Twitch Begins Banning Streamers Over Abuse Allegations

Twitch issued its first bans Wednesday in the wake of scores of sexual misconduct allegations among its streamers.
Twitch issued its first bans Wednesday in the wake of scores of sexual misconduct allegations among its streamers. | Courtesy of Twitch

Amid a tidal wave of gender-based discrimination, sexual assault, abuse, and misconduct allegations against Twitch streamers, the platform began issuing permanent bans Wednesday.

In a blog post published that night, Twitch wrote about processing each of the allegations that came to light over the past week.

"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," the company wrote. "We're prioritized the most severe cases and will begin issuing permanent suspensions in line with our findings immediately."

Many of the cases took place off Twitch, and the company is seeking additional information before making rulings.

A Twitter account tracking Twitch bans and unbans says several streamers accused of misconduct have been banned, including Samuel "iAmSp00n" Earney, Brad "BlessRNG" Jolly, Gabriel "WarwitchTV" David, DreadedCone and Stephen "Wolv21" Trackim, Jr.

Two of the biggest streamers accused of misconduct, Tom "Syndicate" Cassell and Lono "SayNoToRage" have yet to be banned. Syndicate denied the allegations, while SayNoToRage released an apology video.

Twitch's blog post also promised to develop better tools to deal with harassment, and to review its Hateful Conduct and Harassment policies.

Twitch and its CEO Emmett Shear came under fire as story after story of partner misconduct surfaced online. Musician and Twitch streamer Erin Marie Hall, known online as YourStarling, accused Shear of belittling the issue in an all-hands meeting that took place last year.

Starling told DBLTAP on Wednesday that Shear's comments reflected a larger culture of inaction at the company.

"I've had numerous people in my DMs telling me their stories of being raped or abused by other Twitch streamers — in some cases even at TwitchCon — and how reporting it to Twitch did nothing," she said.

"Twitch has a long history of promising action via very earnest-sounding messages in trendy light-text-on-dark-background Twitter posts, but failing to implement any sort of structural or policy-based change."

Responding to Twitch's first bans, Starling said she was "very cautiously optimistic, because although it IS a step in the right direction, it was obviously a response to public pressure."

"It's not the first time that they're hearing about all of these incidents — it's just the first time that we've been loud enough and gotten enough media attention that we threaten the security of their brand image, and therefore their bottom line. The fact that dozens of victims had to risk their safety in order to make Twitch give a shit is disappointing."

Note: This story was updated Friday, June 26 to include new comments from Starling.