Streaming service Twitch has found itself coming under increasing pressure over the past couple of days to act on accusations of sexual harassment and abuse by some of its streamers.
The company now seems to be in the first stages of acting and has released a statement saying: “We want to provide an update on our investigations into the recent allegations of sexual abuse and harassment involving Twitch streamers and actions we’re taking. We are reviewing each case that has come to light as quickly as possible, while ensuring appropriate due diligence as we assess these serious allegations. We’ve prioritized the most severe cases and will begin issuing permanent suspensions in line with our findings immediately. In many of the cases, the alleged incident took place off Twitch, and we need more information to make a determination. In some cases, we will need to report the case to the proper authorities who are better placed to conduct a more thorough investigation.”
“We’re also committed to continuing our efforts to make Twitch a safer environment with more tools to combat harassment and hate. We have work underway including a review of our Hateful Conduct and Harassment policies, enhanced offensive username detection, improvements to AutoMod and our Banned Words list, and other projects focused on reducing harassment and hateful conduct.
Those who have come forward have shown incredible strength, vulnerability, and bravery. 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. 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.”
They have been forced into action as a things began to escalate after streamer JessyQuil put together a list containing a lot of the accusations that had been published. There is also a Google Spreadsheet detailing the accusations and responses that makes for some somber reading.
Be under no illusions there are some very serious accusations here and Twitch has found itself in the position of having to deal with issues that many companies would not have the experience to deal with, but they are now, having allowed themselves some time to evaluate, beginning to work through the cases and take action against predatory streamers.
Several high profile streamers on the list have now been banned including BlessRNG, WarwichTV and IaAmSp00n who is accused of posting racist tweets – The Streamerbans site keeps a running update of Twitch Partners that have been removed from the service.
Although born out of the awful situations regular people have found themselves in, this feels like a time where change is happening. With #MeToo, #BLM, and now this, victims and survivors are finally finding a voice and people are saying ‘enough’.
The computer industry has been male-dominated forever, and within that demographic, there will always be though who seek to take advantage. The time seems to be arriving where that is thankfully going to be a lot more difficult to do.