Last week, the hashtag #TwitchBlackout could be seen all over Twitter as many victims decided to share their stories of abuse, racism, sexual harassment, assault, and rape that has plagued their lives. Most of the allegations were aimed at popular streamers on Twitch. The hashtag was created as a way to make Twitch take note of the situation and act. The idea was to not stream at all for one day. One of the organizers, Delacroix606 told The Verge that more than 1,000 streamers committed to staying offline. Delacroix606 hoped that any dip in viewership would send Twitch a message to take action. Twitch wasn’t the only place in the games industry that had to deal with harassment allegations. Several game developers were also accused of allegedly abusing their position within the industry.
— Twitch (@Twitch) June 22, 2020
After #TwitchBlackout was trending on Twitter, Twitch released a statement. Then, a few days later, they released another statement providing an update on their investigations.
We want to provide an update on our investigations into the recent allegations of sexual abuse and harassment involving Twitch streamers and actions we’re taking. 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. We’ve prioritized the most severe cases and will begin issuing permanent suspensions in line with our findings immediately. 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. For those who’ve come forward and would like to share additional information, and to anyone who hasn’t shared their experience and wants to do so, you can report confidentially through the reporting tools on each streamer’s channel page.
We’re also committed to continuing our efforts to make Twitch a safer environment with more tools to combat harassment and hate. We have work underway including a review of our Hateful Conduct and Harassment policies, enhanced offensive username detection, improvements to AutoMod and our Banned Words list, and other projects focused on reducing harassment and hateful conduct.
Those who have come forward have shown incredible strength, vulnerability, and bravery. We acknowledge that we can’t singlehandedly tackle pervasive issues across the gaming and broader internet communities, but we take our responsibility as a service for our community seriously. We will continue to assess accusations against people affiliated with Twitch and explore ways Twitch can collaborate with other industry leaders on this important issue.
Kotaku has reported that more than 50 streamers, a majority of them women, shared stories. As the week went on, Twitch took action and banned several high profile names within streaming. Some of the biggest names include IamSpOOn, Wolv21, BlessRNG, DreadedCone, and WarwitchTV.
IamSpOOn was accused of alleged sexual misconduct and abuse. WarwitchTV allegedly exchanged sexually explicit messages with a former streamer who was a minor at the time. Another streamer has come forward saying that she had allegedly received inappropriate messages from WarwitchTV last month. Wolv21 was accused of allegedly physically taking advantage of a woman at PAX East and sent alleged unwanted sexual DMs. BlessRNG was accused of alleged unwanted sexual advances as well as allegedly repeatedly attempting to make contact with the accuser after she broke off their relationship.
Twitch also banned Dr.Disrepect, one of the bigger names on the platform, although no reason has been given yet.
Streamers were not the only people in the industry who had multiple allegations made against them. Creative Director of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Ashraf Ismail, stepped down from his position after allegations of infidelity were made against him. He had also worked on Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Assassin’s Creed Origins.
Here’s the statement regarding our cooperation with Chris Avellone: pic.twitter.com/ozLXZdVPZw
— Techland (@TechlandGames) June 22, 2020
Writer Chris Avellone was also accused of alleged sexual assault and harassment of women. He was working on Dying Light 2 and Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 as a narrative designer, but, after the allegations were made, he has been dropped from both projects. Techland, developer of Dying Light 2 has released a statement on Twitter. Paradox Interactive, the publisher of Bloodlines 2 said “Chris Avellone briefly worked with the Bloodlines 2 writing team early in development of the game. Through an iterative creative process, however, none of his contributions remain in the game that Hardsuit Labs is continuing to develop.”