Of Course People Are Using KFC's New Twitch Emote For Racist Jokes

Twitch, a platform that's notoriously dealt with racist chat spam for years, recently added an official Kentucky Fried Chicken chat emote that depicts a bucket full of the Colonel's original recipe. You can probably see where this is going.

Image: Twitch

The emote launched over the weekend as part of a PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds promotion in which streamers Sacriel, Sequisha, Anthony Kongphan and Dr Lupo competed to earn as many chicken dinners as possible. Viewers, meanwhile, could fire off the new KFC emote when streamers made it to the winner's circle for a chance to take home chicken dinners of their own in the form of KFC gift cards. The emote, though, is global, meaning that anyone on Twitch - whether they're involved in the promotion or not - can use it.

It did not take long for the KFC bucket to start appearing alongside Trihard, an emote of streamer Trihex's face that jerks like to spam when black people appear on screen. Upon finding out about the existence of the KFC emote, Trihex himself was astounded.

"Come on," he said during a stream on Saturday. "Someone's got to get it together, man. I'm laughing because I'm dying inside. Do no black people work at Twitch? What do I even say to that?"

Multiple Twitch-related communities shared his incredulity, with threads with titles such as "Twitch releasing toxicity enabling emotes" and "Twitch wants to get rid off toxicity yet they add enabling emotes" popping up on Reddit. Streamers with notoriously problematic communities such as Forsen and Sodapoppin took to preemptively banning the KFC emote for fear of running afoul of Twitch's new community terms of service.

"The better question is why the fuck was that emote added in the first place," Forsen said in response to a viewer repeatedly asking why he banned the bucket. "It was a bad phrase in my chat before."

He went on to reference Overwatch League player Félix "xQc" Lengyel, who recently got released from his team, the Dallas Fuel, after spamming the Trihard emote during a broadcast in which black esports host Malik Forté appeared on screen. Lengyel claimed that he and his community use the emote as a greeting, and not a racially insensitive gag. But the broader implication of the incident is clear: After years of (mostly) turning a blind eye to racist Twitch chat spam, major publishers such as Blizzard are finally starting to do something about it. Between that and Twitch's new policies - which state, in a nutshell, that streamers can't just let their communities go flying off the leash - streamers are starting to feel the heat. In the face of all that, they find it strange that Twitch would put what essentially amounts to a ticking time bomb on its platform. We reached out to Twitch for comment but had not heard back at time of writing.

The bigger issue, though, is that racist chat spam was ever allowed to become so pervasive on Twitch in the first place. When things are so bad that people are calling for a pixelated picture of a bucket of chicken to be deleted, you know you have a problem.


    "When things are so bad that people are calling for a pixelated picture of a bucket of chicken to be deleted, you know you have a problem."
    A good summary, I reckon.

    I'm curious, I thought a lot of these twitch chats have moderators (at least the one I watch does...)

    Why don't chat moderators just start applying chat bans?? eventually either the channel becomes dead silent (i.e. its a big problem, but now a silent one) or the small percentage of people get banned and chat continues normally....

      Generally it's because either:
      1) The moderators don't care because the streamer doesn't care
      2) Chat is so overloaded with people spamming offensive things they can't keep up and give up.

    is it just me that's confused why a pixelated picture of a bucket of chicken is offensive?

    my google skills led to this: https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/02/heres-why-your-fried-chicken-and-watermelon-lunch-racist/357814/

    but I don't seem to get anything conclusive

      It's a stereotypical/racist thing that black people in the US love fried chicken. The same crap that they say about white people and avocados these days.

      The US becomes more racist every year. I still find it hard to believe/stomach when I hear people say "this may be too white of me" etc...and they seem to think there' nothing wrong with it.

      Time to just forget what colour someone's skin is and just call them a person. Focusing on white and black stereotypes just drives the barrier further.

        Just a little nitpick that the avocado thing is more a "millennial" thing than a white thing.

          It was to begin with, since then I've only seen it referenced as a "white" thing.

      A lot of African Americans enjoy Watermelon and KFC. Here is Chapelle making light of it.


      Some cultures/races just tend to like things more than others.

        Dude that's called "owning a bad stereotype and making fun of it in order to diminish its power to do harm", something that comedians do all the time. "Race" is a social concept, not a genetic trait and there's nothing that predisposes a given group of people to like a thing more, other than culture. The KFC thing is specially bad because it's usually used to portray black people as lazy and cheap.

      Fried chicken and watermelon is considered a black stereotype.

