It had been two months since self-described “titty streamer” Kaceytron finally covered up.

Chunky sweaters and strings of pearls replaced her daily streaming uniform of tank tops and push-up bras. Her nearly 500,000 Twitch followers were at a loss: Some wondered whether Kaceytron had contracted a brain injury, forever altering her personality. Others recognized a mischievous tone behind her deadpan condemnations of the so-called “Twitch slut” epidemic. Now, live on Twitch in a turtleneck and a pom-pom cap, Kaceytron announced it was time for her performance review. Scrolling through Yahoo Messenger chats with a man named “Tyrone”—her manager, she said—Kaceytron reads one aloud: “Here’s ur review stupid bitch.”

Kaceytron clicked the link. A video of a man in a Burberry print hat popped up. “What the fuck are you wearing?” Tyrone yelled. “The whole reason we started any of this was to make the money, baby! Everybody knows that the Twitch sluts make the most money!”

It was all an act, of course; just the latest extension of the sardonic and studied one-woman reality show that is Kaceytron. “Tyrone” was some guy she found on Fiverr. At the local thrift store, she’d bought the most ludicrous grandma sweaters she could find. It was her latest and greatest troll, a deadpan attempt to convince Twitch viewers that her channel had pivoted to a serious gaming stream, foregoing her former business model of—in her own words—objectifying herself for donations.

Kaceytron displays a “Whore Certificate” sent to her by a fan.

The next day, Kaceytron restored her “Twitch slut” brand, streaming Overwatch in a red shirt with a plunging neckline. She sorrowfully retrieved several golden trophies from offscreen to demonstrate her fall from grace: an award for “Smasher of the Patriarchy,” another for “The Most Honorable Woman.” Fans had sent these to her P.O. box in Kansas City, Missouri, along with an elegant-looking document that read “Whore Certificate.”

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“I have the certification to do this, to show my tits on Twitch,” she said, holding up the framed certificate. “Please be sure to follow my slut stream.”


Kacey Caviness, 27, is an old hand at Twitch, where she’s been streaming as Kaceytron since 2013. The pearl-clutching mini-drama, which her viewers called “Conservatron,” is one of the dozens of skits she crafted for an over-the-top persona not unlike Stephen Colbert’s on The Colbert Report. It’s easy to believe that she is what she says, but it’s more rewarding to be in on the joke. And Kaceytron does a lot of work to keep things ambiguous.

What Caviness does on Twitch evades description. Somewhere between satirist and troll, Kaceytron doesn’t ride the waves of streaming culture so much as she fans them as they crash down on the shore and pull everyone into their undertow.

“The observer gets to see it how they want to see it,” Caviness told Kotaku via Discord last month. “People who are upset about female streamers wearing low-cut tops will see it and say, ‘Oh, yeah, she’s making fun of female streamers acting like sluts for views.’ The way I see it is, it’s making fun of the people who get upset about that.”

Before her stream became one of Twitch’s most infamous, Caviness was a store manager at Earthbound Trading Company, a bohemian-style boutique outside Kansas City, a place she says she “never quite made it out of.” Among suburban Missouri’s flat highways, chain restaurants and quaint one-story homes, Caviness grew up poor, with a younger sister and a little brother who has autism.

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When she was five, her grandmother took the kids in while their mother struggled with a drug addiction. She whiled away her childhood on everything from Donkey Kong Country to Diablo 2—ironic, she says, since she now brands herself as a “fake gamer girl.”

“Whenever our grandma first got a computer, Kacey would hog it playing Diablo II and Starcraft,” said Caviness’ sister Holly. “In 2004, whenever Kacey started playing World of Warcraft, anybody else getting any computer time was just a joke.” At 17, Caviness moved out of her grandma’s place. She took a few college classes, but nothing really stuck, so she bounced around retail jobs—Gap, Claire’s, Delia’s.

In 2013, using her longtime nom de screen of Kaceytron, she decided to livestream World of Warcraft, which she’d been playing on and off for nearly ten years. A feed from a webcam pointed at her—brunette, busty, and wearing rectangular glasses—dominated the bottom left corner of the video. She’d narrate the minutiae of everything she did, peppering big World of Warcraft plays with plenty of expletives. Sometimes, she’d goof around by intentionally making bad or ditzy moves, like running back and forth across a bridge instead of engaging earnestly in a fight. “This one’s all about the bridge play,” she’d say, straight-faced. Other times, she’d praise her own incompetent, backfired attacks with the greatest hyperbole.

