Prominent Overwatch moderator apologizes following revenge porn scandal

A popular figure and moderator in the competitive Overwatch scene known as "UncleSwagg" has apologized after being accused of having a history of hoarding and spreading revenge porn featuring Twitch community members. 

UncleSwagg tweeted on Wednesday that he had been stripped of moderation duties from several official Overwatch Twitch channels, including PlayOverwatch, Overwatch League, and Overwatch Contenders. It's unclear exactly when his status as a moderator was revoked, or if Blizzard's action was taken in response to being made aware of his behavior, however today Blizzard commented on the matter directly for the first time. 

"UncleSwagg has never been an employee at Blizzard. He was part of a community-driven moderation team, which is currently being dissolved in favor of an in-house team. Overwatch is committed to building a community that is welcoming and inclusive for all players and fans. Harassment is something that Blizzard, the Overwatch League, and the Overwatch team takes very seriously, and we will not hesitate to remove these players from our community," Blizzard told PC Gamer via email.

One of the victims of UncleSwagg's alleged behavior is a woman named Cher Scarlett, a former software engineer at Blizzard who in 2012 was a member of the burgeoning Justin.tv community, the livestreaming platform that became Twitch. That year in July, Scarlett's nude pictures were leaked online. Initially, she succeeded in having them removed but they were then reuploaded to Imgur by a user with the handle UncleSwagg alongside nudes of other women in the Twitch and World of Warcraft communities.

In a Medium post yesterday, Scarlett gave her account of UncleSwagg's behavior, who was apparently known for hoarding and distributing nudes from women on Twitch and World of Warcraft. "He had dozens of albums of nude photographs, the most complete collection in all of the Twitch community. When he received the small collection of my photographs from a source, he learned there was someone I had been involved with in the past who may have more and contacted him to get more photos for his album." 

Over the years, Scarlett communicated at length with Imgur, Twitch, and UncleSwagg himself in an attempt to get the pictures of her taken down. "The worst part of it was that UncleSwagg was proud of it," Scarlett's Medium post continues. "No number of emails to Twitch and Imgur staff seemed to result in the deletion of the albums, and he prided himself on his ability to keep the links permanent. He had gained the notoriety he so desperately wanted by harassing women with revenge porn, and being the central hub for ‘exposing’ the women of the gaming industry with illegal nudes."

Over this time, UncleSwagg was developing a reputation as one of the most valued members of the Overwatch community. He dealt with racism and sexism as a moderator in more than 100 Twitch channels, according to his now-deleted Patreon account, including those of popular streamers like Seagull and other Overwatch League pros, as well as the official PlayOverwatch, Overwatch League, and Overwatch Contenders Twitch channels. In October 2016, an "UncleSwagg appreciation thread" received more than 300 upvotes and 100 comments on r/CompetitiveOverwatch, and as of April 2017, he was seeking support via a now-deleted Patreon that earned him an estimated $22 to $96 per month.

UncleSwagg has now issued multiple statements, first indirectly acknowledging the situation, then directly apologizing to Scarlett.

In an update to her Medium post, Scarlett said she has now spoken to UncleSwagg via DMs. "After a lengthy conversation about what he did, how it affected myself and others, and why his original response was inappropriate and disingenuous, he has apologized directly to me, publicly:"