Recently, the gaming industry has seen a rather large number of sexual harassment and abuse victims, as well as victims of workplace abuse and toxicity, come forth and speak to their experiences, resulting in a lot of major names being implicated. Many stories have brought up Twitch streamers and Twitch itself is finally doing something about it. In a recent community update, Twitch announced it would be implementing a stronger response to credible sexual harassment and abuse allegations.
Twitch announced its response to the recent wave of sexual harassment and abuse stories in a community update posted on June 24, 2020. According to the statement, Twitch begin prioritizing investigation into the accusations against Twitch partners with due diligence to determine proper response.
“We’ve prioritized the most severe cases and will begin issuing permanent suspensions in line with our findings immediately,” the statement read. “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.”
Twitch’s response to the matter was initially slow and left many questioning of the company’s direction, resulting in many choosing to partake in a Twitch Blackout on June 24 in which many popular voices chose not to stream as a protest. However, since this latest statement, Twitter has followed up on their words. Some bans have already taken place including that of IAmSp00n, BlessRNG, WarwitchTV, and several more notable channels and personalities.
As Twitch stated, there are some cases in which there is little the company can do, but its promise to reach out and cooperate with authorities on those matters is, at least, something. As allegations come to light, many sectors of the gaming industry are cleaning house. Assassin's Creed Valhalla's creative director has stepped down due to a hidden sexual affair, Mixer shut down after allegations of toxic racism, and several groups have cut ties with industry regular Chris Avellone following allegations of drunken sexual abuse, just to name a few.
Twitch’s efforts towards cleaning its own house and addressing the many ongoing problems of sexual abuse and harassment are promising, and one hopes they stay true to that course even when there aren’t multitudes of credible victims demanding they take action.