Kaceytron receives a $100 donation from a regular who refers to himself as a “White Knight.”

Twitch was a different landscape in its nascent years. There were master-class gamers, the high-ranking League of Legends pros and trick-shotting Call of Duty: Black Ops II masters. And then there was everyone else. If you weren’t playing games at an expert level, and you were a guy, you were just a scrub. That was acceptable enough on Twitch. But if you were a woman doing the same thing, it was another story: you were a “fake girl gamer.” Old-school female streamers I’ve interviewed say that, in Twitch’s early days, there was a hard divide between “real gamers” and so-called “camwhores” on Twitch. And the “real” gamers believed that the “camwhores” were stealing views from their hard-working male counterparts, who were not blessed with enough cleavage to entice new subscribers.

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Accordingly, viewers rained hate down on Kaceytron right from the get-go. They accused her not only of being bad at games, but of leveraging her goods for clicks. It didn’t upset her, she says. The backlash, to her, was hilarious—how could people care so much about this? Kaceytron decided to lean in—figuratively and literally. The necklines dropped and the trolling increased.

“Instead of banning them, it was more empowering for me to fuck with them,” Caviness said with a laugh. “It was more empowering to say, ‘You know what? It doesn’t bother me. I’m gonna shove it in your face and piss you off more.’”

When one WoW stream viewer told Kaceytron that she was “too stupid to insult, a troll paradigm,” she read the message out loud on stream, enunciating: “par-a-dig-ma. . . par-a-dig-em?” She adds, “Yeah, my main is a troll” before dropping her avatar off her flying dragon mount onto the ground, where she dies.

It was a clip known today simply as “This game is easy” that helped rocket Kaceytron into Twitch infamy. It was her first foray into the famously toxic world of League of Legends. In a low-cut pink tank top, she explains that she’s choosing the champion Ahri “because it’s a girl and she looks cute.” Later, she says of the hardcore strategy game: “This game is good for kids that can’t really afford $14.99 a month for World of Warcraft.

The responses to Kaceytron’s obvious trolling are not unexpected. Someone tells her to drink bleach. A message from a $1 donor scrolls across the top of her screen: “Nice tits but you are a dirty ass slut with a huge vag.”

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As the game continues, Kaceytron takes mass amounts of damage, repeatedly getting herself killed. As exasperated viewers attempt to explain to her how to play, she responds only by stating firmly: “This is my game. Gaming is my thing. Gaming is my fucking life. Gaming is my life right now. I’ve been gaming since I was a baby.” She adds in a confident tone that she’s going to become a professional League of Legends player.

All in all, hundreds of viewers tuned in to harass her for the crime of not being sufficiently reverent towards a video game. Her stream was ridiculed across League of Legends message boards and subreddits. “It got the League community so upset to see this girl who was terrible at the game saying she was good,” Caviness said. “The whole League community was freaking out, saying I should be banned. Riot couldn’t ban me because they could never prove that I wasn’t trying. The only thing they could prove was that I was bad because I’d just started playing.”

Two years and thousands of subscribers later, Caviness mustered the courage to quit her day job and made the leap to full-time streaming. It was a leap of faith. “There’s a whole element of growing up poor where I wouldn’t say I hate money—I don’t hate money—but I wanted to make sure I felt genuine about [making] it, that I didn’t feel disingenuous about taking their money.”

Her stream ran off a brash business model—accepting $1 and $2 donations from viewers who, in exchange, littered her channel with slurs and toxicity. Then again, could you call it a new business model? Dunk tanks have been around since the 1800s. Clowns, since ancient Egypt. Kaceytron was more like the Andy Kaufman of Twitch—she’s joking… isn’t she?

Kaceytron branded herself as a professional “fake gamer girl,” a parody of a stereotype that existed in gamers’ heads, and invited those same gamers into her fandom. When she died in games, she’d scream. She’d stall, sometimes for over an hour, before she’d load up a game to play on Twitch—apparently just to raise the hackles of Twitch purists who believe that a game must be played at all times, lest the sanctity of Twitch as a gaming destination be violated. When she played poorly, she’d say it was because she was a girl. Kaceytron regularly referred to herself as a “slut,” always wearing some low-cut tank or blouse. When she got a new subscriber, she’d welcome them into her “titty stream.”

