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Twitch starts banning streamers over sexual abuse allegations

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A handful of users are already off of the service

A photo of the Twitch logo at an event booth Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

In response to an outpouring of sexual assault and abuse allegations involving talent and management firms, Twitch has started rolling out permanent bans, the company announced Wednesday night.

“We’ve prioritized the most severe cases and will begin issuing permanent suspensions in line with our findings immediately,” Twitch said in a blog post, stating that it is still in the process of investigating some allegations. “In many of the cases, the alleged incident took place off Twitch, and we need more information to make a determination.”

The livestreaming company also promised to develop better tools to deal with harassment, rework its associated policies, and create better detection tools for offensive usernames and chat usage.

While the company did not outright name any streamers in the announcement, a Twitter account dedicated to cataloging bans from the service saw an uptick in posts that coincide with recent allegations. So far, users iAmSp00n, BlessRNG, WarwitchTV, DreadedCone, and Wolv21 have been taken off the service. The biggest livestreamers accused of misconduct, Tom “Syndicate” Cassell and Destiny 2 streamer Lono “SayNoToRage,” have not yet faced repercussions from Twitch. Cassell denied a recent sexual assault allegation, while Lono published an apology video over his actions.

These allegations are a part of a larger wave within the gaming industry, where dozens of women have been sharing stories about misconduct from prominent figures within the space, including developers. Twitch’s actions also come in the heels of a sitewide “blackout” where users vowed to stop streaming for a day to raise awareness of recent allegations.

Twitch encourages users who have more information related to these accusations to use the service’s in-house reporting tools, which are confidential. Twitch CEO Emmett Shear also recently shared an internal email sent to staff, in which he said that the company may take additional measures such as removing promotional opportunities and partnership status, depending on the situation.

“This reckoning and industry-wide actions are overdue, and this is another issue that we, and the industry, need to address and to create lasting and positive change,” Shear wrote.