After streamers Kaitlyn “Amouranth” Siragusa and Janelle “indiefoxx” Dagres were banned on Twitch, the platform has come under scrutiny for allowing overtly “sexual content.”
It all started around March 2021, when Twitch saw a sudden, meteoric rise in the number of “hot-tub” streams on the platform. While a range of content creators including Imane “Pokimane” Anys and her Offline TV friends have hosted “wholesome” hot-tub streams in recent months, the majority of the hot-tub streams were said to be sexually suggestive.
As a result, Twitch, a platform whose roots lie in traditional “video-game” streaming, was encouraged by the community to take action against hot-tub streams. Twitch streamer Felix “xQc” Lengyel, who called hot-tub streams the “most pathetic thing we have seen on Twitch in forever,” was only one of the popular content creators who spoke out against the new meta.
However, despite calls from the community to take action, Twitch did not issue any response for the longest time. Eventually, towards the end of April, Marcus "djWheat" Graham, the head of Creator Development at Twitch, responded to the controversy and stated that streamers are allowed to wear bathing suits in an appropriate context.
The context was obviously claimed to be “inappropriate” by a majority of the community. On May 21st, Twitch released a statement introducing the new “Pools, Hot Tubs and Beaches” category, effectively legitimizing the meta. Eventually, as Natalia “Alinity” Mogollon predicted, “hot-tub” streams eventually fizzled out in popularity.
The problem that most people have is that they have been replaced by a new, even more “sexually-suggestive” ASMR streaming meta. People are calling out Twitch for allowing sexual content on the platform in the first place, as the situation appears to have snowballed in recent weeks.
Twitch comes under fire for allowing “sexual content” in the first place
Ever since the hot-tub meta grew popular on the platform, Twitch has been called on to respond and take action. However, the popularity of these streams was said to be a reason why the platform was reluctant to ban streamers from posting suggestive streams. The streamers were accused of “side-stepping” a gray area in Twitch’s TOS to host hot-tub streams.
Twitch itself seemed intent on allowing hot-tub streams to continue and took a rigid stance, stating that the streams are not suggestive as the content creators are wearing “bathing-suits.”
"We understand at Twitch that this has been getting a lot of attention from the community lately, and we have been watching closely. Our nudity and attire policy does allow bathing suits in an appropriate context, and hot tubs do fall under that criteria. However, what has not changed is the sexually suggestive and explicit content is not allowed under the guidelines, under the TOS."
However, it must be noted that a number of streamers in the past have been suspended/banned “sexual content on the platform,” with most users stating that a majority of the hot-tub streams are obviously more suggestive than the streams creators were previously getting banned for. Some streamers who have been banned for “wardrobe malfunctions” or broadcasting “suggestive content” are Joseph “Mang0” Manuel Marquez, Jasmine “IMJasmine” Vo, and IndieeFoxx.
In such a scenario, Twitch decided that it will not be taking an “umbrella stand” on hot-tub streams, and will decide if individual streams are “suggestive or not.”
The situation has since snow-balled. Streamers such as Amouranth and Indiefoxx found ways to make their hot-tub streams “suggestive” without breaking any rules or wearing anything other than “bathing-suits.” While Twitch attempted to take a diverse, inclusive stand, it has led to a situation where streamers are “licking their microphones while staring at their viewers,” an action which is obviously sexually-suggestive. However, it is not against any specific rule or the TOS.
This is even more astounding, as in February 2021, the platform banned “alinaarose” for licking a microphone suggestively. The indefinite ban does not appear to have been lifted yet and was levied four months ago. However, Amouranth and Indieefoxx were banned for bigger violations. But, they returned to the platform after just over three days.
Currently, Twitch is not only allowing creators to find new ways to post suggestive content without necessarily breaking rules, it also seems reluctant to follow its TOS the same way as it did just a few months ago. In such a scenario, content creators such as Amouranth and Indieefoxx are bound to find it worth their time to post “suggestive streams,” considering the kind of traction that they attract.
The suspensions/bans that the platform is giving out are temporary. Due to the lack of severe action, suggestive content continues to exist on Twitch for the time being.
Finally, it must be remembered that streamers such as Matt "Dellor" Vaughn had to go through a lot more for arguably lesser violations. He broke his keyboard due to rage and was only allowed to return to the platform after more than a year, in October 2020.
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