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Flames she stoked sometimes spread to other women’s streams, a criticism that’s been waged against her. Some Twitch streamers said Kaceytron was cultivating a toxic community in exchange for toxic $1 donations.When I asked whether that was accurate, Kaceytron paused before giving her answer.

“I wouldn’t say I encouraged that so much as I always have a unique response when I get a donation,” she said. It’s true: Kaceytron plays off her audience to an extraordinary degree. Viewers know that, if they post something funny in her chat, there’s a good chance she’ll read it out loud and riff on it. If they send her something in the mail, she’ll display it proudly on stream, even if it’s a “Whore Certificate.” Especially if it’s a “Whore Certificate.” Kaceytron does admit that she’s tended to react most to her audience’s toxicity—and if you reward something, you always get more of it. But even there, it’s ambiguous. Kaceytron maintains that many of her trolls are also her most ardent fans and subscribers. And a lot of them are in on the joke.

“They want to feel like they’re funny too,” Kaceyton said. “They’d try to come up with these toxic, funny donations just to hear my response to it: ‘What is Kaceytron going to say if I say this to her?’” Sometimes, nothing. In 2015, when text-to-speech donations became popular, Kaceytron received several donations repeating lyrics to Lil B’s “Woo Woo Swag.” For two hours, it played. She never addressed it. When her stream ended, Kaceytron pulled up her donation log and saw that it had amounted to $2,000. She donated it to charity.

Kaceytron offers lessons in her Trump-inspired Kaceytron University.

Caviness has never taken an improv class or studied comedy, but said she’s an avid fan of Mr. Show and Tim and Eric, which she says first inspired her to do what she does. Interspersed between her bread-and-butter gaming streams, Kaceytron broadcasts “bits,” comedy sketches that parody streaming culture. Noticing streamers’ sponsorships with sketchy companies like G2A or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive lottery sites, Kaceytron decided in 2015 that she’d shill for Green Groves Dairy Farm, a completely made-up company. Deadpan and even-toned, Kaceytron described her new sponsorship to viewers before airing a Green Groves Dairy Farm commercial, something straight out of A Prairie Home Companion. Over a banjo track, a man in a Southern accent takes viewers on a tour of his family’s dairy farm. (The voice in the video was a fan volunteer, the footage something she’d found after Googling “old people on farm.”)

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During the 2016 presidential race, she launched Kaceytron University, a parody of Trump University. In these skits, she’d sit at a desk with shelves of dictionaries behind her, offering $1,000 courses in League of Legends.

One of Kaceytron’s most consistent bits lampoons the “reaction” video, a genre of YouTube video in which personalities film themselves gawking at and narrating over videos of anything from cute animals to people falling off things. She’ll make one video of herself reacting to cats, and then, another video of herself—in nearly the same outfit—reacting to herself reacting to cats. Once, in 2016, Kaceytron reacted to Kaceytron reacting to Kaceytron reacting to Kaceytron reacting to cats: Four embedded windows, each with another Kaceytron, forming a funhouse mirror of an improv act.


Unlike other personality-driven streamers, Kaceytron has traditionally kept details about her personal life on lockdown. For a long time, all fans knew was that she lived near Kansas City, owned two beagles, and had a sister. They didn’t know whether she had hobbies, a boyfriend, a job. Kaceytron rarely opened up to reveal Kacey Caviness.

Frank Kissick, a regular guest on her stream who goes by Catcam, says that, at first, they compared it to the code of kayfabe from professional wrestling. “In the beginning, Kacey would never be herself,” he said. “She didn’t want to burden people with who she is or any troubles from in her personal life. She felt that people come to Twitch for escapism and to get away from their troubles. They wanted someone they could laugh with/at.”

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Revealing any more about her personal life would be “stressful and depressing,” Caviness said. “I have all these people who love me. The last thing I’d want to do is seem depressed or complain.”

When Caviness launched her stream in 2013, her family life was falling apart. Her mother had relapsed into the drug addiction that she had struggled with since her children were young, and was in a relationship with a partner Caviness describes as “abusive.”

