Last week, Twitch removed the face of the very popular PogChamp emote, Ryan Gootecks Gutierrez, after calling for more violence in the Capitol shortly after the mob plundered the building. In the aftermath, why not give Twitch another face to show off Twitch’s hype every day in response to emotes’ suggestions from the community?
Yo @ Twitch’s suggestion for PogChamp: Create a database of streamers and common faces. Every time someone types in PogChamp, one of those faces will be displayed randomly. Chats that spam PogChamp can give you a really nice crowd feel and instead connect meaning to all of us.
Sean Plot (@ day9tv) January 7, 2021
That’s what the company did. Three days after the experiment began, Omega Critical Bard Jones, a partner Black streamer who writes the music for Critical Role, became the face of global emotional expression. Racist harassment happened almost immediately.
At first it was okay. I was nervous. According to Jones, he prepared the mod on Twitch in advance. And they, well, those who are doing PogChamp today seemed to be doing well. So I think you’re okay. I said ha, but Im Black. Jones was on Twitter, he didn’t look like PogChamp, Twitch should bring back the old emotes instead, and received comments from racist people saying racist things started. But the problem really started after he livestreamed on Twitch.
Jones was playing with a friend who wasn’t playing Overwatch well, so I’m not competitive. When a Twitch user struck his chat, he said he wasn’t worthy of PogChamp. But it has become the subject of black life and other things that don’t matter, Jones says. And someone mentioned the white Lives Matter. And I said no, white life is not important because white life is not a problem. Someone cut it out.
The last thing before I actually lay down.
Some dudebros decided to cut out a small part of my stream to make it look “racist to whites”.
Post a complete clip and allow you to retrieve what you want from it.
Critical Bird! (@CriticalBard) January 11, 2021
This clip has become a hot topic in places like the Twitch drama subreddit / r / LivestreamFail and throughout the livestream viewing internet. But it was drawn from that context. Jones said he could be proud to be Italian and proud to be Scottish, reflecting what he said in the full version of the clip. That is your legacy. He continued:
You can’t be proud to be white. Whiteness is a concept that was born because black became a thing. And the only reason we are black is that we blacks were taken out of Africa without our consent, enslaved, and left for dust. Our literal heritage and identity have been robbed of us. Most of the time, most blacks we have to keep in America are our blacks. That is, there is a black culture, not a white culture. There was no white culture.
It’s an elegant way to express fairly complex concepts that people on the Internet seem to be misleading. Discussing race in the United States is about the dynamics and history of power. It’s hard to understand if you don’t seem to understand it. Jones says he was trying to explain it to people. But you know that a racist must be a racist, he said.
Jones says he wanted to be the face of PogChamp because it would be of great significance to others who want to see the marginalized people on Twitch. If that means someone else sees something, I can deal with a little bullish, you know, they. Their color. Or someone they can identify, he says. He was also interested in the idea of community-based rotating emotes. The funny thing is that people don’t care about PogChamp as a person. They only care about maintaining what they consider to be tradition, Jones says. But if PogChamp is about that excitement, it doesn’t matter who its face is.
Jones harassment points to a bigger problem with Twitch. This site doesn’t seem to know how to protect the author from the alienated background from the toxic elements of the community. Jones said a Twitch representative who first contacted him about being the face of PogChamp said companies planning to give to PogChamp in the future are facing additional moderate support on their channels. Twitched me. But Jones says that’s not enough. What bothers me about that is that instead of doing what yall can do, banning these people from the platform if they want to break into the platform. Jones says we need to start banning IP addresses.
Moreover, according to Jones, the Black Twitch community hasn’t talked to the company about this issue in the past. For example, when someone said Twitch yesterday, it didn’t mean they needed to be fixed. Racism has long been very wild on Twitch. And they haven’t done anything about it yet, Jones says. So that makes us do the following, so what’s the point?
Twitch made a diagonal mention of Jones’ harassment in a Twitter thread yesterday. The company writes that it believes in celebrating diversity. A Twitch spokesman sent me the following statement when I asked for more details.
Emphasizing the new Pog Champ every day is an idea that came directly from our community and was created in the spirit of celebrating the diversity of Twitch’s creators. Although there was an overwhelmingly positive response from both the community and the highlighted people, we are also in close contact with PogChamp’s new face to provide support as needed. We do not tolerate harassment of Twitch and take action against our service actions that violate our rules.
Harassment and harassment hinder that ideal and don’t exist on Twitch, social media, or anywhere else.
Continue to take action against those who violate community guidelines and attempt to harm the community or creators.
Twitch (@Twitch) January 13, 2021
But in Jones’ view, that’s not enough. They didn’t even say we’re sorry. He says they worked to make this place more diverse and make all these things. They didn’t blame anything. They need to start blaming something like this, Jones continues. They have to start saying, this is not what we want as a platform. This is not what we are promoting as a platform. And people will begin to see the effects of their actions. Start seeing the results of what they are doing.
Jones also struggled to make it clear that it wasn’t just random Twitch users who came to his stream to harass him. He says it was overseen by several affiliates and Twitch partners. If Twitch is a company that says “we don’t agree with it,” you need to show that you don’t agree with it. AKA, close your account and remove your partner badge. Remove that affiliate status. I’m pretty sure about the rules of my partner and affiliate, so I can’t give hate speech. But when Twitch is making money, that’s fine.
But harassment did not disappoint Jones. Some members of the community have rallyed in his defense, like Hasan hasanabi Piker, a prominent political streamer who defended Jones in his stream. I loved seeing Hasan’s clips, Jones says. One of the best things that can give you all the light and nutrients you need in your life is to expect these people to respect someone and prefer them to be on their side. To see, and they are not.
He also told me he saw a large influx of new subscribers, but I’m not going to be, thank you for being a racist, jokes and he’s still here .. He says blacks have had to be vigilant in this world since we were actually born. Therefore, there is literally nothing they can do. I was exposed. I was threatened with murder. With the two viewer numbers behind the keyboard, you can say everything you can hardly afford. You can say it all, but understand that you only inspire me.
February is Black History Month. Jones says Twitch has already begun contacting prominent black creators about activation. Whether Twitchs reviewed its Hateful Conduct policy, which was announced in December and will come into effect at the end of this month, has yet to affect the crowd of people who flock to left-behind creators when Twitch puts the spotlight on it. It’s a solution problem. Like everything else, the devil is in action. Does Twitch protect left-behind creators?
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