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Twitch yanks harassment livestream, but doesn’t ban the user who made it

Twitch yanks harassment livestream, but doesn’t ban the user who made it

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Photo by Amelia Krales / The Verge

Twitch has removed a video featuring a Twitch user broadcasting himself harassing other streamers in real-time, following allegations published on Kotaku UK. The stream in question, titled “If I gotta slap a streamer imma make it look sexy,” targeted London-based streamer Charleyy Hodson and several others. The broadcast aired 11 days ago and remained active on user DiscordBen’s account until yesterday. The video was removed shortly after The Verge reached out to Twitch for comment — but the account in question remains active.

When contacted by The Verge, a Twitch spokesperson said that the company employs a moderation team to respond to reports and act appropriately. “Harassment and raiding are issues we do not tolerate, and will use every option at our disposal to put a stop to them,” the spokesperson said. “Our policies evolve with the community to maintain this commitment, and as new forms of inappropriate behavior surface, we will continue to create best practices, onboard additional Moderators, and develop technology to address them.”

DiscordBen’s stream was part of Twitch’s IRL section, a category that allows users to broadcast themselves engaging in everyday activities. Hodson declined to speak about the video further with us, citing her disapproval with our reporting of DiscordBen’s username. In Hodson’s detailed account of the incident, she explained that DiscordBen appeared in her Twitch chat and began asking her to shoutout the JazzBoys, his community. As more users flooded in with comments about the JazzBoys, Hodson became suspicious.

“I knew at once that I was being raided by a troll group, because I’ve had previous experience with this behaviour,” Hodson wrote in her Kotaku account. “As has probably any woman who’s streamed. But knowing that the camera was pointing at my face and being broadcast to numerous channels I couldn’t watch, engage with or prepare for, I knew I had to be incredibly careful with every single movement to ensure they didn’t ‘win’, they didn’t get the reaction they were looking for. It was paralysing.”

DiscordBen’s messages in Hodson’s chat are fairly innocuous, with him claiming that the JazzBoys are about “empathy, prosperity, and networking within the wider Twitch community.” After sending the message, he adds that it’s a “low-tier troll.” Twitch may have determined that his behavior fell short of its “zero-tolerance harassment violations.

Hodson estimated in her original piece that JazzBoy users remained in her chat, dropping inappropriate messages for about 30-45 minutes. “This descended into someone asking me to shove puzzle pieces up my ass,” she wrote. “Then they started asking things like why I felt it was appropriate to be a ‘slut’ on Twitch to get viewers and donations.” Eventually, the JazzBoys left. “We had a few more of their members appear throughout the rest of the stream, but we all caught on pretty quickly to what they were trying to do,” she wrote.

“now I can get in trouble for being an asshole”

After growing tired of Hodson’s stream, he declares “Let’s go hunting,” and begins joining other streams at random. In the now-deleted stream, which is almost three hours in length, the streamer appears to pick users — who are overwhelmingly women — at random. “This is so much easier when I was like a nobody,” he says while streaming Hodson. “A nobody nobody. A brand new account. But now I can get in trouble for being an asshole.”

Twitch declined to comment on its decision regarding DiscordBen’s account. Although he has not streamed since the video was removed, his channel remains active.