“It was really physically violent,” she said. “I’d get a call from my mom and have to turn off my stream and go over to her house and call the police.” That happened on four occasions, she said.

While Caviness says she’s endlessly grateful for the opportunity to make a living by trolling on Twitch, it has had some pretty bad real-life repercussions on top of her already taxing home life. Kaceytron has moved homes several times after being swatted—that is, having a SWAT team called on her house by less creative, more malicious trolls than herself. Once, when the SWAT team busted open the door, guns out, her autistic little brother was home, and was scared witless by the invasion, she said.

Last December, a 28-year-old man was killed by a SWAT team after an argument over Call of Duty. The man was unarmed and had complied with officers’ instructions, but apparently, reached toward his waistband, which provoked an officer to fire. The prospect of this haunts Kaceytron. Every time she’s moved, Caviness has contacted the local police in her new town to explain the circumstances of her job.

Kaceytron reacts to Kaceytron reacting to Kaceytron reacting to...

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“I just want to tell them in case something happens. They honestly just treat me like I’m fucking stupid,” Caviness said. “A police officer has said, ‘Are you afraid I’m gonna shoot you?’ Like, yeah, I am. It happens all the time.”

Police have told Caviness that she needs to stop streaming on Twitch. “This is my job,” she said she told them. “It’s my right to do it. You need to be defending that right.”


In early February, Twitch announced it would install new policies governing sexual content. Now, streamers can’t wear “attire intended to be sexually suggestive,” including “undergarments, intimate apparel, or exposing/focusing on male or female genitals, buttocks, or nipples.” Twitch’s new dress code limits streamers to what’s appropriate to wear at a mall or restaurant... whatever that means. Streamers with lewd content archived on their channels were given a few weeks to clean up their acts.

Is Kaceytron’s outfit—the trademark plunging neckline, exaggerated by the high camera angle—in violation of the policy? Probably not. It seems like what Twitch has its eye on is more like the women in its new gaming-free “IRL” section, who do squats and yoga poses, in skimpy clothing and with the camera positioned just so, in exchange for donations. That doesn’t mean Kaceytron doesn’t care. Kaceytron always has a response. This time, she had two.

On Twitter, Kaceytron wrote an earnest note to women who are thinking about streaming games, but might feel deterred by Twitch’s pointed new guidelines: “Don’t have any reservations about wearing revealing clothing if you want to; you’re going to be called a tit streamer and a camwhore by this community no matter what you wear [because] a lot of them are inherently sexist.” The relationship between online harassment and revealing clothes is one Kaceytron’s been tackling with immeasurable creativity and humor since her first foray onto Twitch. February’s announcement felt prefaced by her entire streaming career, and especially her “Conservatron” alter ego, who, in pearls and sweaters, always tried “to dress very business professional when I’m streaming on Twitch.”

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Twitch’s new guidelines were a content goldmine for her; reading them live on Twitch one afternoon, Kaceytron enunciated each word, pausing only to grin at her chat. “I can sexually exploit myself,” Kaceytron concluded. “I just need to do it right.” She opened up a Microsoft Paint window to draft a new image for herself. Dragging a brush down the template, Kaceytron drew her neckline, mandating that it needed to be at least six inches deep, minimum. She draws out some strawish hair and a dress.

At this, Kaceytron betrays years of deadpan delivery, and cracks up.

The Kaceytron stream has changed over the years. Sometimes, she says, people tell her that her schtick is done. “People act like if I stopped showing cleavage, I’d stop getting donations and views,” Caviness said. “That’s completely false.”

These days, she says she is trying to play off viewers’ positive comments just as much as their toxic ones. “Early on, the toxicity became normal for me. At a point, it became easier for me to respond to,” Caviness said. Now, years later, the troll-provoking schtick has become exhausting. Kaceytron isn’t a fresh, doe-eyed “girl gamer” anymore who can keep up playing the fool day in and day out. Four years is a long time to troll— even Stephen Colbert eventually moved on. But trolling these guys is who she is now. The line between Kaveytron and Caviness has blurred.

For now, Kaceytron’s not concerned about the well of gamer tears drying up. Next month, she’ll remind her viewers that it is her annual Micropenis Awareness Month. “To raise awareness,” she said.