It's not easy being a streamer. Day in and day out, you have to entertain your followers in interesting and engaging ways that keep them coming back for more (and throwing the likes and subscribes), without violating any of the myriad rules that govern acceptable behavior on Twitch, YouTube, or whatever other streaming platform you happen to call home.
Complicating the situation even further, those rules are occasionally opaque and unevenly applied: A simple mistake or misunderstanding can result in a lengthy suspension. In one such notable case, Quqco was given a three-day suspension in 2019 for violating Twitch's guidelines on "sexually suggestive content or activities" by streaming in a fairly conventional Chun-Li cosplay.
In other cases, though, the matter is more cut-and-dried: You were a dumbass, and now you're getting a timeout. 2020 saw a few such cases of self-inflicted misery, which we present here in a rogues' gallery round-up to mark the end of this godawful trashfire of a year.
The Accused: xQc
The Crime: Stream-sniping in Fall Guys.
The big question here is, why? The incident, which took place during a Twitch Rivals tournament in November, saw the former Overwatch League pro stream-snipe an opposing team made up of DrLupo, Shroud, and Tyler1, ultimately eliminating them—although xQc and his team weren't able to claim the victory anyway. xQc later said he did it all for laughs and was "just trying to entertain," but Twitch was not amused, and because it happened during a competitive tournament with a cash prize, it put him on the sidelines for a week.
Twitch later issued similar bans to Nightblue3, Mendo, and GrandPooBear, while Tfue had to forfeit his winnings but was not suspended: He didn't cheat himself, but knew it was going on and didn't rat anyone out. (Tfue is apparently a stand-up guy.)
The accused: Kaceytron
The crime: An ill-considered joke about genocide.
In March, Kacey "Kaceytron" Caviness decided to opine on the then-relatively-new COVID-19 pandemic, which at that point had a death toll of roughly 8,000. (It's now over 1.7 million, according to Reuters.) Her approach to the problem, she said during a stream, would be to not just let the virus run wild, but encourage it to do so: "We would leave quarantine, and we would try to spread it as much as possible because the world would be a better place without old and poor people," she said.
It was a joke, right? I certainly hope so, but regardless of intent, Twitch found it about as funny as xQc's Fall Guys stunt. She was handed an indefinite suspension for "engaging in hateful conduct and [making] threats of violence against a person or group of people," which ultimately turned out to be a ten-day break.
The accused: MrGolds
This one might be my favorite. In the middle of a Warzone stream—while he was regaling his audience of nearly 1,800 about just how damn good he is at Call of Duty: Warzone, no less—MrGolds's desktop was visible to his viewers. This in itself would not be a problem, except that on the desktop was a clearly visible EngineOwning window, open and operating. EngineOwning is a popular cheat engine, and thus was poor MrGolds utterly owned: The look on his face and awkward silence when he realized the jig was up is priceless.
Oh my god, man.
He later denied that he was cheating, but Twitch, which forbids "any activity, such as cheating, hacking, botting, or tampering, that gives the account owner an unfair advantage in an online multiplayer game," dropped the hammer anyway. MrGolds' channel has since returned, but he plays World of Warcraft now.
The accused: Carl Riemer
The crime: Drunken gunfire on stream.
We can laugh about this one now because, through sheer good luck, Carl managed to avoid blowing his goddamn leg off while dicking around with a handgun. (He sure did fuck up that jar of G-Fuel protein powder, though.) Despite escaping serious injury and a potential manslaughter charge, he paid a price for his carelessness: His Twitch channel was suspended, and he lost his spot on the SoaR Gaming Squad.
I still laugh when I see that video, but to Carl's credit he owned the incident in an apology video in which he acknowledged that his dismissal from SoaR was appropriate and that he was lucky he didn't kill anyone.
The accused: Donald J. Trump, the President of the United States of America
The crime: Being a jerk.
In October 2019, US president Donald Trump got his very own Twitch channel, launched to help support his re-election campaign. Trump himself didn't appear on it—instead, it aired things like online chat shows and recordings of press conferences and old campaign rallies. Despite an advance warning from Twitch that shenanigans wouldn't be tolerated, even coming from the prez, it didn't take long for the channel to go rip-roaring across the acceptable content lines. In June 2020, eight months after the channel went live, it was suspended for violating Twitch's policies against hateful conduct and harassment.
❌ Twitch Partner "DonaldTrump" (@TeamTrump) has been banned! ❌https://t.co/50dZbS4CcU#twitch #ban #firstban #partner #twitchpartner 👮🏾♀️June 29, 2020
Twitch cited two examples of rule-breaking content when the suspension was imposed, one from a rally in 2016 and another from 2020, both of which demonized Mexican immigrants. The offending content was removed, and the channel suspension was lifted after two weeks. It remains active, although there's not much to see these days: VODs now only go back for two months.
The accused: Dr Disrespect
The crime: We still don't know.
This is the big one: In June, Guy Beahm, aka Dr Disrespect, was suspended from Twitch. The suspension was rumored, and later confirmed, to be permanent, a serious punishment for a serious infraction—except that we still have no idea what that infraction was. Twitch won't say, Beahm insists he doesn't know, and despite my certainty that the story would leak—these things always leak—Twitch has maintained a wall of cold, stony silence that would do any police department proud. Even the people who claimed to have inside knowledge have kept mum.
Whatever he did, it was presumably worse than streaming from a public crapper at E3, which not only violated Twitter rules but also likely broke the law, and resulted in loss of E3 access, a two-week suspension, and a rare out-of-character apology. Following this permanent ban, however, Beahm took part in some careful interviews, and a little over a month after his Twitter suspension he returned to YouTube, where he currently boasts more than 3.2 million subscribers.
The accused: RowdyRogan's parents
The crime: Being jackass parents.
This one's a bit of a trick entry: The reported banning of six-year-old Call of Duty: Warzone streamer RowdyRogan—and that's not a typo, he's a Warzone streamer who's six years old, which should be your first clue that something here is amiss—didn't actually happen. It took awhile to untangle the web, but the whole thing turned out to be a stunt engineered by RowdyRogan's parents as part of a competition for a spot on the Faze Clan roster. They also had their son pretend to cry on camera, and then maintained the lie for several days before copping the whole thing, saying that "it has been Rogan's dream to make FaZe."
Rogan's mother defended the stunt as "a fun thing for Rogan to do, it was a whole family fun process," adding that "the world isn't ready for young gamers" like her son, and on that point I will wholeheartedly agree: Call me stodgy if you like, but I'm not even close to ready for kindergarten-aged children playing M-rated videogames professionally in a hyper-competitive online realm that's rife with racism, misogyny, and all-around toxic behavior.
As some of you know, Rogan was banned from Warzone on stream tonight. The Team and us are currently trying to handle the situation and will keep you guys updated. Thank you for all the support. #FreeRogan pic.twitter.com/df1B28Fa8RDecember 10, 2020