This one is one of those stories that simultaneously reinforces just how terrible the internet can be, but also how fantastic individuals are. Streamer Adam "Loop" Bahriz was playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on Monday when he was bullied out of a match. Bahriz is legally blind and deaf, and that was the sole focus of his bullies. They seemed to think Bahriz's speech impediment was him trolling them, told him not to talk, and then booted him for not talking. Pretty damn harsh, right?
Because of course gamers bullied a disabled person for daring to exist with disabilities. Yes, they did think he was a troll, but the presumption that he had to be trolling is pretty ableist when you break it down. A player starts speaking in an unconventional way and the reaction of his party was "he must be a troll" as in, an able-bodied person deliberately speaking that way instead of someone with a disability. It's that presumption of able-ness that is pretty damn insidious. Bahriz's party made an assumption, Bahriz agreed with their solution – him not talking – and then booted him for doing what they told him to. Likely because they assumed his not talking was evidence of him being a troll. Could he have explained his disability to them? Sure, but in the middle of a match? That seems unlikely. It's also not his responsibility to inform people of his disability at all times.
Now, Bahriz has told Kotaku that when he does reveal his disability to fellow CSGO players "in more than 80% of cases, this is not an issue at all. Responses to this … are generally positive." But trust online multiplayer to bring out the worst in some people. Bahriz was streaming while the incident occurred and one of his viewers posted about it on the Global Offensive subreddit and asked for other players in the community to "show him some love." After that, viewership on his stream jumped up to around 5,000 simultaneous watchers and some started donating hundreds of dollars to him.
"At this very moment my mom is making a phone call to the only clinic in Southern California that does the eye surgery that I need, telling them that she will be able to pay out of pocket (because of stream donations)," he said.
And that, that right there is just what makes the internet an awesome place sometimes. A collection of highlights from Bahriz's stream is below, with the bullying story included. You can read Kotaku's full interview with Bahriz here.