As controversy builds, the clock is ticking for noted livestreamer Dr Disrespect’s sponsors

Following accusations of inappropriate contact with a minor, the downfall of prominent livestreamer Guy “Dr Disrespect” Beahm has rocked the gaming world. Some sponsors and business partners have already cut ties with the embattled creator — and as more evidence of his misconduct comes out of the woodwork, this trickle is poised to become a deluge.

Here’s a quick recap of the scandal, in case you live under a gaming rock. In June 2020, the livestreaming platform Twitch banned Beahm for violating its code of conduct, with all parties declining to disclose more information about the breach. Shortly after, Beahm moved his livestreaming operation to YouTube, where he has since accrued a following of over 4.5 million. Despite consistent speculation, the specific cause of Beahm’s ban remained hidden for almost four years.

On June 21, 2024, former Twitch account director of strategic partnerships Cody Conners ended the speculation by posting a tweet implying that Beahm’s ban was the result of the streamer sexting with a minor via the platform’s internal messaging system. On June 25, Bloomberg published a report verifying the claim. Later that day, Beahm posted his own statement on Twitter admitting that the reports were true.

“Were there Twitch Whisper messages with an individual minor back in 2017?” Beahm wrote. “The answer is yes.”

Beahm’s gaming empire had already begun to crumble by the time his confession went live on Twitter. Midnight Society, a game studio that Beahm co-founded in 2021, ended its relationship with the streamer on June 24 following an internal investigation. On June 25, gaming accessory brand Turtle Beach also announced that it had terminated its contract with Beahm.

Digiday has since reached out to Beahm’s other sponsors ASUS, Gillette, Mountain Dew and the San Francisco 49ers for their response and intentions regarding the situation.

An external representative of Mountain Dew confirmed to Digiday that the brand no longer works with Beahm and hasn’t in some time.

Meanwhile, a 49ers spokesperson said: “We take these developments seriously and will not be working with him going forward.”

A Gillette representative told Digiday that the brand has not had a relationship with Beahm for several years.

Chances are, the creator’s other sponsors will follow suit.

“I think all of them are going to be in danger. You’ve got to remember what happened back in 2020 when he initially got banned — a lot of people kind of had an idea of what this might have been about, and there were a lot of back-alley conversations that were happening,” said a former Twitch staffer with knowledge of Beahm’s 2020 ban, who spoke to Digiday on condition of anonymity. “He got dropped from Razer; he lost some potential deals with major non-endemic brands. With Midnight Society dropping him, that will probably be the pattern over the next hot minute.”

The fact that it took four whole years for Beahm’s partners and sponsors to wise up about the reasons behind his 2020 Twitch ban is, to some extent, an indictment of non-endemic brands’ laissez-faire approach to games as a marketing channel. The streamer’s rumors of misconduct were an open secret within the industry for years, but his impressive follower numbers and high engagement were enough to convince major brands to slap their logos on his content without doing enough due diligence to uncover the streamer’s unsavory side. 

Beahm’s recent downfall — and the resulting blowback against his sponsors and business partners — is a reminder to marketers that they must look beyond the pure numbers to determine which gaming creator would best represent their brand.

“Brands should really, really consider the content creators that they work with, regardless of their size, but especially because of their size,” said a second anonymous former Twitch staffer who was at the company at the time of Beahm’s 2020 ban. “And if white male creators were scrutinized at the same level as women and non-white creators, then potentially these things wouldn’t happen as much.”

However, the reality is that they do happen. Consequently, someone with a checkered past like Beahm is already a millionaire several times over, thanks to both Twitch and YouTube subscription revenue and a series of lucrative brand deals.

According to the 2021 Twitch payout leak, Beahm made almost $3 million in subscription revenue between September 2019 and his ban in 2020. In a now-deleted 2018 blog post on the G Fuel website, the streamer said that his net worth was approximately $3.5 million. In 2024, that number is almost certainly above $10 million, enough for Beahm to live off of for the rest of his life without firing up the streaming setup ever again.

But moving forward, Beahm could find it harder to find work or sponsors in the gaming scene, now that the reasons for his Twitch ban in 2020 have finally seen the light of day. Now, the streamer will have to carefully manage his millions of dollars, instead of making millions more. His planned exit strategy from streaming — a second career as a game developer at Midnight Society — has evaporated due to his decisions.

On June 25, Robert Bowling, studio head at Midnight Society, disavowed Beahm in a personal statement that likely reflects the sentiments of many industry leaders.

“If you inappropriately message a minor. I can not work with you,” Bowling wrote. “Period.”

https://digiday.com/?p=548905

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