This article was updated on 6/29/20
It’s perhaps one of the biggest moments in streaming history, and currently, the internet’s greatest mystery. Yesterday, Guy “Dr Disrespect” Beahm was banned from Twitch, apparently for good. No specific reason has been publicly stated, and a small circle of those who apparently do know what’s going on aren’t talking. But everything we’re seeing is all pointing in the same troubling direction, and there’s a lot to go through.
First, we have what’s official, and that’s just a frustratingly vague statement from Twitch:
While I wouldn’t really expect Twitch to say the exact nature of the offense publicly, they don’t even confirm the length of the ban.
But Rod “Slasher” Breslau was the first to report that the ban was permanent, and that no, despite early rumors, it had nothing to do with DMCA complaints.
It would make little sense for Disrespect to get hit with a ban, much less a permanent one, for something as simple as copyrighted audio. Dr Disrespect very publicly re-signed a contract, almost certainly worth millions, with Twitch as recently as March 2020.
This also comes in the larger context of many Twitch streamers, almost all of them male, being accused of various levels of sexual harassment and abuse in the past week, almost all of the survivors being female community members or fellow streamers. These offenses range from inappropriate DMs to actual, in-person sexual assault. Twitch posted a statement in the midst of this saying they would begin taking action against specific individuals, and we have seen a number of bans of some of the accused in the past few days, likely those whose offenses could be proven or were admitted, or perhaps if the abuse had taken place on the platform itself.
However, the odd twist here is that Dr Disrespect was not the target of any such claims in this past week of revelations.
Dr Disrespect’s past troubles are well known. He stepped away from streaming for a while when it was publicly revealed he had been unfaithful to his wife (who he is still with, and has voiced thanks for support in this most recent situation). Then, he was temporarily banned from Twitch after streaming from a public bathroom. And yet, this past week we did not hear any claims made about him publicly, though that isn’t to say they didn’t happen privately.
But what’s unfolding is clearly serious. While Twitch is not confirming the permanent ban, they have issued refunds to Dr Disrespect’s “Champions Club” subscribers. I cannot remember ever seeing this happen before outside of when Ninja and Shroud left Twitch for Mixer. That very much implies this ban is long-term or permanent.
I have seen two people in the industry publicly claim knowledge of what Dr Disrespect has done to earn this ban. The first is Slasher:
I have known Slasher a long time as an internet acquaintance and I know two things. One is that his inside information is almost always correct, and second, that he’s not scared of spilling secrets, usually about big esports deals and such. But the fact that he won’t say what he knows here is further evidence about the potential severity of what’s going on.
The second person is ShannonZKiller, a streamer who posted and deleted a tweet saying that she knew what had happened, and that Dr Disrespect was done “not just on Twitch.” This was later given additional credence once it became known that Dr Disrespect’s Discord partnership also seems to have ended. So big things are happening behind the scenes.
All of this points to something rather dark. The only reason I can think of as to why this hasn’t leaked yet is that something was shared privately with Twitch that was A) too distressing to air publicly in the past week of revelations and B) possibly criminal. Everyone is citing Dr Disrespect’s former infidelity as possibly coming up again, but that does not seem like what this is. And if it is an ongoing criminal issue that potentially could have law enforcement involved, it would very much make it clear why Twitch or even insiders don’t want to say that publicly. But when you think of all the things that have come out about streamers this past week, your mind leaps to a few obvious candidates of what might have happened here, but again, it’s not wise to speculate on specifics. Though yes, this is likely to be much larger than DMCA drama or bathroom streaming, and it will not stay hidden forever.
One final thing worth taking a look at is the end of Dr Disrespect’s last stream, caught on video. He appears to get a message on his phone, reads it, and his demeanor totally changes before he abruptly ends the stream. And that’s the last we’ve seen of him. And may be the last we ever see of him on a streaming platform, if these rumors are true.
Check back here for further updates but for now, it seems clear this is extremely serious, given Twitch’s significant action and the silence surrounding the specifics. I reached out to Dr Disrespect for comment, but his listed business email on YouTube returned a kickback error. Stay tuned.
Update : Dr Disrespect has finally posted a public statement about his ban, and it’s just made everyone even more confused.
Again, Dr Disrespect signed a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract with Twitch in March. If they simply terminated that without cause, without letting him know why, he would likely have recourse against them. So either he’s not being entirely honest here, or Twitch has genuinely not told him yet at the direction of…a third party. These are the only explanations that would make sense. I do not believe this is any kind of publicity stunt on either Doc’s end or Twitch’s end, like some are saying. More to come.
Update 2 (6/29):
Since Doc’s initial statement, we have heard nothing further from him or Twitch, or any potential leakers, and only a few more people have claimed knowledge of the reason for the ban. Those that have, still are not saying. As Slasher notes, it is usually Twitch policy not to comment or even inform streamers about exact reasons for bans, which includes why it may be true they have not told Doc directly. And yet given that they had a contract with him signed in March, it seems likely this is much more complicated than the average ban.
I have done my best to debunk two popular rumors that have cropped up over the last few days, one being the Dr Disrespect, Ninja and Shroud were moving to a brand new streaming service called Brime, which appears to be just four random people who thought about starting a new site after Mixer’s collapse, and they seem to have no real infrastructure or funding in place, so that is nothing.
The second is the idea of Spotify courting the trio, originally from a 4chan leak (which said Spotify is owned by Google, which it is not). A Spotify Games Twitter account recently appeared, linked to spotify.com/games, redirecting to a blank page, and yet that domain seems to have existed since 2016. This is also likely nothing.
Again, all signs here point to some sort of serious legal issue, judging by the complete secrecy and silence surrounding one of the most high profile streamer bans of all time. If the reason does come out, it will likely not be from either Twitch or Doc, as it will likely have to be a third party, or possibly law enforcement itself, if that is indeed the issue here. As ever, stay tuned.