To put it bluntly, the video game industry is riddled with stories of sexual abuse, racial discrimination, and stories of misconduct. These issues are present in all aspects of the industry, from journalism, to publishers and developers, to PR. 2020 has been a big year for exposing the places that house these cultures, and yet another major name has been thrown into the mix. Several Twitch employees have stepped forward, sharing a wide range of experiences with misconduct and mistreatment over the years.
This story comes courtesy of the excellent reporting being done over at GameIndustry.biz. The outlet spoke to a former Twitch employee, who shared her own experience with both sexual and racial abuse during her time at the company.
"I've been hesitant for years to share my story and the events that happened to me during my employment at Twitch," the ex-employee shared, "but with the recent events and their statement on Twitter, I feel compelled to share and speak out against their blatant lies to 'create a safe community.'"
The employee is referencing a social post made to Twitter by Twitch CEO Emmet Shear back in June, where he expressed support for all of the people coming forward and exposing toxic workplace behavior. It was this message that prompted her to come forward and point out the hypocrisy in Twitch’s statement.
Unfortunately, that is not the end of Twitch’s toxic environment stories. GameIndustry.biz spoke to 16 other past and present Twitch employees, several of which shared unique stories of experiencing misconduct at the company. Many of these stories detailed a misogynistic culture that lived at Twitch. One woman called it “a boys club,” another said “no one really took women seriously there.”
Though not as common as reports of misogyny, some ex-employees shared stories of racial insensitivity during their time at Twitch. One particular former employee felt as though the wellbeing and consideration for the minority experience at Twitch wasn’t given much attention, and attributed this problem to the lack of diversity in Twitch’s leadership. One employee said that the rampant racist behavior experienced on Twitch was written off as “teenagers being edgy and thus not as serious."
GameIndustry.biz’ full article is a very in-depth look and breakdown at how sexual and racial misconduct are ever present at the gaming industry’s most popular streaming platform. We’ve seen similar stories come out of companies like Ubisoft and EVO. These only make up a fraction of what is an industry ridden with toxic cultures and work environments.