G5_Sin, a Twitch streamer with a smidge over six thousand followers, grimaced and showed his gun to the camera.
“I will fly this motherfucker to New York City, to Manhattan,” he said earlier in the stream about JTX_live, a mid-sized streamer based in the United Kingdom who has made a few videos criticizing G5 and his approach to growing his platform. “No police are here. [...] If I fly this dude out to Manhattan [...] and I bring him to a side street, you think these police are gonna give a fuck that I beat the shit out of him?”
Mr. Beast is officially more popular than local news, and because of him and similar personalities who have made a fortune from the calm waters of a hot tub, “streamer” is now considered a real career path. But some comparatively newer streamers need help making it. They use exploitative shortcuts like “support for support,” which involves asking even smaller streamers to watch their videos and inflate their numbers in a tit-for-tat bargain that may never hold up. G5 is one of these “support for support” streamers, and JTX is open about his distaste for the strategy in his videos.
G5 didn’t take the criticism well. In his menacing stream, he gravely compares himself to a “rap star,” and states his intentions clearly: “JTX, I will beat the shit out of you so bad, your mother will cry, bro. If you don’t have a mother…fucker, I don’t care. I will make your next of kin cry.”
Naturally, because of the explicit threats and explicitly violent imagery displayed in that stream, which aired in June, a surprised and concerned JTX reported G5 to Twitch.
“I’m more concerned that he may seriously intimidate others enough for them to leave the platform or fear for their lives,” JTX said to me over DM. “Reporting this kind of thing to people takes some thick skin, and unfortunately being threatened comes with the territory. I won’t be changing my trip to the USA later this year, but I am more cautious about who has my address now.”
But despite his substantiated worries and the very public proof that G5 had violated Twitch’s terms of service (no abuse, no threats), Twitch stayed totally silent. Twitch has played the oblivious supporting role to one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history, but it still has no official stance against guns on its platform. It does, however, take a stand against the simulation game Second Life, where there is sometimes a flash of anime skin. The streaming platform also moved more quickly to ban a streamer for calling white people “crackers” than it did for a gun threat.
Meanwhile, G5 has had a full month to soak in the sunshine of his “haters,” taking to Twitter on July 26 to write that the gun wasn’t actually meant to intimidate anyone.
That same day, larger streamer bbjess wondered out loud on Twitter, asking “how does he still have a platform,” and this afternoon, G5’s Twitch account suddenly disappeared. Twitch did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.
“A person can only apologize so many times before regret turns to anger,” G5 tweeted around the same time his Twitch page was taken down. Ideally, it won’t require much more anger for Twitch to take its content moderation seriously.