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Are Twitch Hot-tub streamers ruining the platform? A deep dive into the controversy

A number of female Twitch streamers have been hosting "hot-tub" streams, leading to calls from the community to have them banned.
A number of female Twitch streamers have been hosting "hot-tub" streams, leading to calls from the community to have them banned.
Rishabh B.
ANALYST
Modified 28 Apr 2021
Feature

Since March 2021, Twitch has seen a meteoric rise in the number of hot-tub streamers that exist on the platform.

While there are no specific rules in Twitch’s TOS that stop female streamers from hosting hot-tub streams, a number of people believe that it should be banned. This includes popular Twitch streamer Felix “xQc” Lengyel, who had stated that hot-tub streams are the “most pathetic thing we have seen on Twitch in forever.”

With a considerable part of the community accusing these streamers of deliberately “sexualizing” their streams, Twitch has until now refused to take any action against the female streamers in question. Instead, quite a few Twitch creators have been suspended for criticizing the trend, with the internet seemingly divided on whether hot-tub streamers should be allowed to continue on the platform.


Are hot-tub streamers ruining Twitch? A detailed look into the controversy

Traditionally, Twitch has been a platform that strictly follows its TOS. On many occasions, the platform did not even reveal the specific reason for invoking suspensions/bans. Most notably, the case of Herschel “Dr Disrespect” Beahm IV stands out.

However, the argument on hot-tub streams on Twitch is that they are not against any specific rules of the platform. Some major female streamers who have hosted regular hot-tub streams in recent months are Kaitlyn “Amouranth” Siragusa and Jenelle “IndieFoxx” Dagres. These streamers have been called out by multiple fellow internet personalities for “sexualizing” their streams.

The streamers have been accused of sidestepping a vague area in Twitch’s TOS. In the past, a number of female/male streamers have been suspended/banned due to posting “sexual content” on their platform. This includes Joseph “Mang0” Manuel Marquez, Jasmine “IMJasmine” Vo, and IndieeFoxx. However, the platform has for one reason or another decided that hot-tub streams do not come under the category of “suggestive content.”

The most basic argument in this situation is that all of the above bans came due to live streams that were less suggestive than most hot-tub streams. IndieeFoxx was banned due to indecent exposure, while IMJasmine was involved in a wardrobe malfunction during a hot-tub stream. The streamer would not have received any suspension if she had not suffered the malfunction.

Mang0, a male streamer, was banned due to "humping" an anime figure on a live stream while drunk. Hence, on one hand female streamers are getting away with obviously sexual "hot-tub" streams. On the other, Mang0 got suspended for three days for jokingly "humping" an anime figure. His actions were considered to be "sexually suggestive" by Twitch, and hence were said to be against the platform's TOS.

Twitch’s stance on the matter has seen a lot of outrage from the community. Twitch streamer MsBananas for example, posted the below tweet around a month ago. As can be seen, she accused the female streamers in question of “flaunting their assets” and said that she would rather build a community based on her personality and genuine friendships.

Similarly, Twitch streamer Toby “Udysof” Horne was banned for a day due to a sarcastic “hot-tub” stream that he hosted on 24 April 2021. Unlike most hot-tub streams, Udysof was not wearing a swimsuit, but a typical bra. While the precise reason was again not revealed by Twitch, it seems as if the platform is not banning hot-tub streams because the female streamers in question are not wearing underwear, but “swimsuits.”

However, much of the community believes that the differentiation does not stand, and have questioned the platform’s approach towards the controversy. Streamer Daphne “39Daph” recently posted a tweet explaining why the platform should be blamed and not the individual streamers.

She noted that quite a few Twitch streamers in the past have been banned/suspended for seemingly lesser reasons, and called the platform’s approach “strange.”

Quite a few people have claimed that criticizing female streamers for “hot-tub” streams is wrong. People have said that the streamers in question have the right to wear whatever they want during streams as long as they do not break any specific rule in Twitch’s TOS. A case in point is the ban against IMJasmine due to a “wardrobe malfunction” during a hot-tub stream.

People have noted that hot-tub streams have an increased risk of “wardrobe malfunctions.” Hence, it seems as if Twitch is simply refusing to consider these “hot-tub” streams as suggestive on their own accord. However, if the streamer in question wears only underwear, or undergoes a wardrobe malfunction during the stream, such cases will be seen as an infringement of Twitch’s TOS. Of course, the platform is said to be non-uniform when it comes to the application of its TOS.

In such a situation, many notable internet personalities have claimed that “hot-tub” streams are essentially against the principles on which Twitch has always operated. The platform has its roots deeply entrenched in video-game streaming.

However, the recent trend of hot-tub streams has allowed streamers to generate huge growth in a short period of time. Streamers xoAriel and Firedancer recently suggested in an interview that hot-tub streams are on the wane.

xoAriel was of the opinion that the category had become over-saturated. While this might be true, there are currently two major arguments against the whole trend of “hot-tub” streams. Firstly, people have claimed Twitch has always been banning streamers for smaller reasons.

Secondly, Twitch is looked at by the community as primarily a video-game streaming platform. In this scenario, people have asked Twitch to bring about a change in approach/TOS.

As can be seen, viewers have accused Twitch of letting “hot-tub” streams exist despite their obvious sexually-suggestive material. People believe that these streams are escaping action from the platform as they are attracting a large number of viewers.

Image via r/LivestreamFail, Reddit
Image via r/LivestreamFail, Reddit
Image via r/LivestreamFail, Reddit
Image via r/LivestreamFail, Reddit
Image via r/LiveStreamFail, Reddit
Image via r/LiveStreamFail, Reddit

The platform has encouraged streamers to host “hot-tub” streams by effectively letting them sexualize their streams.

Image via r/LiveStreamFail, Reddit
Image via r/LiveStreamFail, Reddit
Image via r/LiveStreamFail, Reddit
Image via r/LiveStreamFail, Reddit

Twitch can possibly solve the controversy by recognizing these streams as suggestive and then taking action against the streamer. However, due to one reason or another, that has not happened until now.

Published 27 Apr 2021
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