Over the past few days, dozens of people have reported abuse allegations against figures in the gaming industry, including Tic banners, YouTubers, and esport executives.
The wave of complaints appears to have been sparked on June 19 by several women talking about uncomfortable sexual interactions with a streamer Say No To Rabies, which has 173,000 Twitch subscribers and currently streams a first-person shooter destiny. A playmate banner, JewelryVern (4.4K), accused him of keeping his hand on his thigh under the table during a group card game, and another, SarahDanielsTV (50.7K), said she was “cornered” by him and “uncomfortable enough to have blocked a particular incident out of my memory”.
A third player, SheSnaps (64.5K), stated that “multiple interactions” with Say No To Rabies left her “raped and uncomfortable”. In an email she later sent him, she described incidents in which he repeatedly touched her, looked at her and pushed her into her personal space against her will, then excused her behavior saying he was “sexually released” when drunk.
Here is my story. It’s long. https://t.co/FtydOvyWP6
– (Live on Twitch) Snaps (@MindofSnaps) June 20, 2020
In a response video posted on Youtube, SayNoToRage calls his behavior “selfish and reckless”. “Being inappropriate with these people robbed them of their sense of security, and it broke trust, and I am deeply sorry,” he says.
After JewelsVerne, Sarah Daniels and SheSnaps published their allegations, others posted their own stories on social media, accusing: YouTube creators as ProSyndicate (which says he will “make a statement regarding all false allegations”) and Cryotic (who posted a response video admitting he cheated on his girlfriend with fans, but said he didn’t know they were minors); Twitch streamers love Henri g (who did not respond publicly) and SattelizerGames (who appears to have deleted his Twitch channel); and Omeed Dariani, the CEO of the creators’ management company OP Group (he apologized and has since resigned from the company).
About fifty designers have chosen to leave the OP group following the allegations against Dariani.
You can see an ongoing compilation of all the allegations, courtesy of Jessy quil (an administrator meets the community of streamers StreamNYC and Throw together, a group of streamers focused on mental health), here.
Believe the survivors of harassment and assault.
Don’t let predators creep into your circle of friends just because they are “popular” or “in the industry” when there are multiple reports of abuse, harassment and assault.
Lots of people with no problem to support instead.
– JessyQuil (@JessyQuil) June 20, 2020
Twitch’s response causes backlash
On June 21, Twitch released a public statement, saying he takes “the accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct very seriously” and “would actively review accounts relating to Twitch-affiliated streamers.”
But some streamers and former Twitch executives are in doubt as to whether anything will actually be done.
“I’m sick of being silent”, music streamer Starling tweeted. “The CEO of Twitch, Emmett shear, was interviewed in a hands-on meeting about partners using their platforms to abuse women, specifically using my case as an example. He laughed, said, “Wow, the things that are going on our platform, I can’t really comment,” and moved on. “
I dated a Twitch partner who abused me emotionally and psychologically for over a year. After I got out and cut him, he pulled out my old porn on his platform and asked Twitch to ban me for it. I was scared for my safety, scared to go to TwitchCon. No consequence. pic.twitter.com/EnFB8RYcWh
– ✨ Starling ✨ (@YourStarling) June 22, 2020
To anyone who asks for the recording of the meeting, I don’t have it. I’m not the Twitch staff. I wouldn’t even know how to start getting it other than with a subpoena in a court case. The people who informed me / asked the question risked violating the NDA by even telling me.
– ✨ Starling ✨ (@YourStarling) June 22, 2020
Samantha Wong (a.k.a Sampai, a streamer who left Twitch in 2017) also tweeted about how Twitch handled its allegations, accusing the company’s recent statement of being “empty words, seeing you, as a company, downplayed and rejected my sexual harassment and continued to let the predator attend your events and gave him live segments at E3 on your official channel. (She did not name the person she accuses.)
Wong’s husband, Justin wong, served as Twitch’s vice president of community and partnerships for six years. He retweeted her, adding that he shared his predicament with Twitch executives, including Shear, only to be told that his alleged attacker was the uncle of a fellow vice president and that he was “important. “.
I was VP at Twitch and reported this to the VP Relationship, HR Manager, and CEO. Everyone assured me that it would be settled. Next year, he was in the same VIP area at the same Twitch event. I was told that he was the vice president’s uncle and an “important” partner in launching the initiative. https://t.co/LvkPxW43zR
– Justin Wong (@JustinWong) June 22, 2020
Tube filter reached out to Twitch for comment on the charges against Shear.
YouTube tells us that it is currently investigating complaints collected by Quil. In past abuse situations, the platform has stated that it does not generally terminate the accounts of creators unless their behavior occurs on the site, in their content or if they are convicted of a crime and that their content was strongly implicated in said crime. However, it typically demonetizes content from creators while investigations are ongoing.