YouTuber Dr Disrespect’s inappropriate conduct seemed to be an open secret in the industry

On June 21, an allegation of sexual misconduct against prominent livestreamer Guy “Dr Disrespect” Beahm set the gaming world on fire. In the days since, it’s become apparent that Beahm’s alleged misconduct had become an increasingly open secret within the industry.

For four years after Beahm was banned from Twitch in 2020, the reasons behind his ban remained unknown to the public, despite consistent speculation on the part of both Beahm’s fans and his haters. On June 21, former Twitch account director of strategic partnerships Cody Conners posted a tweet implying that Beahm had been banned for allegedly sexting an underaged user via Twitch’s internal messaging system; on June 25, the livestreamer posted a statement to Twitter confessing to inappropriate contact with a minor. 

“These were casual, mutual conversations that sometimes leaned too much in the direction of being inappropriate,” Beahm said in his tweeted statement.

In the four days between Conners’ tweet and Beahm’s confession, the online gaming community was consumed by discourse about the accusations, including speculation among some elements of Beahm’s fandom that Conners had targeted their favorite livestreamer for personal gain, ideological reasons, or a mixture of the two. A spokesperson for Twitch didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

More voices have joined the chorus to verify Conners’ claims — some in a report in The Verge, others via Bloomberg — suggesting that Beahm’s empire rested on a fragile foundation of silence and willful ignorance. Conners has not responded to Digiday’s request for comment, nor those of other outlets. At the moment, he makes his living by designing and building professional audio setups for content creators, according to his LinkedIn page.

“Cody [Conners] is one of the most kind and considerate and moral people,” said Zachary Diaz, a former peer of Conners as Twitch’s director of emerging content until 2022. “And so what may have snapped, or what may have changed in particular, I don’t know. He is a particularly justice-oriented fellow.”

The chatter has included a screenshot of Twitch’s internal reporting system that had flagged Beahm’s conduct as inappropriate. The screenshot has been widely circulated and viewed by Digiday, though it remains unverified.

“It would be really hard for someone to understand the UI/UX of the Twitch back end, and to magically recreate it without actually ever seeing it,” said a former Twitch staffer who worked at the company at the time of Beahm’s ban.

Following the revelations of misconduct by “the Doc,” many of his sponsors and business partners quickly distanced themselves from the livestreamer. Beahm, meanwhile, said in his statement that he would vacation with his family and return likely to YouTube, where he still has a presence. In retrospect, however, indications of Beahm’s brand safety issues have been readily apparent for years.

Before his 2020 permaban from Twitch, Beahm had been suspended from the platform for livestreaming inside a restroom at industry conference E3. In 2018, Beahm was accused of racism against Chinese people and mired in a scandal after another creator revealed that he had cheated on his wife. Admitting to inappropriate messages with a minor is the livestreamer’s most controversial move yet, but it not incongruous with his history of rash behavior.

“There are only so many things Twitch is going to ban their big star for so quickly and quietly,” said a second former Twitch staffer with knowledge of Beahm’s 2020 ban. “They overlooked threats of violence, racism and Covid conspiracies because he was a ‘character.’ Even if you weren’t told, you knew it was likely sexual misconduct.”

https://digiday.com/?p=548995

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