Dr Disrespect finally breaks silence on Twitch ban, raises more questions than answers
See updates below.
[Original story 6/27/2020]
It’s been an odd week for the video game community. And I mean stranger than a normal week, which is usually pretty weird already.
Things started with some surprising accusations about Destiny 2 streamer SayNoToRage who quickly spilled over into a fledgling #MeToo movement that, in just a few days, saw many video game streamers and developers fall from grace, including the director of Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla and other Ubisoft executives.
Twitch released a statement so generic that it honestly isn’t worth printing, but I will do it anyway as we have to do our journalistic duty even though giant companies can’t be bothered by even the tiniest bit of transparency.
“As this is our process, we take appropriate action when we have evidence that a streamer has acted in violation of our community guidelines or our terms of service. These apply to all streamers, regardless regardless of their status or importance in the community. “
Great, how noble. Although, frankly, Twitch doesn’t have a particularly strong reputation in this regard.
Most of what we know so far comes from a few with inside sources like eSports journalist Rod Breslau (whose work you absolutely must follow). He tweeted that the reason for the ban is unrelated to the DMCA and his sources have told him the reason, but he is uncomfortable sharing it publicly due to the sensitivity of the matter:
Beyond that, it’s mom who has the word.
But now Dr Disrespect himself has spoken out by sending a public tweet about the Twitch ban:
“Twitch did not inform me of the specific reason for their decision… Firm handshakes to all for support during this difficult time,” Beahm writes.
I have some issues with this. First and foremost, it just doesn’t make sense. There are two big reasons why this doesn’t make sense and probably several other smaller reasons.
Reason # 1 – Why wait so long to tweet this very brief statement? If Twitch banned me, and I was a top streamer, and they didn’t tell me why. . . I’d be on Twitter in a flash saying it. I wouldn’t let all this mystery and gossip run wild online without at least saying, “Hey, I have no idea what’s going on right now and Twitch won’t tell me.” Beahm waited a day before he tweeted anything. Perhaps there are extenuating circumstances to this – he may have been camping in a remote wilderness – but at the moment, that doesn’t make sense.
Reason # 2 – This statement only reveals one data point, which is that Twitch did not tell Beahm why he was banned. He leaves out other important factors, such as whether Dr Disrespect himself is aware of the reason. It goes without saying that whatever happens, he knows it. It seems incredibly unlikely, given Reason # 1, that he is unaware and completely unaware of the reasons for the ban. whether or not Twitch communicated it directly to him. If sources tell journalists like Breslau what’s going on, surely the doctor himself knows.
Unless . . . something even worse has happened and Twitch and the handful of people who know what is going on are not allowed to say anything to Beahm. It conjures up some really bad scenarios that I won’t go into here – it’s not polite to speculate on something of this nature, after all. But it’s certainly strange, and Dr. Disrespect’s statement only adds to the confusion and fear we all feel about it.
I would like more transparency from everyone involved, quite frankly. All this opacity and absurd silence is fueling speculation and rumor and no one deserves it. The truth will come out, as they say. It’s always like that. You might as well tear off the bandage and finish it off. The fact that Twitch didn’t even tell Beahm the reasons (assuming that’s true) is absolutely absurd. This is definitely no way to treat one of your biggest stars, even a star that I personally am not a fan of. It’s very, um, disrespectful.
Hopefully we get to the bottom of this soon.
It was interesting to see the reaction to this post online. Some people seem to agree that this is all pretty fishy. Others accused me of … well, I’m not sure what.
Write a horrible, crappy article that somehow attacks Dr Disrespect or, alternatively, that I’m a mad Doc fan (the “terror-filled” line has apparently been viewed by some as very literal as opposed to ironic. Everything is lost in the translation).
Others have accused me of hiding an opinion piece as a direct story, but my blog is almost entirely opinion piece. I rarely report direct news. I am a critic and a thinker. I don’t believe I have drifted into futile speculation, and I certainly haven’t made any accusations or put forward any theories. I just said that things don’t add up and this whole thing is somewhat unsettling. It’s hard not to let your mind drift to very bad things when we just don’t know, well, anything and everyone who Is I know something won’t publicly comment on this because it’s so “sensitive”.
We have yet to hear anything substantive from either Dr Disrespect or Twitch, without any new statements from either side. This may be because Twitch simply does not share information when issuing a permanent ban according to Breslau:
“food for thought,” Breslau tweeted on Sunday. “Twitch does not give streamers specific reasons for permanent bans. MethodJosh has been banned over a report of sexual assault and Twitch has never commented publicly or privately. Josh & Ice Poseidon have been notified of ‘Others violations of TOS “.
Meanwhile, there’s a big plot going around this new Brime streaming service that streamers Ninja, Shroud, and Dr. Disrespect were apparently going to settle down together. The theory is that Twitch got wind of Doc trying to poach streamers to switch to Brime and that’s why he was banned.
I don’t think this theory holds up much water for a whole host of reasons, and you should read Paul Tassi’s breakdown on why it really doesn’t make sense (and doesn’t have any verifiable sources). here.
So it’s been several days now and beyond Dr Disrespect’s tweet above, we haven’t heard any new details on this story. This is quite surprising in itself. I thought for sure that by the end of the day by Monday there would be more details on this – rumors, leaks, something. And yet. . . In the west, nothing is new.
Now that the Brime story has been roughly debunked, there are two emerging theories as to exactly what is going on, although neither is a sure thing.
Theory # 1 it is that this is something criminal in nature, and that maybe even the FBI is involved in some way or another, although what the crime is supposed to be is an enigma. This would explain why anyone who apparently knows something remains so silent because it would, indeed, be very “sensitive”.
On the other hand, this is exactly the kind of scenario that I can’t imagine sitting still for more than a day or two. Once a secret is shared, it’s no longer a secret, after all. And something as juicy as that would almost certainly be leaked to the press. Someone with loose lips would speak and we would have a whirlwind of gossip at this point. So this really bad scenario now seems a lot less likely to me than it was the other day, which is, I guess, a good thing.
Theory # 2 is that Twitch is simply cracking down on what they perceive to be toxicity on the site. The streaming service hasn’t really emerged from the recent controversy and looks particularly good, and it’s possible that they are just taking quick action to rid the site of as many “toxic” numbers as possible.
While Dr Disrespect has not been involved in any of the recent #MeToo allegations, he has become involved in other controversies, namely, spilling conspiracy theories on 5G towers and the coronavirus and peddling ideas from known conspiracy theorist David Icke.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Twitch decided that a high-profile ban on someone pushing these kinds of crazy ideas would send a strong message and that’s it. But the point is, as my colleague Dave Thier argues, we may never know the whole story.
Update: Dr. Disrespect posted his first video since the Twitch ban. You can watch it here.