spent a lot of time in the passenger seat. And he died. A lot.

“You want me to stay in the car? I’ll stay in the car,” he said to his coach as FearItself took on a 2-on-1 fight outside. “If you want me in the car, I’ll stay in the car.”

Megan Fox vs DJ Khaled
DJ Khaled telling Megan Fox that they all won, even though he lost. | Provided by Evil Geniuses

We have a winner

DJ Khaled was by far the most entertaining part of the stream, including his calls for Travis Scott to come out from somewhere inside his house. Miller, audibly wondering if he was going to talk to Travis Scott, asked DJ Khaled directly about his time in the seat next to the wheel.

“The car is going to take me where I need to go, but at the same time I need to be prepared for war,” he said with a distinct space between each thought. “But if you notice … I’m looking good brother.”

Except, at that point, he wasn’t looking good. He was actually falling behind Fox’s duo to the point where even Miller’s randomly awarded points couldn’t give him a chance to win. Fox’s partner, Machine Gun Kelly, crouched behind her and let out a long “yooooo” as soon as he realized she’d won.

“I was up for most of that thing. Then I thought, Megan … is good people,” DJ Khaled said. “The right thing is to give and I wanted to give you this win.”


Aron Garst looks at esports from a different point of view by tackling the ways games are molded and broken by players around the world. He covers Call of Duty, Fortnite, Super Smash Bros, and everything else for Upcomer. You can read his previous work at WIRED, Rolling Stone, ESPN and elsewhere. Rise up red sea.


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