Twitch Will Permaban Streamers With Serious Abuse and Harassment Claims
There has been a constant stream of allegations of serious abuse and harassment coming out in the gaming community. Very personal, serious stories of sexual assault, gaslighting, harassment, and more across esports, streaming, and game development. On June 24, there was a #TwitchBlackout, where streamers stopped streaming to the platform to protest Twitch’s silence on the issue. Now, we have heard Twitch will permaban the alleged abusers on their platform.
It will begin with permanent suspensions to streamers involved in serious cases, which was broken by Rod “Slasher” Breslau on Twitter. This is hot on the heels of what we’ve learned about another popular streamer, Brad “BlessRNG” Jolly. He has been banned and his BlessRNG emote removed after admitting he abused an ex-girlfriend.
Twitch needs to be better.
Listen to Those Speaking Out
It’s incredibly hard to speak out against people with more power and influence, especially about sexual assault. We’ve read that not all severe cases of assault and harassment will be followed up by the Twitch streamers’ immediate permaban.
Twitch stated they would need more information with some of the bigger cases already reported to the authorities in the areas where the victims live. Twitch has also added a way to confidently report harassment, using tools on each streamer’s channel page. If you’re hassled or have been in the past, you can quietly speak out without fear of being judged.
An update will also be added for AutoMod and the Banned Words list, to reduce harassment and hateful conduct on the platform hopefully. Twitch has some of the most toxic and vile people on it in chats. People say whatever they feel like, no matter how hateful, because they can get away with it. It sounds like Twitch is taking this seriously finally. It’s a shame it’s taken this long, though.
Twitch is also reviewing their Hateful Conduct and Harassment policies and enhanced offensive username detection is being worked on, too. “We acknowledge that we can’t singlehandedly tackle pervasive issues across the gaming and broader internet communities, but we take our responsibility as a service for our community seriously,” Twitch said. “We will continue to assess accusations against people affiliated with Twitch and explore ways Twitch can collaborate with other industry leaders on this important issue.”
The problem I have is that they should have already been working on this. These issues aren’t new or sudden. In particular, hateful conduct from chat has been going on as long as Twitch has been around. Of course, people can abuse this with “false claims.” We’re not at all saying that lots of people are doing that, but there will always be someone who tries to use this to benefit themselves/punish someone else. The fact that Twitch needs extra details is a good sign.
On the topic of BlessRNG though, he did not deny that he was abusive to his ex, after fired by Kanga (his employer). His response was to say the other person was also abusive to him, instead of simply owning up to his mistakes.
Crasskitty, a fellow Twitch streamer, spoke about what BlessRNG said: “This pissed me off because I am friends with the victim you are portraying as an abuser, and because I spent literal days trying to get you to stop violating her.” The user then linked screenshots of a conversation she had with Jolly, in which it appears Jolly repeatedly contacted the victim after she requested he not do that.
Some so many people abuse their fame and power in some perverse, awful ways. We hate to hear about stuff like this, but however can bring it to light, we shall. BlessRNG’s ban is likely to be the first of many to come down. Twitch has spent far too long just ignoring the problems on their platform, so the step to finally start dropping a permaban on streamers that deserve it is a good start.
We are in dire need of a culture change, and hopefully, Twitch is serious.