Today, Twitch announced a set of emote modifiers in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month — and then it ended up pulling them before the day’s end because they were incredibly insensitive.
2020 is a year of Ls, and Twitch has taken a disproportionate number of them in the last few months. This isn’t the first time the company has had something like this happen when it was ostensibly trying to honor marginalized groups who have a large presence on the site. Back in July, the streaming platform had two similar back-to-back gaffes: the first involved LGBTQ representation and the second was about Black Lives Matter.
Twitch initially posted a video on July 5th — just after the end of Pride Month — that attempted to honor its LGBTQ creators but was widely denounced online because the site said that the “G” in LGBTQIA+ also stood for “gamer.” (I don’t even know, y’all.)
The company’s Black Lives Matter video, on the other hand, just didn’t feature many Black people. As Polygon put it back then: “Today’s video, which lasted for just under a minute, had one line spoken by a Black streamer. Black streamers comprised 11 seconds of the video’s run time.”
All this is despite Twitch’s very public creation of a safety and advisory council to advise the company on issues that affect the various communities across the site. So what gives?
The issues that affect the historically marginalized groups on Twitch don’t happen in a vacuum, and it’s kind of admirable that the company seems to want to care about those people on its platform. But it’s very strange to see it beef it every single time. It’s almost like it’d rather publicly take Ls than talk to any of the many, many streamers who fit into the groups the company wants to highlight and celebrate.