In a new report, multiple employees from Twitch have alleged that sexual assault, misogyny, and racism have been prominent issues at the company since it first launched as Justin.tv. Gamesindustry.biz was approached by one former employee before the outlet interviewed 16 others spanning the company's history. While some of the employees interviewed stated that they did not see the alleged conduct, others corroborated the claims. According to the reports, these issues happened both behind closed doors, and during company events. Some stated that the company became more professional after it was purchased by Amazon in 2014, but others claim that the problems still persist.
"Twitch repeatedly swept accounts of harassment and abuse under the rug: sexual, verbal, physical abuse, and racism," one former employee told Gamesindustry.biz. "And not just my own. It took place in the office. At events. In meetings and behind closed doors. It was rampant and unavoidable. We heard about it in the halls. We saw it at our desks. It was overt and part of the job."
According to the allegations, the concerns of women streamers were often not taken seriously. This also extended to employees, as well. One employee alleged that another was spit on by a coworker and called a slur. When a claim was made, the employee was reportedly asked what she did to deserve it. Multiple employees alleged instances of "extremely inappropriate, abusive, degrading, and cruel" conduct. Others alleged that racial slurs were common, and treated as jokes. Reports of similar victim blaming were made by other employees, as well.
Gamesindustry.biz reached out to Twitch regarding the allegations. The company responded that they do take allegations such as these seriously, pointing out that some of these allegations are older, and things have changed, over the years.
"We take any allegations of this nature extremely seriously, whether on our service or within our company, and work swiftly to investigate and address them as appropriate. Any suggestions to the contrary misrepresent our culture, leadership, and values, " a Twitch Spokesperson told Gamesindustry.biz. "Many of these allegations are years old, and we've taken numerous steps to better protect and support our employees and community, and will continue to invest time and resources in this area."
To learn more about what you can do to prevent sexual violence, please consider donating to RAINN or visit RAINN's website for a number of resources. If you or a loved one has suffered because of sexual violence, contact RAINN's National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline.