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PUBG creator draws the line at real-world threats

Role-playing Twitch streamer lashes out after ban, prompts thoughtful response from dev

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Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

A popular role-playing Twitch streamer was recently banned from Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds for breaking its code of conduct during live gameplay. That ban led to a feisty, in-character back-and-forth with the game’s creator, Brendan “Playerunknown” Greene. But that dialogue took a turn toward towards violence, prompting a thoughtful response by Greene on the nature of online communication.

It may surprise you to learn that Battlegrounds, the multiplayer survival game known for its no-holds-barred fights to the death, actually has a firm set of rules. Chief among them is not to kill your teammates. A Twitch personality who goes by the name Dr Disrespect broke that rule flagrantly when he team-killed another player because their vehicle didn’t have enough room to seat them.

Shortly after this clip was recorded Dr Disrespect found that he had been banned. Instead of taking it in stride and working to get himself reinstated he threatened Greene on Twitter.

Now, those who follow Dr Disrespect on Twitch know that he has a bit of a schtick going on. He plays in dark glasses while wearing a wig, and his Twitter account is far from straight-laced. It all appears to be part of an elaborate, off-the-cuff style of role-play and clearly the persona is different than the man behind the stache.

Playful or not, the threat of violence hit Greene close to home.

“Suggesting violence is the best way to solve a disagreement is just wrong,” Greene wrote in reply, “even if you are playing a character.”

But there’s a bit more to the story. From Greene’s Twitlonger:

I was told that I should have taken The Docs threat of violence as a joke. So now I will try explaining why I took this tweet seriously and tweeted out the response I did.

Story time!

When I was in college, many years ago, I had a disagreement with my flat mate. Instead of talking it out like men, he decided to get aggressive and while I was backing away from him, he kicked me in the chest and put my head through a plate glass door. Thankfully, I don’t suffer from any ill effects due to this experience.

The point of that story is to attempt to explain why I think even the threat of violence is not something that should be joked about. Given my experience in college, and the fact that The Doc’s threat, even as a joke, synced up closely to a bad experience I endured, it could have brought up bad memories, triggered a panic attack or had other consequences The Doc might not have intended when composing the tweet.

All I ask from anyone that reads this is to consider that your words, however flippant they may be, could have unintended effects on those reading them.

Adding some irony to the situation is the fact that the ban was only temporary. In the mean time, Dr Disrespect seems to have moved on to Destiny 2.

Correction: Dr Disrespect’s mustache does indeed appear to be real. We have corrected the article to reflect that.

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