Most people online knew Angel Hamilton as zilianOP, a disabled man in a wheelchair who loved to stream games live on the Internet. Like many Twitch users, zilianOP allowed viewers to donate money, and some people did. Then on April 5, viewers watched in shock as Hamilton stood up from his wheelchair mid-stream.
Footage of the random event was recorded by viewers who erected threads and an angry website in response. These viewers felt misled. The public consensus, which was based on what viewers had seen on earlier streams, was that Hamilton was completely disabled. As such, standing up from his wheelchair was determined to be impossible. You can watch Hamilton stand up from his wheelchair in the video above.
Kotaku is unable to confirm if earlier footage of Hamilton gives off the impression of complete immobility, as Twitch determined that Hamilton was in violation of their Terms of Services. This means that Zilian's Twitch channel was closed down and his earlier streams are not viewable by anyone outside of Twitch. Twitch was unable to share the videos with Kotaku.
Hamilton's girlfriend, who is also audible in the video above—she says "oh my god" when Hamilton gets up—also had her account closed for a Terms of Service violation.
Kotaku reached out to Twitch to inquire about the nature of the ToS violation. Twitch issued the following statement:
The Twitch broadcaster, Zilianop, did indeed have his channel closed and his partnership contract terminated on the basis of fraud. Moving forward, we'll be offering refunds to those who subscribed to his channel through Twitch. We have zero tolerance for this type of behavior and the character demonstrated in this situation is truly reprehensible. His actions are a huge slap in the face to Twitch community members with real disabilities such as Aieron, and groups such as AbleGamers, who have helped spread a message of inclusiveness and positivity to not only the Twitch community, but gaming as a whole.
Twitch also confirmed to us that Hamilton's girlfriend had her account closed because of the incident. Despite multiple attempts, Kotaku has not been able to get into contact with Hamilton.
The Diablowned website purports that Hamilton scammed people out of thousands of dollars for the last couple of years, sometimes asking for money for wheelchair-related expenses. Twitch could not comment on figures. Because Hamilton's channel was closed, it's impossible to look through his archives and confirm that he had been taking donations for years, or that he tried using his disability to gain the sympathy of potential donors. However, Hamilton's YouTube channel has footage that goes back up to six months ago. At least one of these videos shows Hamilton in a wheelchair, joking about a benefit of being in a wheelchair.
There is also footage of Hamilton talking about giveaways, and though his former Twitch page did encourage people to donate, it seems to only be on the basis of allowing Hamilton to continue streaming and doing giveaways.
The Diablowned website also displays chat logs where Hamilton claims that he actually fell out of the chair and 'ate it,' but Kotaku cannot verify the authenticity of the chat log.
Kotaku reached out to Hamilton for comment in an attempt to get the full story, but he has not responded. We will update the story if Hamilton reaches out to us. For now, we acknowledge that there is the possibility that Hamilton had limited mobility despite being incapacitated in some manner. Twitch has confidence in its assessment of Hamilton's situation.
The Twitch employee who was in charge of his Partnership account had watched his broadcasts for some time, and much like his viewers, was fully under the impression that ZilianOP was disabled to the point of being wheelchair bound. They never had any reason to question otherwise, as we have an existing community of disabled broadcasters.