Dr Disrespect Knowingly Sent Explicit Messages to a Minor, Former Twitch Employee Says (2024)

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Banned from the platform in 2020 over inappropriate texts to an underage girl, the streamer continues to insist he did nothing wrong

Four years after gamer celebrity and streaming star Dr Disrespect, 42, was banned from Twitch for undisclosed reasons, reports emerged this week that he had allegedly used the Amazon-owned platform’s direct-messaging feature to send sexually explicit texts to a minor. Now, the internal response to those alleged conversations — long a subject of rumor and speculation — is finally coming to light.

In June 2020, there was a #MeToo reckoning within the gaming community, with dozens in the industry leveling more than 70 allegations of sexual misconduct and assault against high-profile streamers, esports broadcasters, and game developers. Twitch responded to the outcry on June 21, 2020, promising to take strong and immediate action on credible allegations against their creators. “We take accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct extremely seriously,” the company said in a statement. “We are actively looking into the accounts concerning streamers affiliated with Twitch and will work with law enforcement where applicable.”

Guy Beahm, a.k.a. Dr Disrespect, a flamboyant game personality and one of the most popular creators on Twitch, with 4 million followers at the time, was permanently banned from the platform five days later. Renowned for playing battle royale shoot-’em-up games in character as a kind of alpha jock sporting a thick mustache and mullet wig, he had signed a major multiyear deal with the company that March. Commenting on his lifetime suspension, Twitch would only confirm that he had violated community guidelines. Soon after, Discord cut him loose from their partnership program, reserved for the most active and popular server communities. Beahm went on to sue Twitch over financial losses and reputational damages, and settled with the company in 2022. Neither party admitted to any wrongdoing, and the details of this legal agreement remain unclear.

Meanwhile, the cause for the ban remained a mystery, prompting years of innuendo, conspiracy theories, and questions about why neither Twitch nor gaming journalists had been able to reveal the nature of Beahm’s violation. (Full disclosure: The primary author of this article, Rod Breslau, first learned the reason for Beahm’s ban from credible sources in June 2020, but chose not to report on it then due to the extreme sensitivity of the topic.)

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The gossip reached a fever pitch on June 21, when former Twitch employee Cody Conners — without naming Beahm — tweeted what many interpreted as an explanation of why he’d been banned. Beahm denied any wrongdoing in a tweet the following day. “I didn’t do anything wrong, all this has been probed and settled, nothing illegal, no wrongdoing was found,” he wrote. But after independently reviewing internal Twitch communications and interviewing a source with knowledge of the situation, Rolling Stone has learned that Beahm was kicked off the platform in 2020 for allegedly sexting a minor through a messaging feature called Whispers, even after learning she was underage. He also allegedly inquired about her plans to attend TwitchCon, the company’s semi-annual gaming convention.

On Monday, Beahm was fired from Midnight Society, the gaming studio he co-founded, which said it had investigated the allegation against him after learning of it the night of Conners’ cryptic tweet. (The company did not reply to a request for comment.) Then, on Tuesday, reporting from the Verge’s Ash Parrish and Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio matched the details of Beahm’s case to Conners’ account. Three sources confirmed to Bloomberg that Beahm had been kicked off the site for sending direct messages to a minor that included sexually graphic details. Two of those sources also confirmed that Beahm had asked her about plans for the upcoming TwitchCon.

Beahm, who did not reply to a request for comment on this story, once again took to Twitter to defend himself, this time with a longer statement in which he admitted to “having mutual conversations with a minor that sometimes leaned too much in the direction of being inappropriate.” (The tweet’s edit history shows that Beahm had edited the tweet after posting it to remove the word “minor,” replacing it with “individual,” though once readers noticed this change, the word “minor” reappeared.)

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“Nothing illegal happened, no pictures were shared, no crimes were committed, I never even met the individual,” Beahm claimed. “I went through a lengthy arbitration regarding a civil dispute with Twitch and that case was resolved by a settlement…But trust me when I say this…to all my haters that live and breath [sic] social media with zero real life experience, I don’t give a f*ck about you. They want me to disappear… yeah f*cking right.” (Beahm did not respond to Rolling Stone’s request for comment.)

THE TWITCH BAN

Hello, I'd like to make a quick statement..

Lets cut the f*cking bullsh*t, as you know there's no filter with me. I've always been up front and real with you guys on anything that I can be up front about, and I'm always willing to accept responsibility… which…

— Dr Disrespect (@DrDisrespect) June 25, 2024

A former Twitch trust and safety employee who worked for the platform at the time Beahm was banned and has direct knowledge of the matter confirmed to Rolling Stone that Beahm continued to send sexually graphic messages to a minor he knew to be underage. This former employee, who requested anonymity to avoid jeopardizing their career, also said that crucial elements of Beahm’s latest defensive tweet are inaccurate.

