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Interview: Dr Disrespect talks about his Twitch ban, the rumors, and his future

(Image credit: Dr Disrespect)

Three weeks ago, Twitch banned Guy 'Dr Disrespect' Beahm, one of the biggest streamers on its platform. The period of silence that has followed his ban—from Dr Disrespect, Twitch itself, and the insiders who claim to know the real reason why he was expelled—only made that situation more strange, and in that vacuum of information, speculation and theories as to the reason why have run rampant on social media.

Earlier this week, Beahm's publicist contacted PC Gamer to offer an interview with Beahm. From the outset it was clear we'd likely get little information on what actually happened, but it was an opportunity to ask Beahm on the record about the many rumors surrounding his ban and what the performer is planning next. Given that there's so much speculation—and reports from industry insiders like Rod 'Slasher' Breslau that Beahm's ban was allegedly handled outside of Twitch's usual protocol, "which implies a law enforcement and or security type of related issue"—we've decided to publish this interview as it happened with only minor edits made for clarity and readability.

PC Gamer: It's been almost three weeks since you were banned from Twitch. I imagine that it's been very frustrating. I would love to start with just hearing what's been happening behind the scenes with you. What's been going on these past three weeks?

Guy 'Dr Disrespect' Beahm: Sure. I mean, well, a lot of stuff, obviously. You know, while it's unfortunate that I'm off Twitch, we're definitely working behind the scenes on what a Dr return might look like. In terms of the specifics around that, we're not interested in exclusive at this point. We're exploring our options and, honestly, just can't wait to get back into character soon. We have a lot to do, and I'll be wherever fans want me to be. And, you know, that's been our approach.

When you say you're not interested in an exclusive, can you clarify that?

Well, let's just say all the cards are on the table. I'm more focused on just making sure whatever we do next, whether it's a platform move or not, that it's the right decision for the community and Champions Club that follows me. And that makes sense to what I want to continue to accomplish with this character in terms of taking things to the next level, and whether it's streaming or outside of streaming. So it's just being conscientious of that decision.

[In a follow up email, Beahm clarified he's even considering streaming independently on his championsclub.gg website, in addition to other big options like YouTube and Facebook.]

I've seen all the theories, I've seen all the possible conspiracies, and it's just like, I'm just not interested in engaging that type of stuff.

—Guy Beahm

Given that connection that you have with your audience and how important that is, I'm sure you can appreciate that there's been a lot of concern and worry over the past few weeks. Why didn't you give people an update, just to say 'hi,' even if you had nothing really concrete to say?

Well, to be honest—okay, so we got the news, you know, it was just... it was completely… it was a total shock. Imagine just going to work one day and the door is closed and you can't get inside and you've been told that you were fired, and you weren't given a reason why, you know? And so, for me, it was just an initial shock. The way I discovered it, too, I was on a buddy's stream, and some of the features started turning off while I was just in the chat and everything, and then all of a sudden social media was blowing up. I got on the call with my team, and after one quick email, it was all over. At that particular moment, it was more of just kind of shocked, like, what just happened, you know? And both my wife and I are just like, what's going on?

So that's kind of how, initially, how things kind of went down. And then from there, you're sort of just digesting it. You're still not getting any answers. So that's kind of why I had… I wouldn't have known what to say, you know? We put out the one tweet, our statement, and that's kind of where things are at.

I understand that you have a lot of business arrangements to consider too, like the TV show that you're working on with Skybound. I can imagine it's scary to be in this position where your main platform has been sort of yanked out underneath you.

Yeah, I mean, obviously there's a lot of that stuff that's, in terms of the thinking like, yeah, that's all going through your mind. For me, it was pretty tough to just... I had to get off social media. I mean, just to see all the speculations and theories, things that my name has been surrounded with. And it was just really heartbreaking to see to a certain extent because we've worked so hard to get to this point. But, you know, we're ready to go. We're excited to take the next steps. And I'm really focused on the community for now. We've got lots of fun stuff planned, lots of projects that are in the works, and yeah, continue on, baby.

And Twitch has just cut off contact with you? They've never provided you a reason for the ban?

Yeah.

That seems crazy to me. To ban one of its most famous, popular streamers and then to not even tell them what they did wrong?

Yeah, that's the kind of the mind blowing thing about all of this. Obviously, for legal counsel, I have to be careful here. But I can say however, that I will not be returning to Twitch, so, I mean, that's it.

Sure. I'm not a famous streamer, but if I was a famous streamer, and I got banned for no reason, especially considering the Dr Disrespect character and who he is, I think my response would be to get out on social media and shout from the rooftops and be like, hey, this is really unfair. I'm curious why you haven't done that?

