See the updates below.
[Original story 6/27/2020]
It has been a strange week for the video game community. And I mean stranger than a normal week, which is usually already quite strange.
Things started with some surprising accusations Destiny 2 the SayNoToRage streamer that quickly overflowed in a budding #MeToo movement that, in a few days, saw numerous streamers and game developers fall out of favor, including the director of Assassin̵
Then, suddenly, mega-Twitch streamer Guy “Dr. Lack of Respect ”Beahm has been banned, apparently permanently, for reasons that have not yet been clarified.
Twitch has released such a generic statement that it is honestly not worth printing, but I will do it anyway because we have to do our journalistic duty even if giant companies cannot be annoyed even with the slightest bit of transparency.
Here it is:
“As with our trial, we take appropriate measures when we have evidence that a streamer has acted in violation of our Community Guidelines or Terms of Service. These apply to all streamers regardless of status or community prominence.”
Fantastic, noble. However, to tell the truth, Twitch doesn’t have a particularly valuable reputation in this regard.
Most of what we know so far comes from some with internal sources such as eSports journalist Rod Breslau (whose work you should definitely follow it). He tweeted that the reason for the ban is not related to DMCA and that his sources told him the reason, but he does not feel comfortable sharing it publicly because of the delicacy of the matter:
Other than that, mom is the word.
But now Dr. Disrespect himself has spoken, sending a public tweet about the Twitch ban:
“Twitch did not inform me of the specific reason behind his decision … Handshakes at all for support in this difficult time,” writes Beahm.
I have problems with this. First of all, it doesn’t make sense. There are two big reasons why it doesn’t make sense and probably many other minor reasons.
Reason # 1 – Why wait so long to tweet this short statement? If Twitch forbade me, and I was a prominent streamer, and they didn’t tell me why. . . I’d be on Twitter in a flash to say it. I wouldn’t let all this mystery and gossip break loose online without saying at least “Hey, I have no idea what’s going on right now and Twitch won’t tell me.” Beahm waited a day before tweeting something. Maybe there are mitigating circumstances for this – maybe he was camping in a remote desert, but it doesn’t make sense at the moment.
Reason # 2 – This claim only reveals one data point: that Twitch did not tell Beahm why he was banished. Leave out some other big factors, such as whether or not Dr. Disrespect is aware of the reason itself. It is obvious that whatever happened, he knows. It seems incredibly unlikely, given reason no. 1, who is not aware and completely in the dark about the reasons for the ban if Twitch communicated it to him directly. If sources tell reporters like Breslau what’s going on, surely the doctor himself knows.
Unless . . . something even worse happened and Twitch and the handful of people who know what’s going on can’t say anything to Beahm. This evokes some very ugly scenarios that I won’t go into here – it’s not polite to speculate about something of this nature, after all. But it’s certainly strange, and Dr. Disrespect’s statement only promotes the confusion and terror that we all feel about it.
I would like more transparency from all involved, frankly. All this opacity and silence makes no sense is speculation about fuel and rumors and nobody deserves it. The truth will come out, as they say. It always does. It can also tear off the patch and make it. The fact that Twitch didn’t even tell Beahm the reasons (assuming it’s true) is absolutely absurd. It’s certainly not a way to treat one of your biggest stars, even a star I’m not personally a fan of. It is very, um, disrespectful.
We hope to get to the bottom soon.
It was interesting to see the reaction to this online post. Some people seem to agree that it’s all pretty suspicious. Others accused me of – well, I’m not sure what.
Writing a terrible, bad, not good article that is somehow attacking Dr. Disrespect or, alternatively, that I’m a crazy Doc fan (the “terror-filled” line has apparently been taken by some as very literal as opposed to ironic. Everything is lost in translation).
Others have accused me of disguising a piece of opinion as a simple report, but my blog is almost entirely a piece of opinion. I rarely report direct news. I am a critic and a thinking boy. I don’t think I let myself go to idle speculation and certainly I have not raised accusations or advanced theories. I simply said that things don’t add up and this whole thing is somewhat disturbing. It is difficult not to have your mind drifting very bad things when we don’t know, well, anything and everyone does knowing something will not comment publicly because it is so “sensitive”.
We have not yet heard anything substantial from Dr. Disrespect or Twitch, without any new statements coming out of either field. This may be due to the fact that Twitch simply does not share information when it issues a permanent ban according to Breslau:
“food for thought,” Breslau tweeted Sunday. “Twitch does not provide specific reasons for streamers for permanent bans. MethodJosh was banned following a sexual assault complaint and Twitch never commented publicly or privately. Josh and Ice Poseidon were told “Other HRT violations”.
In the meantime, there is a big conspiracy circling this new Brime streaming service that streamers Ninja, Shroud and Dr. Disrespect apparently would have moved in together. The theory says that somehow Twitch caught Doc’s wind by trying to catch streamers to move to Brime which is why he was banished.
I don’t think this theory holds a lot of water for a variety of reasons, and you should read Paul Tassi’s breakdown of why it doesn’t really make sense (and has no verifiable sources) right here.
So several days have gone by and beyond Dr. Disrespect’s tweet above, we haven’t heard any new details about this story. It is somewhat surprising in its own right. I thought with certainty that by Monday at the end of the day there would be more details on this: rumors, losses, something. It’s still . . . all quiet on the west front.
Now that Brime’s story has been practically downsized, there are two emerging theories as to what exactly is going on, although neither is certain.
Theory n. 1 is that this is something criminal in nature, and that perhaps the FBI is involved in some way, even if what the crime should be is anyone’s guess. It would explain why anyone who apparently knows something is staying so silent because it would be very “sensitive”.
On the other hand, this is exactly the kind of scenario that I can’t imagine keeping quiet for more than a day or two peaks. Once a secret is shared, it is no longer a secret after all. And something juicy like this would almost certainly have leaked to the press. Someone with loose lips would have spoken and at this point we would have had a whirlwind of gossip. So this Very Bad Scenario now seems much less likely to me than it did the other day, which is, I suppose, a good thing.
Theory n. 2 is that Twitch is simply repressing what they perceive as site toxicity. The streaming service has not exactly emerged from recent controversies that seem particularly good, and it is possible that they are simply taking swift action to rid the site of as many “toxic” figures as possible.
Although Dr. Disrespect has not been involved in any of the recent #MeToo charges, he has cheated himself in other controversies, namely, casting out conspiracy theories about 5G towers and the coronavirus and spreading ideas from well-known conspiracy theorist David Icke.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Twitch decides on a high profile ban on someone who pushes this kind of crazy ideas would send a strong message and that’s all. But the fact is, as my colleague Dave Thier says, we may never know the whole story.
What do you think of all this? Let me know chirping or Facebook.