Twitch is currently dealing with internal issues after the staff called out the company over multiple issues this past week. GameIndustry.Biz was the first to report on the issues after a staffer came forward to talk to them about a post made by the company's CEO, Emmett Shear. Back in June 2020, which the Me Too movement was calling out figureheads in the gaming industry for harassment, Shear posted this tweet addressing all of the stories that had been coming out about streamers who used their platform. Following the statement, GIB was approached by an employee, who asked to remain anonymous, who spoke up about the culture at the company. Here are a few snippets below of their statement and Twitch's response to the article.
"Twitch repeatedly swept accounts of harassment and abuse under the rug: sexual, verbal, physical abuse, and racism. And not just my own. It took place in the office. At events. In meetings and behind closed doors. It was rampant and unavoidable. We heard about it in the halls. We saw it at our desks. It was overt and part of the job." […]
"It was a boys' club," another woman said of working there. "There was a definite bias, a definite sense that females and males were different, and females weren't given the same opportunities. They were prey." One early employee recalled an atmosphere of casual sexism in the office that ranged from ignorance to outright misogyny. Another said it was common to hear women referred to as bitches in the office. […]
Another employee suggested the company was less actively racist than it was tolerant of racial slurs and racist attitudes on its platform. "Hate speech was dismissed as teenagers being edgy and thus not as serious," they said. "It was almost like it was dismissed as not being real racism." […]
When we told Twitch what we had heard from those employees, a spokesperson for the company replied, "We take any allegations of this nature extremely seriously, whether on our service or within our company, and work swiftly to investigate and address them as appropriate. Any suggestions to the contrary misrepresent our culture, leadership, and values.
There's far more in the article that we could get into, but needless to say, the piece has gone viral on social media. Some are calling for the immediate removal of figureheads within the company, others demanding for independent investigations into the allegations. But there's also a contingency of people who are not surprised, have experienced harassment themselves, and don't expect any change to come out of this latest article. There are also many calling into question some of the more high-profile names who have been given partnerships who have been accused of ill behavior for years. Ultimately, there's a lot of Twitch's plate moving forward, and it seems like it's only a matter of time before some of the brand's famous names start speaking out. What action the company will take from here will have all eyes on it, but whatever it is, the company needs to address it soon.