Multiple Twitch employees have spoken about about the harmful culture going on in the company. In June, the gaming industry began seeing countless abuse claims, including accusations against Twitch streamers. Now, the platform itself is facing its own #MeToo moment as Twitch employees detail occurrences of systemic sexism, racism, and abuse at the company.
“I feel compelled to share and speak out against their blatant lies to ‘create a safe community,'” a former Twitch employee told GamesIndustry.biz. “It took place in the office. At events. In meetings and behind closed doors. It was rampant and unavoidable.”
The employee was referencing a memo sent by Twitch CEO Emmett Shear in which he supported people speaking out and the need for change in the industry. The employee, however, claims complaints about harassment and abuse, including sexual, verbal, physical abuse, and racism, were swept under the rug.
GamesIndustry.biz has said that it has spoken with 16 current and former Twitch employees, who have either confirmed the employee’s allegations or claimed to never have seen any misconduct. Meanwhile, a Twitch spokesperson stated that all allegations are investigated and addressed, yet one employee asserted that the company demonstrated “an explicit tolerance for misogyny.”
When Amazon acquired Twitch in 2014, the company said it was determined to create a more diverse and welcoming environment for women and minorities, yet several women said they’d been sexually assaulted by male staff, including forced kisses, groping, and inappropriate massages. Despite filing numerous complaints with HR, the women were routinely dismissed.
In June, Samantha Wong and her husband former Twitch VP Justin Wong publicly questioned Twitch’s commitment to ending sexual harassment. “These are empty words considering you, as a company, minimized and dismissed my sexual harassment and continued to let the predator attend your events and gave him live segments at E3 on your official channel,” Samantha wrote on Twitter.
Justin confirmed Samantha’s version of events, noting that he had reported the harassment to top managers. Despite speaking out, the alleged predator continued to attend events since he was considered “an important initiative launch partner.”
Other employees claim the company overlooked racism, dismissing the “safety concerns of racial and ethnic minorities, women, and people from other under-represented groups.” In addition, Twitch seemed to have a laissez-faire attitude towards racist streamers, even advocating that hate groups should be allowed to use the platform as long as they adhered to the rules.
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