Tom B. August 18, 2019
Félix “xQc” Lengyel is seen as a “brand risk” by Twitch.
The 23-year-old former Dallas Fuel player has become one of Twitch’s most popular variety streamers over the last year. Despite having almost 1.5 million followers on the platform, Twitch seems to have serious concerns over his conduct on the site.
Lengyel made the revelation on-stream while discussing another content creator. “I’m a brand risk,” xQc said. “They already told me. They told me I’m a brand risk. I know that already. But I’m already partnered, so.”
Twitch offers partnerships to streamers who it views as being the “world’s most popular video game broadcasters, personalities, leagues, teams, and tournaments.” The status comes with a range of benefits such as monetization through advertising and the potential for followers to become monthly subscribers.
It is unclear what sort of penalties being a “brand risk” may incur on a streamer, but there’s no mystery as to why Twitch would label xQc as such.
The many, many controversies of xQc
Less than a week into the Overwatch League’s first season, xQc was suspended for homophobic remarks directed at Houston Outlaws player Austin "Muma" Wilmot during a Twitch stream. Muma is openly gay. The Overwatch League suspended him for four games, which the Fuel then extended to the entire first phase of the season.
XQc was suspended again two months later for another four games, this time for using “an emote in a racially disparaging manner on the league’s stream and on social media.” In particular, xQc spammed the Trihard emote in Twitch’s chat when Overwatch League host Malik Forte, who is African-American, appeared on screen during a broadcast. This resulted in his release from the Fuel.
After being ejected from Overwatch League, xQc received in-game bans for abusive behavior in August and November 2018.
Brands who advertise on Twitch’s streams ideally do not want their products or services associated with any content deemed controversial or sensitive. This has become a regular source of controversy among content creators, particularly on YouTube which has received heavy criticism for demonetizing channels for a variety of reasons.
Twitch has not yet encountered these issues en masse, but the platform is evidently keeping track of potentially problematic personalities should advertisers start withholding money.
Though xQc already has his foot in the door, it appears that being identified as a “brand risk” can be troublesome for streamers that are aspiring to become partners.
He focused in on another streamer, Sliker, who has not yet been able to become a partner. “The real reason, my guess on it, is that he hangs out with a lot of people that are not ‘brand-friendly’ and are considered a ‘brand risk,’” xQc said. He went on to suggest that if Sliker did more collaborations with brand-friendly streamers he would get his partnership.