Uh, well, I mean, I'm trying to take the best and appropriate steps as possible, and there are things behind the scenes in terms from a legal standpoint that, you know, I can't... that's where it's at. And so, I don't want to go on social media and say the wrong thing or the right thing—or whatever it is—and, like, we made our statement. And that's, you know, that's where things are at now. As we build this game plan to make this Doc comeback, that's still kind of in the works in terms of what the vision looks like. I'm working with my creative team, the graphics, going and taking like the whole Doc 3.0 experience to the next level, and so that's where my focus is now.

So are you able to confirm that legal action is taking place? You are taking legal action against Twitch?

We are considering taking legal action.

When do you think you might if ever have a definitive answer as to the reason why you were banned?

Honestly, we just don't know.

Dr Disrespect is a very controversial character and I don't need to tell you that. It's almost baked into who he is as a person. Do you think that Twitch singled you out because maybe it felt like you were just too controversial for its platform?

Honestly, I don't know. You know, I've been very transparent with those around me and my community over the past few years. I'm not a perfect person, I've made some mistakes. But if anybody knows me, follows me, I've stepped up and I've taken full responsibility each and every time, and behind the scenes, behind the curtains, a lot of people don't understand how much work I've put into becoming a better person for myself and my family, as well as the business. I'm committed to investing in, being, and continuing to be a better person, and investing in creative projects around the Doc. My focus now is just continuing the momentum and returning to my chair, hanging out with the Champions Club and launching a couple fun, creative experiences. Yeah, and that's where we're at.

Sure, and I want to talk about that. But first, you did recently ruffle a few feathers after sharing a video during a stream of Dr. Thomas Cowen, and he was talking about some coronavirus theories. You've been open recently and sharing some of your own thoughts about coronavirus and even relating it to things like 5G networks. Even on your last stream, you were talking about David Icke and his documentary. I'm curious, in bringing up those thoughts—and I think it's okay to call them controversial—did that ever result in Twitch saying anything to you or warning you?

No.

So you don't think that might be the cause?

I don't think so. In fact, I—

Beahm's publicist: We're getting really close to dangerous territory here. So, you know, Doc, we don't know why Twitch banned him, and there is no formal warnings or reprimand on record. That's all legal is going to let him say.

Okay, I just have one question that's semi-related, because there's also this current climate online of people coming forward to share stories of sexual harassment and abuse in the games industry. Twitch recently has banned several streamers who have been outed as sexual harassers, abusers, and otherwise toxic individuals. To your knowledge is your Twitch ban the result of someone alleging that you harassed, abused, or assaulted them in any way?

Listen, I'm not interested in engaging crazy speculation. I've seen all the theories, I've seen all the possible conspiracies, and it's just like, I'm just not interested in engaging that type of stuff. I have a great community of loyal fans and I'm totally focused on getting back and delivering great, entertaining content and that's where the focus is.

Okay, let's switch gears here a little bit, then. Let's talk about this reboot. What can you tell me about what you're looking to do right now?

Ah, man, you're going to have to tune in to find out. That's part of the fun. I think that's one of Doc's things is doing these cool projects and the big surprise elements that are involved. Whether it's directly through the stream or a combination of social media and the stream but, fans should expect Doc 3.0. We're launching new cinematics focused on pushing the envelope, just like I've tried to since I've started streaming and that's the focus.

I can see why it would be exciting, especially for your fans, because there have been these controversies that you've gone through, and they've always seemed to lead to a big evolution of who Dr Disrespect is. You keep saying 3.0. Is this going to feel like a new and reimagined Dr Disrespect?

I don't want to go into the details of what that means. But when you start to look at potential projects outside of the streaming space, and then you combine those with the character in the streaming space, I think you're gonna see his universe open up a lot bigger. And that's probably the best way I could describe it.

It almost sounds like a Marvel Cinematic Universe type thing that you're planning.

That'd be the goal. That'd be the goal.

Well, it always felt very avant garde that you had created this idea of playing, essentially, a WWE villain on a streaming platform. It felt very novel. I can imagine it's exciting to see that idea take shape and grow bigger.

Yeah, it's been really exciting. I'm surrounded by great people on a great team, and we've been really working hard to try to get it to this point, you know, over the past couple years. And yeah, I'm just, I'm really excited for the future.

Definitely. There was one thing I wanted to talk about to set the record straight, and that is the final moments of your last stream on Twitch. People really latched on and analyzed those few minutes of you signing off because it seemed very out of character. You're watching these clips, and then all of a sudden your tone changes. Are you able to tell me what happened there?

