A misogynist Twitch rant has streamers calling for clearer rules
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A Twitch user’s misogynist rant has brought the streaming platform’s standards under scrutiny. Last week, professional streamer Trainwrecks lashed out at a group of female Twitch users he deemed “sluts,” telling his audience to “put the pussy where it belongs, on the fucking ground.” Trainwrecks is a member of Twitch’s Partner program, which Twitch bills as an “exclusive” club that lets streamers run paid channels among other perks. The clip spread across Twitter and YouTube, and Twitch temporarily suspended Trainwrecks for hate speech — but said nothing about its de facto endorsement of him. Instead of making the company’s position clear, the move has only heightened long-standing confusion over Twitch policies — without taking a lasting stand against sexism.
As Polygon pointed out in a report this week, many Twitch streamers find the site’s moderation policies erratic. The platform guidelines say first- or second-time offenders are usually banned for 24 hours, with third-time offenders suspended indefinitely, but the exact period is up to Twitch; Trainwrecks, for instance, was suspended for five days over what by his description was a second offense. Lead community manager Aureylian has said that not all punishments are visible bans. The actual policies can also sound confusing, like a rule against “non-gaming” content — which seemingly conflicts with the site’s openness to “IRL” streaming. Since Polygon’s report, Twitch has said it’s removing this specific section of its policy, and revising the list of banned “non-endemic” content.
But since Twitch doesn’t comment on individual cases, it’s impossible to tell why one user might get a warning while another user is banned, which fosters mistrust and suspicion. In this case, it’s exacerbated animosity toward the target of Trainwrecks’ speech: female Twitch users who emphasize sex appeal rather than gaming prowess. Although Trainwrecks issued an apology, Reddit commenters jumped in to support him, claiming Twitch singled him out while letting “self-proclaimed camwhores” break its rules. These claims only intensified when Twitch issued a much shorter 24-hour ban to a female streamer over a sexually explicit video — something that clearer guidelines and more transparent moderation could have stymied.
The problems go beyond suspensions. Twitch approves partners on a case-by-case basis, based on things like high viewership and a consistent schedule. They’re required to follow the code of conduct, like other users. But it’s unclear whether Twitch holds partners’ behavior to a higher standard. Trainwrecks’ status wasn’t affected by this hate speech suspension, and Twitch didn’t respond to questions about whether any violation could affect it. Twitch could offer monetization options without the prestigious “partnership” language, which it’s arguably done with its lower-tier Affiliates program. For now, though, it’s tantamount to an official approval.
That’s one of the things that makes streamer DennyVonDoom, who publicized Trainwrecks’ rant via Twitter, so frustrated. “There needs to be a stronger message sent to people who are supposedly representing the company,” he told The Verge in an email. “Is this what being a Twitch partner stands for?” Twitch has promoted diversity and inclusivity with events like “TwitchUnity” day, he says, but a quiet five-day suspension and continued partner endorsement doesn’t reinforce that message.
This incident is inextricable from the larger conversation on harassment and toxicity in games. Trainwrecks told Kotaku that his complaints applied to “the 0.1 percent [of women] that sexually exploit themselves for views and money” and “hide behind the defense or veil of sexism.” But women can be accused of “exploiting” their looks just by appearing in public. “I can’t wear on stream what I’d wear on a regular non-stream day, for fear of harassment/judgment,” tweeted musician and streamer Resurrection Fern. “If all the titty streamers were gone tomorrow, does anyone really think shitty people would stop degrading and insulting women?” asked streamer Renée Reynosa. “Truth is, they’d just find another hoop for us to jump through.”
Trainwrecks’ comments also evoked the (false) trope that gaming was once the pure province of awkward and usually male nerds, before being overrun with “the fucking god damn same sluts that rejected us,” as he ranted. And he didn’t just object to risque streams, he told viewers to hold all sex workers — and implicitly any woman they found attractive — in contempt. He acknowledged to Kotaku that his words had been “disgusting,” and praised “amazing female streamers that provide great content.” But the basic anger at sexy streamers seems unchanged, and it’s the same reasoning that lets trolls harass almost any female streamer for “manipulating” men.
Twitch didn’t create this controversy, but the company could address its fallout more seriously. Clearer, consistently enforced rules would make it more obvious what Twitch thinks belongs on Twitch, instead of leaving it up for debate among self-appointed gatekeepers. The platform could create a moderation team that’s more open about its actions. DennyVonDoom also suggests preserving material that’s reported for rule violations, instead of deleting evidence. “There are people in those offices that care a lot,” he says of Twitch. “But if the issue continues to be spoken of as ‘the internet is just being the internet,’ then I will be disappointed.”
Update 1:30PM ET: Updated pseudonym for DennyVonDoom.
A Twitch user’s misogynist rant has brought the streaming platform’s standards under scrutiny. Last week, professional streamer Trainwrecks lashed out at a group of female Twitch users he deemed…
Trainwrecks Banned from Twitch Over Sexist Comments
Notorious live online gaming streamer Trainwrecks was officially banned from social media site Twitch after he was found to have made a number of sexist comments regarding female streamers.
