Twitch have clarified their community guidelines, and how decisions are made about whether a streamer should be suspended for derogatory language.
Last week, Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins used the n-word while rapping during a live Fortnite stream. Ninja apologised and, despite anger from fans, avoided repercussions from Twitch. However, only a few days ago, CS:GO commentator Matthew ‘Sadokist’ Trivett was suspended from Twitch for using racial slurs, and suggesting a community member commit suicide.
Twitch community guidelines say that “hateful conduct is considered a zero-tolerance violation and all accounts associated with such conduct will be indefinitely suspended.” However, Sadokist being punished, and not Ninja, has led to questions about how Twitch classify an offensive or derogatory term, and when the use of these terms results in punishment.
— J.D. (@jdwitherspoon) March 28, 2018
In a recent interview with Polygon, a Twitch representative explained the team consider a remark’s “intent and context” when deciding whether disciplinary action is necessary. In other words, if it seems the term was used with malice then it’s more likely to result in punishment.
However, Twitch judge each incident on a case-by-case basis, so not all streamers will receive the same punishment for the same crime. But using a derogatory term, even in jest, doesn’t necessarily give you a get-out-of-jail-free card. On this occasion, Twitch deemed that Ninja had not been purposely malicious.