Dr Disrespect, the self-proclaimed "face of Twitch" and an insanely popular streamer, was confronted yesterday for his ongoing use of racial stereotypes intended to mock the Chinese players he sometimes encounters in Playerunknown's Battlegrounds. For almost a year now, Dr Disrespect has been belittling players with Asian usernames or accents by speaking in what he calls a "hybrid" language meant to sound like he's speaking a Chinese dialect (combined with other Asian languages, as if they are interchangeable) when in fact he's just speaking total gibberish.
Here's your venerable @DrDisRespect everybody. He clearly thought he crossed the line with cheating on his wife, but racism? Guess he finds that ok.Extra links: there are hundreds more like this on YouTube:https://t.co/BHMzqGeccqhttps://t.co/is62tQ9kf3https://t.co/Dkw0t43bQj pic.twitter.com/shnDfWDW9WFebruary 7, 2018
Musician Jimmy Wong, brother of YouTuber Freddie Wong and actor in popular YouTube series like Video Game High School, cut together several clips of Dr Disrespect's behavior towards Chinese players in a tweet that quickly gained traction as people weighed in over whether or not the behavior was indeed problematic or just inoffensive comedy. "Young and extremely impressionable kids adore these influencers," Wong wrote in a follow up tweet explaining why what some think is a harmless joke is actually quite damaging. "They learn their mannerisms. They copy them. And they perpetuate them between friends, at school, and at others."
Dr Disrespect's behavior has come in response to games like Playerunknown's Battlegrounds and H1Z1: Battle Royale becoming hugely popular in countries like China. Chinese players will often play on North American servers, which creates frustrations among native North Americans due to the language barrier, network connectivity issues, and incidents of cheating. It's an issue that has led some players to ask developer PUBG Corporation to region lock Chinese players.
During a Twitch stream yesterday, Dr Disrespect defended his behavior by highlighting his upbringing and his "numerous" friends of Mexican and Asian descent. As if to ward off the criticism once and for all, he then added that his wife is of Filipino descent. "Mrs. Assassin, my wife, multiracial, all the way from the small island of Malamawi," Dr Disrespect said. "Lots of Filipino blood. I love it. And you got this idiot on Twitter, this idiot searching for, desperate for attention—wanna be idiot, right? Trapped in a box, trapped in a gated community—a private school, if you will." In December, an out-of-character Dr Disrespect confessed to infidelity on stream before announcing he was taking a hiatus.
Dr Disrespect's behavior is arguably in breach of Twitch's community guidelines which reads "hateful conduct is any content or activity that promotes, encourages, or facilitates discrimination, denigration, objectification, harassment, or violence based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, medical condition, physical characteristics, or veteran status, and is prohibited."
Another part of the community guidelines reads "harassment is any content or activity that attempts to intimidate, degrade, abuse, or bully others, or creates a hostile environment for others, and is prohibited." Both infractions of the guidelines are subject to having your account permanently suspended.
Reached for comment, Twitch told me that the issue was being "routed to the moderation team to look into it." Celebrating his return this week, Twitch tweeted a video of DrDisrespect proclaiming himself as "the face of Twitch."
Dr Disrespect, whose real name is Guy Beahm, is an ex-developer turned award-winning streamer who rose to become the biggest name on Twitch, setting a viewership record last week when he returned to streaming.