Twitch addresses sexual assault allegations by suspending streamers

Brandon McIntyre

Twitch is now addressing sexual assault allegations on a case-by-case basis following a series of sexual misconduct claims.

The live stream platform is now “looking into the recent allegations of sexual abuse and harassment involving Twitch streamers and actions we’re taking,” according to a Wednesday blog post. “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.”

Twitch is prioritizing each allegation by the level of severity “and will begin issuing permanent suspensions in line with our findings immediately.”

“We’re also committed to continuing our efforts to make Twitch a safer environment with more tools to combat harassment and hate,” Twitch states. “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.”

Sexual assault victims on the platform can report instances of harassment or misconduct through “reporting tools on each streamer’s channel page.”

While Twitch recognizes its limitations in finding solutions to widespread issues such as sexual assault, the company takes its “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.”

Twitch’s commitment comes days after CEO Emmett Shear’s pledge to address the platform’s sexual assault victims.

Streamers responded to Twitch’s statements on sexual misconduct. Twitch streamer Katie Robinson said, “Statements are cool, but when you’ve got a past history of doing the exact opposite, well I’m not gonna believe what you’re saying until I see action,” according to The Verge.

“There need to be harsher consequences for people who do these kinds of predatory things on the platform,” Nati Casanova told The Verge.

Since Twitch’s announcement, Dr Disrespect, who had more than 4 million followers on the platform, was banned.

“As is our process, we take appropriate action when we have evidence that a streamer has acted in violation of our Community Guidelines or Terms of Service,” a Twitch spokesperson told Digital Trends. “These apply to all streamers regardless of status or prominence in the community.”

Twitch has faced this dilemma for quite some time, as the series of allegations show, and the streaming platform now appears committed to addressing the issue head-on. Although it’s merely a start, Twitch’s actions and statements represent a change in the right direction.

Updated on June 26, 2020: Added news of Dr Disrepect’s banning and Twitch’s response.