“I recall that Dr Disrespect was made aware by the individual that they were underage during the conversation, after which he indicated that this was no problem and continued on,” the former employee says. “There was no confusion. Messages sent after this was acknowledged were no less graphic and in sexually explicit nature than before, and I think more than the categorization of ‘leaning too much in the direction of being inappropriate’ might indicate.”

The ex-Twitch employee has also provided Rolling Stone a more detailed account of internal conversations at Twitch following the report of Beahm’s messages and his subsequent ban. They say the details of Beahm’s case are coming out because of Conners’ explosive tweet last week. “Cody definitely got the ball rolling. Me and many of my former colleagues are only comfortable speaking up now because of it. Our priority is always to the safety of the [alleged] victim and to keep their identity secret,” they said.

As some of its streamers faced a flood of sexual misconduct allegations in June 2020, Twitch created an incident response team code-named “Gold Sparrow” to develop a process to investigate and take action on the reports as one unit, the former employee says. “We wanted to be able to process mounting investigations quicker and with more resources while providing as much support for the victims as possible,” the former employee says. (Twitch did not provide comment by press time.)

When the initial report about Beahm’s alleged inappropriate messages came through in 2020, an investigation began. “After viewing the contents of the Whisper conversation, it quickly became clear the egregiousness of conduct and what actions Twitch must take,” the former employee says. “The decision to permanently terminate Beahm was relatively quick, due to the severity of the behavior.” A source with knowledge of the matter toldRolling Stonethat Dr Disrespect was reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children the day of his ban, in compliance with federal law. The source says they do not know if any investigation resulted from the report. (Beahm did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this.)

Twitch can’t and won’t make the alleged messages public, the ex-employee says, as this “not only endangers the victim and investigations by law enforcement.”

In early 2021, the Twitch trust and safety team created OSIT, an investigation team for reports of off-site misconduct by creators. At the time, the company described the initiative as a direct response to “allegations of sexual misconduct that surfaced across the gaming industry over the summer.” In assessing those allegations, the company said, it had “realized that our current policy regarding off-service misconduct was not clear enough.” Among the alleged off-site behaviors it pledged to investigate were sexual exploitation of children, including child grooming.

Following Beahm’s ban from Twitch and time away from the spotlight, he announced a return to streaming on YouTube in August 2020. But while he was free to use both that platform and Facebook Gaming, neither offered him an exclusive partnership. His lack of a streaming contract was notable for a celebrity in the industry at a time when other streamers like Valkyrae, Ludwig Ahgren, and TimTheTatman were signing seven-figure, multiyear deals.

YouTube’s former global head of gaming partnerships at Google, Ryan Wyatt, confirmed to Rolling Stone that Beahm was not offered a contract due to chatter about the circ*mstances of his Twitch ban. He says that a Twitch employee and journalists investigating the incident told YouTube employees that it involved inappropriate messages to a minor.

“The unfortunate part of all of it was there were so many rumors circulating in the industry, one that a minor was involved,” he says. “But no one produced first-hand knowledge or evidence, and because of those rumors, there was no reason to entertain doing any deal with [Beahm], and no evidence produced means you can’t act on a [terms of service] violation. The whole situation got even more confusing when Twitch settled and effectively said ‘no wrongdoing,’ which made everyone in the industry dismiss the rumors, but even still, there was never a reason to do a deal with him after that ban.”

A spokesperson for CAA, Beahm’s talent agency since signing in 2019, tells Rolling Stone he is no longer a client and hasn’t been for some time. Several high-profile streamers, including Kai Cenat, Codemiko, and Valkyrae, have condemned Beahm in recent days. The San Francisco 49ers, for whom he had sometimes played a promotional role, announced they were cutting ties with him, while the video game franchise NBA 2K said it would remove his character from the series.

“Even today I’m humbled by that experience,” says the former Twitch employee who was at the company when it mobilized to address the reports of misconduct by Beahm and others in the summer of 2020. “The bravery of the victims speaking out and the commitment by my colleagues to doing right by them. I hope that we’re all on a better path now for it.”

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Correction, June 28, 12:50 p.m.: Whispers is still a feature on Twitch. A previous version of this article stated that it had been discontinued.

Update, June 29, 10:50 p.m.: This story now includes that Twitch reported Dr Disrespect to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, per a source with knowledge on the matter.

Dr Disrespect Knowingly Sent Explicit Messages to a Minor, Former Twitch Employee Says (2024)
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