Fortnite’s latest skin is a nod to a legendary meme. It references a joke that got popular in early 2021 thanks to the GameStop stock controversy.
From Star Wars to Street Fighter, Fortnite has seen its fair share of strange crossovers, but the popular battle royale game recently revealed what is probably its strangest crossover yet. A new premium skin called Diamond Hanz, based on the popular Stonks meme, was revealed on April 1. At first glance, the announcement looked like an April Fools’ joke, but the skin actually did become available in-game for 1,200 V-Bucks.
As expected, both Fortnite players and the rest of the internet went absolutely crazy for the new skin. But for those who don’t pay attention to internet memes, who exactly is Stonks and why is he so popular? Stonks has actually been around for a while, but 2021 is where the meme truly began to gain traction.
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The Stonks meme is a photo of a man in a suit with the face of Meme Man, a creepy gray face that is common among many surreal memes and jokes. The man is standing in front of a blue background with financial data, an orange arrow pointing up, and the word stocks deliberately misspelled. Though the meme has seen many different variations over the years, it’s usually posted as a reaction to people making bad financial decisions. The meme started making its way across the internet on Facebook around 2017, and has appeared sporadically throughout the years. It has even crossed over in gaming before, such as when the Animal Crossing community adopted it in reference to the turnip Stalk Market.
However, the meme experienced a resurgence early this year thanks to the controversy surrounding the GameStop and AMC stocks. In early January, members of a subreddit by the name r/WallStreetBets came together to inflate the shares of both the video game retailer and the movie theater chain. Since both GameStop and AMC were suffering financial losses, with the latter’s driven by the COVID-19 pandemic closing theaters nationwide, many investors bet against the two companies. When the stock prices inflated though, those who wagered against GameStop and AMC began losing money very quickly.
The event sent Wall Street into a tailspin and caused many investing apps to block the purchase of GameStop, which then led to accusations of market manipulation and even got the U.S. government involved. The subreddit itself was proud of its work, driven by a desire to see big investors suffer and punish those who contributed to the financial crisis of 2008, among other things. Several different documentaries and movies are being made about the event, and the subreddit is still active. But regardless of where someone falls on the matter, no one could talk about the event without the Stonks meme popping up everywhere. Even when the hype surrounding the GameStop stock died down, Stonks still lived on.
As for the Fortnite skin name Diamond Hanz, it’s not directly related to the GameStop controversy. Instead, it’s a reference to a slang term that those on the subreddit regularly use. The term “diamond hands” refers to someone who holds onto their stock regardless of risk or loss in order to pursue a specific goal. Even if a stock price rises or falls dramatically, “diamond hands” will hold onto their stock until the bitter end. Now, players can rep this iconic financial meme in Fortnite.
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