Olivia R. May 17, 2020
Ever since Twitch announced the formation of a Safety Advisory Council, the streaming community has been up in arms.
A lot of the frustration has been focused on one particularly outspoken member of the council, streamer Steph "FerociouslySteph" Loehr. FerociouslySteph is a trans woman, a furry, and a lot of other things that she feels "people hate about diversity and acceptance." While her identity alone has some people calling her "mentally ill," it was FerociouslySteph's stance on eliminating voice chat from video games that really got the gaming community riled up.
After stating that voice chat is "unfair," FerociouslySteph dismissed much of the response by following up with the claim that many of those disagreeing with her were just "cis white males."
"A lot of people with cis white male sounding voices are here telling me that voice chat isn't a problem and that is a chat. They have voices that aren't marginalized and are telling me just to mute. I've been through this already," FerociouslySteph said.
It was her conclusion that "cis white males" are the only ones who benefit from voice chat, since they don't have voices that lead to judgement or harassment.
Twitch community lashes out at FerociouslySteph
This point of view unsurprisingly led to many well known Twitch streamers speaking out against the council member. Many of their followers echoed their complaints, with some even saying she should be removed from the council for discrimination against a certain gender.
The most recent personality to provide their response to FerociouslySteph is famous World of Warcraft streamer Asmongold. In a recent stream, he ranted about how unfair it was that FerociouslySteph could "say negative things about white people and it's fine," while streamers such as him and Felix "xQc" Lengyel would be banned if it was about "black people or trans people" instead.
"I would be gone off the platform. But they do it and it's completely okay and Twitch accepts it. Everyone is afraid to say what's fucking obvious. We'd be off the platform in a fucking second if you replaced what she said with any other group of people." Asmongold said.
The reason terms like "cis white male" are often allowed and not considered discrimination on platforms like Twitter is the fact that these groups of people are not as marginalized and as such are not as commonly subject to systemic oppression or discrimination. But some argue that it's still offensive to single out any group including this one even if it represents a majority. They would claim that such a stance is hypocritical.
Twitch has already spoken up about the controversy. In a statement to Newsweek, the streaming platform made it clear that they were taking FerociouslySteph's side on the matter, stating that "the safety of our council members is our top priority." They claim they have already "taken preventatitive measures" to ensure their safety and well-being.
The Twitch Safety Advisory Council was created to "inform and guide" Twitch's decisions based on the members' "experience and expertise," as well as aligning with Twitch's mission of "empowering communities to create together." The eight members are a blend of Twitch content creators and "online safety experts" with an outsider's perspective on the Twitch community. The members will focus on creating and updating policies and developing products and features that not only benefit the streaming community as a whole, but "protect marginalized groups' interests."