Recently on Twitter, many female members of the gaming and the Twitch community have been coming out about their experiences of sexual assault with male streamers. Twitch posted a message in support of these women, but some view the response from Twitch as not being enough. This is why streamers have been spreading the word and preparing a total blackout on Twitch.
On its Twitter page, Twitch posted this image. While some appreciated the gesture, other streamers didn’t see it as a whole-hearted statement. This is where #twitchblackout comes into play. Streamers have decided to put the platform’s revenue in check by denying it donations, streamers and viewers. With the blackout scheduled for Wednesday 6/24 from 12:00 AM to 11:59 PM, streamers want to take away an entire day of revenue from the platform until more action is taken. The demand here is for Twitch to remove the accused streamers from the platform.
I was a VP at Twitch and I reported this to the relationship-owning VP, the head of HR, and the CEO. All assured me it would be handled. Next year he was in the same VIP space at the same Twitch event. I was told he was the VP’s uncle and an “important” initiative launch partner. https://t.co/LvkPxW43zR
— Justin Wong (@JustinWong) June 22, 2020
While the removal of predatory streamers is one demand, there are also issues of sexual misconduct within the company itself. In response to Twitch’s statement about the harassment, partnered streamer Samantha Wong claimed the company allowed her harasser to continue to be showcased at their events. Even former VP Justin Wong can confirm that Twitch overlooked reports of sexual misconduct.
With a former executive employee of the company confirming a case of harassment being swept under the rug it is possible for more employees to speak out. While Twitch’s CEO at E3 2019 claimed he wanted to have more transparency in the company’s decision making, nobody has seen it.
Will This Movement Bring Change?
It is no question that the gaming community has cases of sexual assault. The issue here is whether or not Twitch will take action against the accused streamers. At this time, it doesn’t seem likely that any real changes will occur. With the #twitchblackout, there may be a lasting impression left on the staff. Whether this makes a difference or not, you may not see your favorite streamer come Wednesday.