At the beginning of the month, we were all horrified to cover the news that a Twitch streamer and (now former) Hi-Rez employee, Thomas “Elvine/Elvinelol” Cheung had been arrested and charged with a felony for using a “computer service to seduce, solicit, lure or entice child to commit illegal act.” Cheung was one of 20-odd men arrested as part of a multi-month multi-bureau undercover sting investigation in Georgia dubbed “Operation Interception,” and it boiled over in not just the SMITE community but the World of Warcraft and EVE Online communities as well, since Cheung had worked in all three in addition to streaming.
Kotaku’s Cecilia D’Anastasio has up a new piece this week that runs down more of the sordid details of Cheung’s charges as well as chronicles witness accounts of his relevant activities prior to the arrest, including four who claimed “Cheung had been using his position of power in the Warcraft community to cross boundaries with women for years.” According to Kotaku, the warrant for his specific arrest was filed after he arranged to meet a 14-year-old girl (part played by an undercover officer) for raw sex. Ugggg.
The rest of Anastasio’s piece may be eye-opening for folks who don’t watch a lot of Twitch or aren’t tuned into the underbelly of the online world, as it includes multiple accounts from women who interacted with a popular edgelord Twitch streamer from Method accused of taking his misogynistic edgelord act way too far with women and underage girls. Method, probably best known to our readership as being the most prominent World of Warcraft raiding guild that’s long since branched out to esports and sponsorships, said it had no evidence of wrongdoing and advised anyone with evidence to go to the police.
It’s a very different message from the one being sent by the company Discord, whose popular gaming-oriented chat client apparently came up in about 3% of the child predation reports made in New Jersey alone last year. Discord itself says it will investigate every report and will not privilege streamers and gaming personalities: “Any inappropriate or predatory conduct is absolutely forbidden.”
Feel free to drop your favorite eye bleach in the comments below.