A few days ago, Fortnite streamer Ben “DrLupo” Lupo found himself in a situation that’s become regrettably common on Twitch. A subscriber called him “cancer.” He banned them, but with a caveat: if they wrote an apology letter, they could come back.
DrLupo, a frequent playing partner of Twitch’s top streamer Ninja, has risen to become one of the most popular streamers in his own right with over 2 million followers. While he tries to keep up with his chat, moderation is not something he can be very hands-on with due to the sheer, overwhelming avalanche of information perpetually thundering down his second screen—and also, you know, that whole “being good at video games for a living” thing that consumes most of his attention. Moderators handle chat for him, and even then, it’s an overwhelming job.
But streamers still set the standard for what’s acceptable in their communities, and here, DrLupo found a unique way to do that. He made a simple but uncommon request of his former subscriber: he said he’d unban them “if they wrote me a 1,000 word essay explaining why it was wrong to say that, and why they were sorry.” They did, and DrLupo posted the letter in full (minus identifying information) on Twitter.
“Cancer is often used as a ‘joke’ on the Internet, as it may be used as ‘so and so is cancer’ or ‘this is cancer,’” read a portion of the letter. “Cancer is something over 15 million people suffer from. 15 million. To put that in perspective, that’s enough to fill the world’s largest stadium about 115 times. And I am truly sorry for wishing this terrible disease upon you.”
The viewer also spoke at length about the courage of people who battle back against cancer and admitted that they only made a joke about it for attention. “It is okay if you do not accept my apology or even unban me, as what I did was disgusting,” they wrote. “All I am asking you is to hear me out, and if you feel that I deserve a shot at redemption, I would be glad to take it.”
DrLupo said that he unbanned the fan, so that’s that—for now, anyway. He also noted that he disallows other common internet insults, as well. That’s a rarity on Twitch, but it’s good to see, especially given how many younger viewers DrLupo has. DrLupo is unabashed about the fact that he’s a dad, and he brings an in loco parentis mentality to streaming that others could learn from.
That said, he’s not gonna take shit from people who don’t earnestly try to learn from all this. Earlier today, a viewer who’d evidently seen the tweet came into his chat and, in the most troll-y of fashions, said “DrLupo has cancer.” They immediately got banned. DrLupo said that they could try to write a 1,000-word apology letter if they wanted, but told them that “you particularly won’t get unbanned, because you’re an idiot.”