Ligma is a fictional disease associated with a death hoax orchestrated by Instagram user ninja_hater that claimed Fortnite: Battle Royale streamer Ninja had passed away after contracting the disease. The intention of this joke was to prompt concerned fans to ask what Ligma is, to which participants in the hoax would respond with "ligma balls" ("lick my balls"), a joke setup similar to Deez Nuts and Updog. The hoax also spawned in-jokes about the fictional nationality Sugondese ("suck on these"), the Indonesian city Grabahan ("grab a hand") and the fictional diseases Sugma ("suck my") and Bofa ("both of").
On May 28th, 2018, Instagram user Galevik uploaded a video showing a Twitter conversation in which he tells David Hogg "you should boycott ligma". Within two months, the post gained over 307,100 views.
On June 6th, the @realDonaldTrunp parody account tweeted a picture of President Donald Trump dabbing along with a mock conversation of Trump using the ligma joke on a journalist.
On July 13th, YouTuber Cowbelly uploaded a video titled "why I asked everyone to unsubscribe before 1 million," which opens with a ligma joke. Within two weeks the video accumulated upwards of 333,600 views and 4,900 comments.
Ninja Death Hoax
On July 16th, 2018, Instagram user ninja_hater uploaded an image of Ninja ascending to heaven, where he is awaited by famous deceased figures such as Harambe, Billy Mays, Tupac Shakur, Michael Jackson and Lil Peep. This image is typically posted after a high-profile public figure dies, and in this instance is captioned with the phrase "Join us, Ninja" to indicate that Ninja had passed on. In the description, ninja_hater requests for his followers to spread the image so they can make fake news.
The following day, the image was reposted by Instagram user foster.roach, who added that Ninja had died of the fictional disease "Ligma." As the hoax began gaining traction, Ninja tweeted that he had landed in Los Angeles with his wife.
That day, the gaming news outlet Twin Galaxies covered the hoax, speculating that Ninja was believed to be dead by fans due to the fact that he had been inactive for most of that day. Finally, Ninja disproved rumors of his death by streaming and uploading content to both his Twitter and his Instagram. However, unaware fans who asked about the fictional Ligma disease were responded to by hoax participants with the phrase "ligma balls/nuts."
On July 18th, the hoax was covered by another pop culture-related news outlet, Earn The Necklace. Meanwhile, Instagram user nutjuice_ posted a photoshopped CBS News headline declaring that Ninja had "passed away". That day, graffiti artist Lushsux tweeted the image, along with a message asking if he should create a "memorial wall" for the streamer.
On July 18th, the hoax was covered by another pop culture-related news outlet, Earn The Necklace. Meanwhile, Instagram user nutjuice_ posted a photoshopped CBS News headline declaring that Ninja had "passed away". That day, graffiti artist Lushsux tweeted the image, along with a message asking if he should create a "memorial wall" for the streamer
On July 22nd, PewDiePie posted a Meme Review covering the Ligma meme, applied to both Ninja and other Internet celebrities such as h3h3productions and Supreme Patty.
On July 23, the death hoax, as well as the Ligma disease itself, was covered by various news outlets such as The Verge, Daily Mail, Metro, The Daily Dot, The Sun and Polygon. Polygon's article, along with covering the hoax, interviewed the hoax's originator ninja_hater, who revealed that he had not expected the hoax to become as successful as it had, and that his intentions with the hoax were to shake up the Internet community and see how big of a reaction he could create. The Polygon article also credits Instagram user spookid with originating the Ligma variant of the hoax, citing several Instagram exchanges and posts, including a DM between spookid and Ninja in which Ninja asks spookid to stop claiming that Ninja had died of Ligma, only to be prompted with a variant on Ligma, Bofa Deez Nuts.
On July 20th, Instagram user spookid uploaded a clip from one of Ninja's streams, which showed Ninja requesting moderators to ban users who mentioned Ligma in the chat, stating that first offenses would be met with a 24-hour ban and repeat offenses would be permanently banned.
2 hours later, Instagram comedian Supreme Patty (another target of the hoax) uploaded a video sketch in which a doctor diagnoses him with Ligma, and when asked what Ligma is, the doctor responds with the punchline of the joke, "Ligma balls".
Finally, Ninja accepted the Ligma meme in a YouTube comment on PewDiePie's Meme Review video on July 22nd, prompting PewDiePie to pin the comment.
On July 21st, 2018, Urban Dictionary user KissingmyhomiesGN submitted an entry for "Sugma," defining it as a "rare disease that fornite streamers are exposed to.
On July 23rd, YouTuber Dolan Darker uploaded a video of a Twitter direct message conversation in which he tricks PewDiePie into asking about the fictional nationality "Sugondese" in order to setup the punchline "Sugondese nuts". Within 24 hours, the video gathered upwards of 146,000 views and 1,700 comments.
The same day, YouTuber Emperor Lemon uploaded a video titled "Grabahan," in which he sets up a joke about the Indonesian city Grabahan with the line "Grabahan full of my nuts".
On July 24th, a screenshot of a Redditor making a "Sugdandese nuts" joke was submitted to /r/meirl, where it gathered upwards of 12,800 points (95% upvoted) and 180 comments within eight hours.