Dr Disrespect is 'suing the fuck out of' Twitch

The hugely popular streamer Dr Disrespect was banned by Twitch for unknown reasons in June 2020, and the silence since then has been deafening. The ban came roughly a year after the streamer, real name Herschel Beahm IV, had signed a two-year exclusivity contract with the streaming platform, and had been riding high with over 4 million subscribers.

Dr Disrespect subsequently moved to Youtube, where his channel sits on a not-unimpressive 3.46 million subscribers, and has posted a video talking about the situation with Twitch—in which he not only claims he's suing the company, but that he now knows the reason he was banned.

"I make probably a fourth, a quarter of what I was making on Twitch," begins Dr Disrespect. "A year later from being banned from the platform, well, a lot of people think 'Hey Doc, you did good, you're incredible.' Listen, we've certainly tried to maximise the most of what we have to work with [...] but the Twitch ban, how it's really affected us, not just from a financial standpoint but from a networking standpoint, in terms of relationships we've built over the past five years, in terms of Activision and EA, everyone all the big sponsors the partnerships, they have to question: why did you get banned?"

The reason or reasons for the streamer's ban remain opaque. At the time, there was speculation it related to his final stream referencing conspiracy theorist David Icke (the guy who thinks the British royal family are lizards). But there was much more scandalous speculation too, which is probably why the ban's fallout has done such commercial damage. 

"A lot of people ask, do you know the reason—I do know the reason why now," says Dr Disrespect. "I’ve known for months now, the reason why. I'll just say this right now champs: there’s a reason why we’re suing the fuck out of 'em [Twitch]… I don’t know how else to put it... the amount of damages and you just don't know... know, um..." 

Dr Disrespect then speaks to someone off-camera and asks "What's the first thing you see when you type the name in on Google? You see Lamborghini, I get it, but you also see 'Dr banned from Twitch', no reason why, you think a big-time company like Nike is gonna want to work with that question mark? Or a Disney? It fucking sucks, it fucking sucks. I don't know how else to put it man, it's affected us in so many different ways."

God bless the internet, because we live in an age where lawyers post reaction videos. Michigan business lawyer Richard Hoeg has been following Dr Disrespect's situation for some time, and posted the above breakdown of how he sees it from the legal eagle's perspective.

Most interesting about the above, and of course I can't speak to Mr Hoeg's bona fides, is how he instantly focuses in on how Dr Disrespect is trying to establish damages to his audience. He softens this by talking about how they maxmise what they have to work with, and thanks his "champs" for their support, but the overall message is clearly something like: Twitch did massive damage to my career and earning ability by signing me and then banning me and not saying a word.

There's more to dig into, including the implication that things have gone further than anyone knew. When Dr Disrespect talks about blacklisting and shadow-banning, he's preparing the ground to argue that Twitch is used as a commercial bellwether: the companies he mentions, like Nike, will look at Twitch's decision and follow suit. Thus Twitch has ruined his business livelihood by not only banning him, but allowing speculation to run rampant as to why.

One cautionary note: Dr Disrespect says he's suing Twitch, but this may never go to court. Interested fans may hope that it does, because then everything has to be revealed. The final word goes to Dr Disrespect himself: "It's been a rollercoaster of emotion... and it absolutely fucking sucks."

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."