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Employees speak out about systematic sexism, racism and abuse at Twitch

Streaming platform denies the allegations levelled against it

Employees speak out about systematic sexism, racism and abuse at Twitch

Employees at Amazon-owned streaming giant Twitch have called the company out over allegations of a toxic working environment.

That's according to GamesIndustry.biz, which has spoken to both former and current staff at the firm, who say that the company "repeatedly swept accounts of harassment and abuse under the rug."

Those who have worked at Twitch say that the company has a misogynistic working culture, with several staff coming forwards with allegations of sexual assault and other inappropriate behaviour. Some of these incidents were reported to the firm's HR department, but those speaking to GI.biz felt that their complaints weren't taken seriously.

Casual sexism was commonplace. Female personalities on Twitch were often referred to as "boob streamers" by male employees, while men at the firm joked about these influencers sleeping with people for favours.

Many problems

While this was a toxic environment to work in, it also had an impact on how the platform handled allegations of harassment by female streamers. Their concerns weren't taken seriously, with staff saying that women using Twitch should expect this reaction.

Racism is also rife within the streaming platform. Those coming forward say that white, male management often brushed off the concerns of minorities on Twitch and were tolerant of slurs. "Hate speech was dismissed as teenagers being edgy," one employee said.

In a statement, Twitch denied the accusations levelled against it.

"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," a Twitch spokesperson said.

"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."

This story first appeared on PCGamesInsider.biz.


PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site PCGamesInsider.biz. In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for GamesIndustry.biz, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.

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