Twitch Safety Advisory Council member FerociouslySteph in controversy

Olivia Richman • May 16, 23:10

Twitch’s latest community initiative is already generating more controversy than buzz.

Twitch recently announced the creation of a Safety Advisory Council that will “inform and guide” the streaming platform’s decisions going forward. This includes making the experience more positive and welcoming for users, drafting new policies, improving moderation, and “protecting marginalized groups’ interests.” 

But just days after the eight council members were announced, the streaming community had already lashed out at some of its new members. Activist and trans woman Steph “FerociouslySteph” Loehr was asked to join the council in April. Since then, she’s already been experiencing harassment on Twitter and Reddit. 

A Twitch clip of FerociouslySteph getting her head scratched by her significant other was shared around Reddit, eventually making the front page of r/LiveStreamFails. The clip had people calling her a “freak” and claiming she has a mental illness. In the clip, FerociouslySteph has her head scratched while her partner calls her a “forest creature.” 

FerociouslySteph told Newsweek that the video was a demonstration of her sensitivity that she found cute. 

“It wasn’t pretty or meant to be, but it was meant for me to share something I know would be judged to hopefully help people like me see they’re not alone and accept themselves more,” she explained. 

Streaming community has harsh reaction for FerociouslySteph

Another clip of FerociouslySteph has been getting even more of a backlash from the Twitch community. During a live stream, the council member opined that voice chat in competitive games in inherently is unfair.

“The only way to have a level playing field at the highest level of play is to not have voice chat, giving up their linguistic profiles. Competition requires you to get every advantage possible. You have to squeeze every amount of advantage you can get. Voice chat is unfair. Period,” she said. 

Another clip of FerociouslySteph following up on the topic received an even bigger backlash. She observed that it was mostly “cis white males” that were arguing against voice chat being banned.

On a podcast, Overwatch streamer Felix “xQc” Lengyel said that FerociouslySteph’s opinion was “objectively and unequivocally stupid.” Fellow streamer Knut said that she should be kicked off the council for her take on the topic. 

“She can trash talk this way… If we say another word back, we’re banned, we’re canceled… She’s saying shit about other groups. It doesn’t matter if they’re marginalized or not. Everyone should be held to the same standard,” Knut responded. 

Knut got a lot of support on Reddit, with many on the thread calling her a “nutcase.” Some said that she has been made fun of on voice chat for having a “deeper voice,” leading her to this stance. Others felt she should get banned for “targeting a group of people based on gender.” 

FerociouslySteph followed up to say that she is getting harassed because she “represents a lot of things people hate about diversity and acceptance.” She said some people view her as a “threat to their video game mechanics” and also dislike her for her “pride.” 

Despite the backlash, FerociouslySteph said she isn’t going to step down from the council. She even said on Twitter that she “empathizes with her harassers.” For now, members of the council are waiting to see how Twitch will react to their feedback in the coming weeks. 

“The safety of our council members is our top priority and we’ve taken preventative measures to help ensure their safety and well-being. We are in close communication with each of the members and are working diligently to provide them with whatever support they may need,” Twitch said to Newsweek yesterday. 

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