Twitch hands 30-day bans to two popular streamers for using homophobic slurs

Twitch appears to be taking a firmer stand against hateful content on its platform. As reported by Polygon, popular streamers Destiny and m0e have both been hit with 30-day bans for using homophobic slurs in their streams.   

In a "Why I Was Banned" video posted to YouTube, Destiny claimed to be uncertain about what actually triggered his suspension: Whether it was for calling someone "the f-word" (and not "fuck," because he says that in the clear immediately after) and "a retard," or for saying that "maybe they should fucking shoot Cubans or whatever that are swimming over to the US or some shit, like my mom wants to do to Mexicans," which may or may not have been intended ironically—he's not clear on this point.

"I've heard from two separate people now, people in Twitch, that said that the f-word didn't actually matter that much, and it was more the Cuban thing," Destiny says in the video. "I don't know. If that is true, it kind of makes me want to come back and say that black people aren't allowed to say the n-word anymore, ever," presumably a reference to the fact that Destiny himself is Cuban. 

But m0e, who was also banned for 30 days, seemed quite certain that his timeout came as a result of his use of the same slur.

M0e actually defended his use of the slur in the video linked in the tweet above (deleted but preserved by Google Cache), describing it as one of his "favorite words of all time" and feigning surprise that people consider it offensive ("It has a lot of meanings") before launching into a breathtakingly clueless crescendo: "I use the word 'faggot' to call people 'retards'," he says in the clip.   

The unknowable complexities of acceptable behavior notwithstanding, Twitch guidelines seem fairly clear on the matter: "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. Any hateful conduct is considered a zero-tolerance violation and all accounts associated with such conduct will be indefinitely suspended." 

It also addresses the "I was only kidding" defense in the more detailed "Hateful Conduct and Harassment" section, which warns that streamers must make their intentions clear. Furthermore, "Ignorance is not an acceptable excuse for conduct that results in hate or harassment." 

M0e complained on Twitter that the 30-day ban came without warning, and shared an image of Twitch guidelines stating that 24 hour bans will be levied for first and second offenses. But those same guidelines also state that "indefinite" suspensions will be handed out in the case of a "severe violation," which is apparently how Twitch views these infractions.    

That's also reflected in the length of the suspensions. 30 days away is a heavy punishment (remember when Ninja lost 40,000 subscribers for taking two days off during E3?), which may be a signal that Twitch is getting serious about eliminating the worst of bad streamer behavior from its platform. Such a crackdown might cost the platform some content in the short term—Destiny said he was thinking about moving his "political stuff" to YouTube—but if this is what it takes to get the messages out, I'm all for it, and Twitch will be better for it in the long run, too.