The gaming community has been shocked by the multiple women coming forward accusing streamers of sexual misbehaviour, abuse of power, and general harassment towards them.
Some streamers like SayNoToRage have admitted the allegations against him are true, while some others, like YouTube sensation Syndicate, have completely denied everything his accusers have stated.
What is #TwitchBlackout?
It's amid this troublesome context that a movement was set in motion, involving streamers stepping away from the platform for 24 hours due to Twitch's lack of response, called Twitch Blackout.
WE ARE CALLING FOR A #TWITCHBLACKOUT— Third Artifact #BIM (@third_artifact) June 22, 2020
In effort to get @twitch@eshear to take note of:
- sexual harassment, assault and rape
We are asking streamers of all sizes to WITHHOLD FROM STREAMS ON WED 6/24 12am - 11:59pm
MAKE THEM NOTICE
“In effort to get Twitch to take note of: abuse, racism, sexual harassment, assault and rape we are asking streamers of all sizes to WITHHOLD FROM STREAMS ON WED 6/24 12am - 11:59pm MAKE THEM NOTICE,” streamer Third Artifact would teet on June 22nd.
- Read More: Amaz, popular Hearthstone streamer, accused of forcing a girl into a hot tub with players during a tournament
The reasoning behind the boycott, Artifact explained, is that it can directly impact Twitch's revenue.
"We are not by any means trying to silence the survivors of sexual assault, the whole point was to talk about these issues on platforms where Twitch wouldn't make any money. No ad revenue, subs, bits, anything like that."
Which streamers support #TwitchBlackout?
A lot of streamers immediately showed public support for the initiative. One of them was Joseph Morgan, an actor known for his role on the hit TV show "The Vampire Diaries".
Cancelling my stream tomorrow in support of #TWITCHBLACKOUT— Joseph Morgan (@JosephMorgan) June 23, 2020
"Cancelling my stream tomorrow in support of #TWITCHBLACKOUT,” the actor tweeted out.
Hasanabi, another streamer with a big following, also showed solidarity with the movement, promising to cancel his stream for the entire day.
Who will not be participating in #TwitchBlackout?
A significant majority of streamers have voiced their concerns regarding the blackout with there thinking being it has the potential to silence rather than amplify victims. Long time community member, Trihex, expressed he would continue with his regular schedule, as he doubts the movement will have a positive impact when it comes to raising awareness on the toxic culture surrounding gaming.
I don't think #TwitchBlackout is effective towards the goal of provoking certain change within Twitch.— trihex ✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿#BlackLivesMatter (@trihex) June 23, 2020
I'll still be live tomorrow & use my platform to bring awareness towards the issue(s) rather than voluntarily relinquish my voice to be neglected to the twitter-verse. pic.twitter.com/LACaSkVUcC
“I don't think #TwitchBlackout is effective towards the goal of provoking certain change within Twitch. I'll still be live tomorrow & use my platform to bring awareness towards the issue(s) rather than voluntarily my voice to be neglected to the twitter-verse.”
Felix "xQc" Lengyel explained why he would also be rejecting the idea of joining the blackout, commenting on, what he saw as, the backward logic behind it, criticizing those that support going silent on a time where issues like sexual assault need to be put front and centre.
“In a space where you want to declare things and expose evil and sh*t : ‘oh guys, just do a blackout. Don’t post on social media. Stop the coverage. Stop showing. In a time where people need to see, don’t show anything,’” he claimed on his June 23rd stream.
Snugibun took a different approach, instead of supporting the blackout, decided to schedule a charity stream to support the survivors of assault.
#TWITCHBLACKOUT I will not sit silenced.— Snugibun (@Snugibun) June 23, 2020
Tomorrow we stream for charity starting at 5PM EST! There will be product giveaways thanks to my partners @CORSAIR , as well as, lots of pickle eating. I hear you. I believe you. I stand with you. pic.twitter.com/dlDgK8X1AB
“Tomorrow we stream for charity starting at 5PM EST! There will be product giveaways thanks to my partners CORSAIR as well as lots of pickle eating. I hear you. I believe you. I stand with you.”
The CEO of Twitch, Emmett Shear, also released a statement addressing the company's lukewarm response, apologising in the process and promising to make the platform a haven that eradicates things like harassment or abuse.
“I want to be clear that I do care, deeply, about Twitch being a place where people can create together without fear of harassment, abuse, or retaliation. If at some point you’ve heard my comments and felt that they were dismissive or that Twitch doesn’t care, I’m sorry that happened and I want you to know than in no way was that my intent.”
All in all, it seems the blackout isn't going as expected for supporters of the movement, as the Just Chatting directory alone has almost 300,000 viewers at the time of writing.