The abrupt disappearance of Dr Disrespect, one of Twitch’s most popular streamers, Friday night sent a shockwave through his substantial fan base, raised all sorts of questions, and delivered no solid answers.
Some reports say the Doc was permanently banned. Others speculate he’s just suspended for a limited time, as he was last year. Some wonder if it’s an attention-seeking hoax.
So far, Twitch has not directly confirmed a ban. However, it did issue a statement saying it takes “appropriate action when we have evidence that a streamer has acted in violation of our Community Guidelines or Terms of Service.” Herschel “Guy” Beahm, who streams under the Dr Disrespect alias, put out a statement Saturday saying that “Twitch has not notified me on the specific reason behind their decision” (though he didn’t go into what that decision was).
There’s lots of confusion. Here’s what we know about the situation right now (and this story will be updated as more information becomes available).
It appears so, but so far neither Dr Disrespect nor Twitch have come out and said so directly. Doc’s page is no longer accessible on Twitch, though. And past streams are not visible.
That’s the multimillion-dollar question, but so far, no one is saying. Rod Breslau, who has held many titles in the esports world ranging from player to caster to contributor to ESPN esports, was one of the first to report on Doc’s removal from Twitch. In a Tweet, he said he was informed of the reason, “however due to the importance and sensitivity around the subject I have refrained from going on it.”
look: for several hours now I have been told from credible sources the reason DrDisrespect has been banned. however due to the importance and sensitivity around the subject I have refrained from going on it. i don't feel comfortable with it currently
— Rod "4475 SR & Immortal peak" Breslau (@Slasher) June 27, 2020
There have been absolutely no public allegations of this sort against Beahm. That hasn’t stopped some from speculating, though, as his disappearance came two days after Twitch announced it “will begin issuing permanent suspensions” following “recent allegations of sexual abuse and harassment involving Twitch streamers.”
He has. In 2019, he found himself ejected from E3 and banned from Twitch after livestreaming from the bathroom, violating Twitch’s privacy rules and California privacy laws. He apologized in a tweet several days later and was allowed back onto Twitch after a two-week time-out.
Fans that subscribed to the Doc’s Twitch channel have reportedly been receiving refund notifications from Twitch. All emotes tied to Beahm’s character have also been removed.
Beahm signed several high-profile sponsorships recently, including one with Mtn Dew Game Fuel that was described as “the largest endorsement deal ever signed by an individual gaming personality.” The company seems to be standing by him for now, keeping his face atop the drink’s Twitter page.
When asked about his controversial past when announcing the deal, Erin Chin, senior marketing director for the drink, told Digital Trends, “We vetted him fully. Everyone makes mistakes, and we still think he’s a good person who can represent the brand in a way that is responsible and aligns with our core values.”
PepsiCo, which owns Game Fuel, did not reply to a request for comment after he left the site.
Roccat, which replaced Razor as his exclusive provider of mice, keyboards, and mousepads in February of this year, has also made no changes to his visibility on the site.
As for the “life-changing, rewarding” two-year deal he signed with Twitch just 3.5 months ago, that’s likely a matter for the lawyers if he has been banned.
Last January, Breahm signed a deal to be represented by CAA, whose other clients include Seth MacFarlane, Simon Cowell, and Will Wright. CAA did not respond to Digital Trends’ inquiries about the status of that relationship now that he’s off Twitch.
Beahm and Skybound Entertainment, the company behind AMC’s The Walking Dead, announced a partnership in December, with plans to develop an animated TV series based on the Dr Disrespect character. The members of the Champions Club, Doc’s term for his supporters, would watch the show regardless. (Some are fanatically loyal to him.) But while controversy might lure more people on game streaming channels, it doesn’t attract a mainstream audience, which would be important for any network considering airing the show. Skybound did not reply to Digital Trends’ inquiries.
If the Twitch ban is real and permanent, that would be a blow to Breahm, who once dubbed himself “the face of Twitch,” but not necessarily a fatal one. There are plenty of competitors, including YouTube and, most recently, Facebook, which would be eager to migrate his millions of followers over to their service.
Controversy lures viewers in the streaming world, though. Before confessing his marital problems in 2017, he boasted 1.4 million followers. Before the E3 incident, he had 3.2 million. When he went off the air at Twitch, he had roughly 4.4 million followers.
But if his absence from the streaming world is due to an especially grievous reason, that could make him toxic to other providers, who would likely see the disadvantages of tying Doc to their platform outweighing any benefits.
Dr Disrespect is the online persona of Herschel “Guy” Beahm. The character is meant to parody toxic gamers by holding up a figurative mirror, emulating many of the negative stereotypes in the form of a tall guy in a bad wig. He has trash-talked other streamers (including Ninja, whose endorsement deals include Red Bull, Adidas, and Microsoft’s now-defunct Mixer streaming service). He has made numerous racially insensitive jokes to non-English speaking groups. He even confessed to infidelity in an out-of-character stream two years ago (ultimately taking two months off to focus on his family).
Beahm himself has noted the difficulty he has balancing the character with actions that go too far.
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