Natalia Mogollon, who streams under the name “Alinity Divine” on Twitch, was playing Apex Legends on camera on July 18 when she took her cat from off her desk and threw it behind her, a clip that soon went viral. Mogollon has since apologized for it, while others, including from inside Twitch, are calling for her to temporarily be banned from the platform.
The incident blew up on social media Friday, where it was eventually picked up by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which shared a clip of it on Twitter to its over 1 million followers. “Take a stand for cats & please remove Alinity from @Twitch immediately,” PETA wrote. “She is using the platform to post animal abuse, which sends a dangerous message to anyone watching her videos. Cats are not props to abuse for more views.”
PETA hasn’t always been known for engaging in debates around the humane treatment of animals in good faith, and there’s no evidence that Mogollon threw her cat in order to gain “more views.” Others, like popular streamer Imane ‘Pokimane’ Anys, had a more measured response. “If I picked Mimi up and I tossed her to the side here she would land on my bed because my bed’s right there,” Anys said, trying to imagine herself being in Mogollon’s situation. “But also I wouldn’t overhand ‘yeet’ her, that’s a bit much.”
Critics of Mogollon also surfaced other clips, including one in which she drank vodka from a bottle and then had her cat lick it from her mouth.
“Hey everyone, I understand the concern and I am sorry for my lapses in judgement,” Mogollon said Friday afternoon on Twitter. “I shouldn’t have gotten frustrated with Milo, but I dropped him on the floor behind my chair. I’m not that strong :P. The Vodka thing was well over a year ago but it was also a stupid thing to do.”
She said that she would welcome any authority that wanted to inspect the living conditions of her pets. “I think a lot of people are doing this because they believe they are doing the right thing, so no salt,” she said. “I don’t pretend to be perfect, and I will always try to do better, and improve myself.“
Over the weekend, however, Twitch’s own director of creative development, Marcus “djWHEAT” Graham, said he was upset by the news and thought Mogollon should temporarily be banned from Twitch. “If it was up to me I would ban her for at least 30 days,” he said on Twitter. “I would ask to see an awareness stream and potential charity drive for pet abuse or pet charities, I would put forth a 90 day probation post-ban with a no-tolerance period (you mess up = ban) & check ins.”
Graham stressed that this was only hypothetical, and that any actual punishment would be left up to Twitch’s moderation team. But his statements have helped to keep the controversy alive.
On Sunday, Mogollan said on Twitter that strangers were showing up at her home. “Please stop coming to my house and asking my neighbours where I am, she wrote. “It’s actually really scary.”
Mogollon has been the target of online harassment in the past, raising questions about how much of the outrage over these clips is motivated by genuine concern and how much of it is driven by people who want to punish Mogollon simply for being a popular female streamer.
Last year, Felix “Pewdiepie” Kjellberg called the women in a video he was watching, in which Mogollon appeared, “stupid Twitch thots.” This led to an extended back-and-forth between them in which Kjellberg at one point argued that it was Mogollon’s own fault if people called her names for dressing the way she did. While Kjeilberg said in a follow-up video that he did not condone any type of harassment, the comments under it were filled with people attacking her for how she dressed.
Neither Twitch nor Mogollan immediately responded to a request for comment by Kotaku.