Image Credit: youtube.com
Unprecedented Sexist Rant
Trainwrecks, renowned for his World of Warcraft live streaming, was prevented from posting any further streams on Twitch for a five-day period.
It was a decision that came from Twitch after a video he made on the site about the rise in female users flaunting their body parts went viral. The rant included content that was considered offensive and attracted a large number of complaints from across the streaming community.
The first clip of the rant stated, “I’m sick of this shit. I’m sick of all the bullshit happening in this community. This used to be a god damn community of gamers, nerds, kids that got bullied, kids that got fucked with, kids that resorted to the gaming world because the real world was too fucking hard, too shitty, too lonely, too sad and depressing.”
“Now it’s run by the fucking god damn same sluts that rejected us, the same sluts that chose the god damn cool kids over us. The same sluts that are coming into our community, taking the money, taking the subs, the same way they did back in the day.”
“Fuck that, I am the god damn reality check. I am the god damn fucking king and I will lead you.”
Image Credit: clips.twitch.tv
Once Is Not Enough?!
In a second clip, Trainwrecks went even further by saying “We fuck a girl, good. We leave her that way, we put the pussy where it belongs, on the fucking ground. On the fucking couch. You don’t put it on the pedal-stool. Not in this fucking stream. You don’t put that shit on a pedal-stool. That shit belongs on the ground mother fucker. Get that shit in your head.”
He eventually added “JOBD. Jerk Off Before Donating. We don’t fuck around here. And if you’re sick of it, if you’re sick of it too, if you’re sick of all the god damn white knights, the god damn white knights that sit there, they defend, but at the end of the day they’re nothing. At the end of the day they get abused by the same girls. Give me an AP in the chat.”
Needless to say, it was a rant that drew controversy immediately. Trainwrecks was forced to put out an apology and he received widespread condemnation from those that labelled his remarks as sexist and misogynistic.
Image Credit: youtube.com
Unbelievably, it is not even the first time Trainwrecks has been banned by Twitch. The streamer confessed that he had been banned on a number of previous occasions for streaming inappropriate content.
“I’m So Sorry… Like, Seriously…”
Trainwrecks full apology read, “I’d like to apologize to all those that were negatively affected by my actions, in no way was this content meant to demean, bash, or hate on the entirety of the female community. There are amazing female streamers that provide great content, it was not my intention to discredit them all in any way, and I understand that this content did exactly that, and I am embarrassed.”
He continued, “With all of this being said, I want to reiterate that none of this justifies, or excuses my behavior and actions. I take full responsibility, and I want to apologize to Twitch, Twitch Staff, and most of all to those that I have offended, including the entire community.”
Old Habits Die Hard
Unfortunately, it appeared that despite making this apology, Trainwrecks lacked sincerity and had not learned from his suspension from Twitch. Over the following hours after the release of the apology, he was seen retweeting a number of tweets on Twitter that criticized ‘bikini streamers’.
The support for Trainwrecks comments came with fellow streamers suggesting that he was simply addressing a real issue and that his comments were not intended to criticize the female gender as a whole.
Twitch user StreamerTV stated, “I’ve researched #twitch for a long time. @Trainwreckstv is talking about booby streamers, not all “Women” on Twitch.”
A Twitter user, @OfficialChasho, tweeted Trainwrecks to say, “Bullshit, I hate twitch every time someone speaks the truth and calls out someone they just ban the person. It’s a bullshit scare tactic!”
However, in the main, Trainwrecks did receive a lot of criticism for his hate-fuelled comments. A number of critics focused on the tone and content of the speech, with the streamer being branded an ‘medieval’.
One individual, @TejasSiempre, tweeted, “Should be a perma ban for what you said man, grow up!”.
Another user, @Critterbites, said, “5 days go hard at the gym. Come back a bigger, stronger, more savage ape!”
Image Credit: twitter.com
Some Twitch users simply expressed frustration at a lack of clarity over rules. Holyzorea stated “Hey @Twitch would it be possible for you to PLEASE clarify your ToS and then start applying them evenly across the board? Give your viewers confidence that when they report a stream, it’ll be taken seriously. That would end this.”
Tip of the Iceberg
As the ongoing battle between various schools of thought over what is acceptable streaming content on Twitch continues, there is a feeling that this is just one of a number of issues relating to the social media site that is showing no signs of going away.
The rules of Twitch officially state that “Non-Gaming: You may not stream non-gaming content as the focus of a stream. Please keep your broadcast content related to a gaming theme. While not all of your stream must be directly gaming, we do not allow extended periods of non-gaming content to be broadcast on Twitch.”
Image Credit: blog.twitch.tv
Sadly, these regulations are still seemingly being manipulated by a minority of users. Twitch has recently confirmed that a number of changes are being passed to crack down on those that attempt to produce inappropriate content.
With how saturated the Twitch gaming industry is, you'll undoubtedly come across some controversial people. Find out why Trainwrecks was officially banned.