Twitch have closed the accounts of a popular streamer and his girlfriend after the nominally wheelchair-bound broadcaster was seen standing up and walking away from his PC.
Fans of Angel ‘ZilianOP’ Hamilton had for years been under the impression that the streamer was rendered completely immobile without the use of his wheelchair, and reacted in shock and anger when the above video was shot last Friday. The female voice heard alongside the stream is that of Hamilton’s girlfriend, who uses the handle ‘Panthoria’.
According to one website set up in the aftermath, Hamilton had accepted thousands of dollars in donations from fans during his time at Twitch. The donations were intended to provide the financial support needed for him to continue streaming.
Hamilton’s account, and that of his girlfriend, has now been removed for breach of Twitch’s Terms of Service violations.
“The Twitch broadcaster, Zilianop, did indeed have his channel closed and his partnership contract terminated on the basis of fraud,” Twitch told Kotaku.
“Moving forward, we’ll be offering refunds to those who subscribed to his channel through Twitch. We have zero tolerance for this type of behavior and the character demonstrated in this situation is truly reprehensible. His actions are a huge slap in the face to Twitch community members with real disabilities such as Aieron, and groups such as AbleGamers, who have helped spread a message of inclusiveness and positivity to not only the Twitch community, but gaming as a whole.”
In a chat log recorded on Diablowned, Panthoria appears to claim that physical therapy allows Hamilton the limited degree of movement shown in stream on Friday. However, the Twitch employee in charge of the company’s partnership with Hamilton was familiar with his broadcasts, and like his viewers was under the impression that the broadcaster was disabled “to the point of being wheelchair bound”.
“They never had any reason to question otherwise, as we have an existing community of disabled broadcasters,” explained the Twitch representative.