Twitch.tv is in hot water as employees allege a history of sexism and racism in the company. Many even note this happened even during its Justin.tv days.
Earlier this year, Twitch.tv started investigations regarding sexual harassment from streamers. This move resulted in bans left and right, but the problem goes deeper. A report from gamesindustry.biz shows the struggles are internal too.
The company allegedly harbors a culture of sexism, racism, and sexual misconduct within its ranks. Anonymous reports imply that this is likely a top-down problem, similar to Ubisoft.
Sexual harassment rampant even during Justin.tv era
Back in June, Emmet Shear shared a memo to his staff. He encouraged everyone to come forward with their experiences.
There's been a lot of important conversation happening over the previous couple days, and I've heard your voices. I'd like to share the email I just sent internally to the company on the topic. pic.twitter.com/B1V34lT9EI
— Emmett Shear (@eshear) June 23, 2020
“We support people coming forward, commend their bravery in doing so, and know there are many others who have not,” he said in the memo posted on Twitter. “The gaming industry is not unlike others that have had to reckon with systemic sexism, racism, and abuse that rewards certain people and disadvantages — even harms — others. The status quo needs to change.”
While the initiative is admirable, Twitch employees are also affected by the problem. According to the report, the company has a culture of rampant sexism. It existed even during its days as justin.tv back before February 2014.
“I’ve been hesitant for years to share my story and the events that happened to me during my employment at Twitch,” said the employee in the report, “but with the recent events and their statement on Twitter, I feel compelled to share and speak out against their blatant lies to ‘create a safe community.'”
“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.”
Company was a “boys’ club,” says report
If the report is accurate, the stories about Twitch.tv and its sexual harassment culture is blatant. The report talked to 16 more Twitch employees from different eras of the company. While some said they know nothing, many confirmed the allegations.
“It was a boys’ club,” said another woman interviewed. “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.”
A Twitch representative denied these allegations, calling them “years old.” Even then, the report notes that the events come from different eras, including recent times.
“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,” said the spokesperson. “Any suggestions to the contrary misrepresent our culture, leadership, and values.
“Many of these allegations are years old, and we’ve taken numerous steps to better protect and support our employees and community, and will continue to invest time and resources in this area.”
The story about Twitch.tv is a long, in-depth report that deserves to be read in full. The same allegations plagued Ubisoft recently, leading to the company removing many of its top execs.
Featured image courtesy of Twitch.tv/Official Presskit