‘Twitch blackout’ sees streamers protesting the company’s inaction

Several Twitch streamers have suspended their broadcasts for 24 hours in protest of the company’s inaction after multiple sexual assault allegations against community members.

People in the video game industry began publishing charges of “gender discrimination, harassment and sexual assault since Friday,” according to the New York Times. More than 70 people have submitted their own stories, accusing many Twitch Partners and top streamers, such as Tom “ProSyndicate” Cassell and Henry “HenryG” Greer.

The hashtag, #TwitchBlackout, started on June 22 after Twitch released a short statement on the allegations. “We take allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct extremely seriously,” Twitch wrote in the statement posted on Twitter. “We are actively investigating the accounts of Twitch affiliated broadcasters and will work with law enforcement when appropriate. We are grateful for the courage shown by those who have come to speak about their experiences, and we are committed to working to make the broadcast community safer for everyone. “

For much of the community, this statement was not enough. Tanya DePass, a Twitch partner and director of I Need Diverse Games, told Polygon that she is looking for more specific action. “ONCE speak and say that [named streamers] they are being removed from the partner program, which has no place on Twitch, “DePass told Polygon by email.” Your usual MO of not saying anything in response to ongoing cases is not enough. Get some transparency on the actions. taken so we don’t feel like we’re just screaming in a vacuum when we report harassment, harassment, etc. “

DePass said the Twitch blackout is a good idea, but that more planning was needed, specifically to create more “planned actions beyond a day off” and a “double plan that includes people who can’t skip a day.” . However, she added on Twitter that there is no shame in participating. It’s just that more continuous work is also necessary.

Amelia, a Twitch streamer who runs through Spectissa online, said she saw people embarrassed for participating or not in the blackout, a phenomenon that made her worry about the hashtag. “Many streamers have no idea this is happening outside of Twitter,” he told Polygon by email. “I want to use today to talk more about these topics on Twitch.”

Brian Gray, a variety broadcaster on Twitch, told Polygon that his immediate thinking regarding the hashtag was similar: “What about the next day or the next day?” However, he posted on Twitter that he will participate in the protest.

“During the pandemic, we have still found ways to support our society towards justice and accountability,” said Gray. “Either protesting on the streets or staying indoors and making a donation to charity. In this case, the content creators are essentially independent contractors who deny Twitch income through a cheap boycott. Companies, especially those with a majority online presence, find it too easy to make statements and gestures about change, but they don’t take real action to protect their users, whether they see us as assets or customers. “

Gray said the participants are not trying to “take down” Twitch with the blackout, but “instead ask them to take a real look at security on their platform rather than simply issuing statements that say ‘We are listening.'”

Mackenzie, the Twitch streamer who helped organize the blackout, clarified her position in a video posted on Twitter. “We are in no way trying to silence survivors of sexual assault,” he said. “The goal was to talk about these issues on platforms where Twitch would not make money.” She clarified that the people who They are The broadcast and use of the day to talk about these issues on Twitch are still going their way.

To update: A representative from Twitch told Polygon via email: “We support the rights of our streamers to express themselves and draw attention to important issues in our service. We know there is work to be done, and we are listening to these comments and urgently working to make Twitch a safer place for everyone in the community. “