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Twitch Employee Accused Of Sexual Assault No Longer With Company

Illustration for article titled Twitch Employee Accused Of Sexual Assault No Longer With Company
Photo: Christophe Ena (AP)

Back in June, Hassan Bokhari, accounts director of strategic partnerships at Twitch, was accused of sexual abuse and assault by a Twitch streamer named Vio. Now, after an investigation that began months ago, Twitch has banned Bokhari from the platform, and he is no longer an employee at the company.

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This evening, Twitch banned Bokhari’s channel, leading to speculation that he had been terminated from the company after a long period of radio silence. Two sources who wished to remain anonymous have since told Kotaku that he is, indeed, no longer an employee at Twitch. Additionally, his account’s “staff” status has been removed. This comes in the wake of an investigation that, according to one source, began at the end of June and was led by an external investigator hired by Amazon.

A Twitch representative declined to comment on Bokhari’s employment status, but acknowledged other elements of the investigation.

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“We take these accusations extremely seriously, and we engaged a reputable third party firm to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the allegations,” the spokesperson told Kotaku in an email. “While it is our policy to keep individual employment information confidential, the investigation has concluded and we have taken action in accordance with the investigators’ findings.”

Vio published her allegations against Bokhari toward the end of June, shortly after the dam first broke on a wave of sexual abuse stories in the Twitch community. In a note on Twitter, she described patterns of both power abuse and sexual assault that took place both before and after the two began dating in 2015. Bokhari would abuse his power, Vio said, by using his status as a Twitch employee—one with special access to Twitch partners, specifically—to lavish her, a streamer, with perks like a username change, a special holiday package meant for Twitch partners (she was not one at the time), and eventually partnership, a coveted status among Twitch streamers. According to Vio, he engaged in these behaviors shortly after they first began talking. He would also share privileged information about streamers with her in private and in group Discord calls with others.

Vio said that once the two met in person, Bokhari began to repeatedly approach her with unwanted sexual advances.

“He would try everything to get me alone with him, whether it was in a room or an empty hall, and when he did, he would try to get physical,” she wrote of a pattern that began at PAX East 2015. “I would immediately shy away and tell him no, which he would never respect… Eventually he managed to pressure me into oral sex. By PAX West 2015, he managed to pressure me into sex. I said no more times than I can count, but each time Hassan took no as ‘convince me.’”

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Kotaku reached out to Bokhari, but as of this publishing, did not receive a response.

Vio told Kotaku that she’s satisfied with how the investigation into Bokhari’s conduct concluded, but not with Twitch’s overall handling of the summer’s rash of sexual abuse and assault allegations involving streamers, all of which the company said in June that it was reviewing “as quickly as possible,” but which have only resulted in a small handful of bans so far.

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“It’s bittersweet,” Vio said to Kotaku in a DM. “As happy as I am that they got rid of a predator, there’s still a ton of predators/abusers/pedos/rapists that are streaming on Twitch, and I wish that those victims got the justice they deserve as well, or at least some communication. It makes me angry that they don’t take the other victims as seriously. It also definitely feels like they took their time even after I sent them a ton of evidence—which to me shows that they were still trying to protect him.”

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Kotaku senior reporter. Beats: Twitch, streaming, PC gaming. Writing a book about streamers tentatively titled "STREAMERS" to be published by Atria/Simon & Schuster in the future.

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DISCUSSION

I am subbed to Vio and I hadn’t heard about this (I don’t use twitter). This was a problem with MSFT Mixer too (Rest in Pieces). It almost seems like, promoting sociopaths up the chain has unforeseen consequences?