Blizzard and Twitch address harassment defiling game event streams

This game really provides no shortage of illustrations we need for this.

In case you had forgotten since yesterday’s news that RuneScape had to ban players for running around in-game wearing KKK costumes and shrieking racial slurs, some gamers are still racist idiots. The topic is getting attention from Blizzard now too, as horrific racially motivated harassment toward Terrence Miller, an African-American player, engulfed the live chat panel of the Twitch stream of his Dreamhack Austin Hearthstone matches earlier this month.

Polygon reported at the time that the moderators working during the stream said they were completely unprepared for the deluge of nastiness; though they brought on more in a hurry, some of them were part of the problem themselves.

Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime issued a press statement yesterday, suggesting that the company, alongside Twitch, plans to adapt to make sure garbage like this doesn’t happen again at gaming events with his games’ name attached to them. He put it more politely, of course:

“We’re extremely disappointed by the hateful, offensive language used by some of the online viewers during the DreamHack Austin event the weekend before last. One of our company values is ‘Play Nice; Play Fair’; we feel there’s no place for racism, sexism, harassment, or other discriminatory behavior, in or outside of the gaming community. This is obviously a larger, societal problem that affects us on many levels. We can only hope that when instances like this come to light it encourages people to be more thoughtful and positive, and to fully reject mean-spirited commentary, whether within themselves or from their fellow gamers.

“To help combat this type of behavior during live events, we’ve reached out to players, streamers, and moderators, along with partners like Twitch, DreamHack, and others, to get consensus and collaborate on what to do differently moving forward. To that end, we’re investigating a pilot program that Twitch has in the works to streamline moderation and combat ban evasion. We’re also updating our esports tournament partner policies with a stronger system of checks, balances, and repercussions to provide a better chat experience around our content.

“We believe these are important steps to take to help address the related issues, but we acknowledge that they only address part of the problem. This is ultimately an industry-wide issue, and it will take all of us to make a real impact.”

Twitch issued its own statement to PC Gamer a week ago:

“We currently approach chat behavior by providing broadcasters tools, education and autonomy to police their own channel. While in this instance the broadcaster was unable to fully prevent the described behavior, Twitch has a responsibility to broadcasters and players to provide a welcoming environment. As such, we are exploring new tools and processes to increase awareness and mitigation of these issues, and will continue to take action against chatters who committed reported violations.”
Previous articleHEX has purged inactive accounts, but don’t despair yet
Next articleDesert Nomad: The misplaced individuality of Black Desert

No posts to display

oldest most liked
Inline Feedback
View all comments