Video game streaming platforms investigating allegations of sexual harassment

Several major companies that stream or work with video games, including Twitch, Microsoft and YouTube, said they were investigating recent allegations of misconduct that surfaced online in recent days, according to statements.

Over the weekend, a series of allegations of sexual misconduct and racism were made against many in the gaming world, some of whom use Twitch, YouTube, and other platforms.

On Sunday, the streaming service Twitch said it would analyze allegations of sexual harassment by its users, business partners and others, according to company statements.

“We take allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct very seriously,” Twitch said in a statement on Twitter. “We are actively investigating the accounts of Twitch-affiliated broadcasters and will work with law enforcement when appropriate.”

Twitch CEO Emmett Sheer also tweeted an email from across the company, saying all allegations of misconduct were under investigation.

“We support people who show up, we commend their bravery in doing so, and we know that there are many others who have not,” Sheer said in the statement.

Sheer added that while they were unable to release all the details of the investigation, Twitch was working “urgently to address them” so that the platform could be accessible and more secure for all who use it.

Twitch did not respond to a request for additional comment from NBC News.

Users of other platforms were also hit with various accusations. Several YouTubers were accused of sexual harassment and misconduct.

YouTube declined to comment to NBC News but said it was investigating the allegations.

Mixer, Microsoft’s streaming service, announced Monday that it would shutdown and redirect to Facebook Gaming.

“We have decided to close down the Mixer operations side and help the community transition to a new platform. To better meet the needs of our community, we are partnering with Facebook to allow the Mixer community to transition to Facebook. Gaming “Mixer said in a blog post

Mixer’s closure was unrelated to the charges leveled against him.

But prior to this announcement, Milan K. Lee, a former employee, made racist charges against Mixer, saying he was “one of the only black people” who worked at the company during his tenure. He also stated that the managers made racist statements and that after an internal investigation, that manager was not penalized.

Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s executive vice president of gaming, responded to Lee, thanking him for introducing himself.

“If they want, can we connect so that I can learn and understand more? Racism will not be tolerated in our teams or in our services,” Spencer said. In the responses, Lee accepted the meeting.

Microsoft also told NBC News in a statement that it does not tolerate discrimination.

“We do not tolerate any form of discrimination and we fully investigate all employee concerns. We do not discuss the details of such investigations,” said a Microsoft spokesperson.

Allegations of discrimination and harassment are not new to the gaming world. In 2019, NBC News spoke to a dozen women at the San Diego Twitch Convention, TwitchCon, who said they experienced harassment on the platform.

At the time, Twitch said it had added additional moderators to its moderation team to better handle harassment claims.