Again, I've seen all the types of theories and speculations out there. And it's gut wrenching and disheartening, but, in terms of that particular piece, I could speak directly to, like, that was just... I was in a moment where I was just sort of taking in what's going on in the world, you know? If people had context of that clip going into it, and then coming out of it, like, all I was talking about was just the state of the world that we're in dealing with, dealing with the protests, and the coronavirus, and everything that was happening. It's just like, man... And at that particular moment, I think I was just kind of going through a, you know, like, when can we break this funk of 2020? It was just me being real on stream. And that's pretty much the context of that.

Is that pretty normal for you to break character like that during your streams?

Yeah, I would say so. Whether it's a personal story with, like, it could be related to my daughter or sports, or growing up, I sometimes will step out of the fictional world of the Doctor just so I could tell more of a human-sided story, or a personal story, and then I'll be right back into the character. Every once in a while I'll do that.

Everyone was watching the clip being like, this is the moment he found out, but you're saying it was completely unrelated. I'm sure you can appreciate how suspicious that looked in hindsight, having this final clip of your final moment on Twitch captured like that?

Yeah, yeah. It's interesting timing, for sure.

You said earlier that you're not interested in an exclusive deal, but is there a specific platform you're looking to migrate to in the near-term?

Oh, no. We're just focused on the Doc's return. We haven't made any decisions on platforms. We're not interested in looking for an exclusive or any of that stuff. All the cards are on the table. And, again, it's just making sure that the decision that we make, and the route that we take is the correct route for the community to follow in. And I think that's most important, is the Champions Club. They want to see the Doc back and I want to get back and, yeah, we've definitely got some decisions to make.

It's interesting because your streaming career has had a lot of ups and downs—maybe more so than any other big streamer I can think of. Part of that feels very on brand for Disrespect as a character to get himself into these tough situations and persevere, but how does all that affect you personally?

Oh, they absolutely affect me. They certainly affect me on a personal level. I've been challenged with anxiety for the past—I mean, high levels of anxiety I've never experienced in my life—the past couple of weeks simply because it's like, what the heck is going on? You know, like, what, what happened? It's, yeah, absolutely. I mean, of course, they affect me. Part of the thing about being someone in my position is just kind of knowing that and knowing how to deal with them and in a real, authentic way, and making myself become knowledgeable of why I made the mistake and then bettering myself from that. And that's exactly what I've done with each sort of instance that has occurred—not just as Doctor, but my whole life, you know?

You were talking about how hurtful it has been seeing social media speculation and stuff like that. That must be a challenge because you are a public figure and you have a connection with an audience online, millions of people, and that's necessary to make Dr Disrespect successful. But at the same time, you're now in a position where that obligation to be online, seeing people say those things, is really harmful. How do you compartmentalize that part of your life?

Well, it's an easy answer to that. I walk right from the studio, right into my house, and I look at my family, my wife and my daughter, and the people that I'm surrounded with, the team that I'm surrounded with, and, in terms of that part, we're in such a good position, we're in such a good state in life. And I feel so good about that. And to me, that's what's most important.

So once you step out of the streaming studio, you just sort of flip a switch and suddenly that doesn't matter as much to you anymore?

To a certain degree. I think this is a different instance because you know, you're talking about career here, you're talking about financials, you're talking about, like, vision and projects that are put on temporary hold until we figure things out behind the scenes. And you're talking potential legal action, and it's just like, okay, you know?

One facet of this story is that, and I'm sure you're aware of this, there are people coming forward and saying they know the reason you're banned. For example, Rod 'Slasher' Breslau was on a stream just yesterday saying he knows why you were banned but he doesn't want to say because he fears it could make him the target of a defamation lawsuit. What do you make of that?

Listen, again, I'm not interested in engaging in any of that stuff or that crazy speculation. I'll say it again: I have a great community of loyal fans and I'm totally focused on just getting back to the Champions Club and delivering great, entertaining content.

Okay, but have you made any attempt to understand what he's talking about? Like, if someone had dirt on me—even if I knew it was total bullshit—I would at least want to know what they thought they knew. Have you tried to contact him or any of his affiliated parties?

No.

At this point, my interview time with Beahm was up and we said our goodbyes. Though we know more about specifics regarding Beahm's ban and his plans for the future, the biggest questions about what happened and why remain unanswered. We'll continue chasing this story as new developments arise.

Steven enjoys nothing more than a long grind, which is precisely why his specialty is on investigative feature reporting on China's PC games scene, weird stories that upset his parents, and MMOs. He's Canadian but can't ice skate. Embarrassing.