- Twitch streamers shut scheduled streams to protest wide-spread predatory behavior
- According to streamers, Twitch has created a toxic environment and failed to clamp down on sexual misconduct
- Twitch CEO and the company have been trying to diffuse the situation looking into the issue with 200 personalities from the community now part of an informal investigation
Twitch streamers have said that they will pull the plug on scheduled broadcasts as part of the Twitch Blackout movement which aims at tackling sexual misconduct in gaming. Some 200 personalities, many of whom are connected to Twitch as partners, were recently called out for their inappropriate behavior offer suggesting sexual advances.
Streamers Brown Out on Twitch
For the nonce, it’s streamers who pulled the plug on Twitch, the Amazon-owned streaming giant. If the esports community has ever had a Harvey Weinstein moment, this is it, with some 200 personalities from the gaming community’s ranks accused of sexual misconduct.
Looking to show solidarity with the victims, Twitch streamers and content creators have joined forces in the Twitch Blackout movement, suspending scheduled broadcasts on Wednesday, June 24.
Twitch has been monitoring the situation. The company’s CEO and co-founder Emmet Shear made a statement earlier this week acknowledging that some of the company’s contacts have been cited as guilty of sexual misconduct.
He has been trying to diffuse a precarious situation and has done so with tact.
Doing Right by the Community
Shear reassured that Twitch was looking into the issue and keen on finding out more about each individual issue. The executive warned that individuals who have engaged in any of the alleged acts would be brought to justice within the remit of Twitch. He specifically outlined the following action plan:
“Actions may include banning, removing partnerships, or removing people from promotional opportunities and activations if we have concerns based on credible accusations and their historical behavior on Twitch.”
Twitch’s official account tweeted that the company was thankful to the brave individuals who had come forward to speak about an issue which was never discussed with such intensity before.
It Takes Two to Tango and Community in an Uproar
While Twitch’s statements were both well-worded and well-meaning, several high-profile streamers called Twitch out for having an established record of overlooking reports of harassment and predatory behavior. @YourStarling was among the people to call out Twitch on what she considered lack of action.
I'm sick of being quiet. The CEO of @Twitch, @eshear, was asked in an All Hands meeting about partners using their platforms to abuse women- specifically using my case as an example. He chuckled, said "wow, the things that go on on our platform, can't really comment," & moved on.
— ✨ Starling ✨ (@YourStarling) June 22, 2020
Some, including @ShannonZKiller, said that while Shear’s attempts to keep the discussion focused on the issue at hand were genuine, Twitch had much deeper structural shortcomings that made it very difficult to address behavioral problems on the platform.
There has been a backlash against the reported victims of sexual misconduct, too, with many people threatening them with physical confrontation. As some members of the community noted, the problem ran deep.
The good news is people are finally talking about it. For the first time, streamers have the upper hand, and they have a good cause, too.
Image credit: Twitch