      It's kinda like yelling , "flied lice", "flied lice' at an Asian person. Low level as far as these go, and really stupid.

        No, I think it would be more like spamming emojis of a bowl of rice at Asian people.

          Good, should be more of it, I fucking love rice

            Rice is very good. Fried chicken is too. Probably why they make emojis of them!

    I don't get how people think saying black people like fried chicken is an insult. Of course they do, it's delicious. Same with watermelon. White Supremacists think saying people like delicious food is an insult? I mean I knew they were stupid but come on.

      It's like that saying: Offence is taken, not given.

        Offense IS taken. It can be given, but in this day and age, most people take offense because they are looking to be offended. The SJW mentality that is breeding these ideas are as stupid, if not more stupid than the Supremacists thinking white people are the best ever, even when they look up to Asian countries.

          I don't get you. You are putting in the same basket the people who offend (the racists) with the people that take offence from their words and actions? Don't you understand that if people don't take offence and react, the offenders are left free to keep offending?

            I think it's a question of degree. See my comment below, which I would apply to most situations. If, however, there is a concerted movement by like-minded people to use offensive material to attack or denigrate a class of people, the law needs to step in.

        Are you saying that no offenders exist, only offendees?

          Not at all. I mean, rather, that offence is in the ear of the listener, to paraphrase. What that person does as a result of the offence is completely his or her choice. Myself, I try to move on from it and not let it affect me. The alternative is to suffer stress and anxiety, which can lead to unintended outbursts. Even if you choose to talk to the 'offender' about what happened, chances are that the two of you are not going to see eye to eye and one or both of you are going to become discomfited or upset as a result.

            Well, it is true that, generally speaking, you personally will be happier if you learn not to take offense. But that doesn't mean that there was no offense, especially if it was the offender's intention. And chronic offenders (let's call them "bullies") are a type that thrive in the silence of their victims. Whether it is because they are chill zen masters who can filter it out entirely, or because they are frightened, or wary of being called "whiny", or be perceived as a boat-rocker, the result it the same: the lack of public reaction allows the bully to keep on bullying.

              I would have thought that most bullies are arseholes who thrive on argument or perceiving that their bullying is having a detrimental effect on their victims. If a victim can rise above the words hurled at them, they have won. It's when words become physical threats/violence/harassment then I agree that something should be done by the powers that be.

                That's kid cartoon logic, sadly. How things should work in an ideal world: Jimmy managed to withstand Joe's bullying, exposing his weakness and sending him into a spiral of shame, and even, on the way of redemption!

                In the real world, and you'd know if you've ever been on the wrong side of a bully, ignoring a bully only encourages him to keep bullying, unimpeded and impune... at best. At worst, they'll redouble their efforts because clearly, they were not trying hard enough if they couldn't get a rise out of you.

                Yes, if you ignore a bully long enough, he may eventually get bored and move on. But that's a pyrrhic victory: not only all the abuse you got from them went unanswered--you literally suffered for no reason other than to entertain someone else--but that bully will move onto a weaker victim, someone who will give them the reactions they so crave. And so, you only succeeded at stopping abuse directed at you, while indirectly siccing it onto someone else.

                  You make some good points. I have been bullied in the past. Eventually the bully got tired because I'd stopped reacting. Later on we actually became fairly friendly towards each other and I learned that the bullying had been because the bully had been feeling isolated and was jealous that I had good friends. Anyway, I appreciate that everyone will have a different experience. There are lots of different reasons for bullying. You might be unlucky and run into that sadistic bully who will stop at nothing to get a reaction. You might, like I did, run into a bully who is just using you as an outlet for their frustration.

      Its a bit more than that.... fried chicken was considered poor peoples food as well back then in us. In fact fairly sure its still has that stigma on some places.

      So you are also indirectly saying black people are alseo dregs of society. Hence the negative connotation.

        Oh I understand where it comes from really, I was more pointing the absurdity that like fried chicken is being used as an insult to begin with. Everyone likes it, it's delicious.

          Oh absolutely! Im a massive foody and i eat just about anything.. like say grilled yakitori offal =P Offal is considered poor ppl food as well but damn does it taste so great on a bbq stick and bbqed over coals!

          Good food is good food!

      You don't understand the context, so why is it your first instinct to protect the offenders and blame the victims? KFC is used as a stereotype to portray black people as lazy and cheap. I'm myself not sure about the implications of watermelon but I know it is used to stereotype and mock groups of people. That doesn't mean that watermelon (or KFC) are bad things in principle but, in the words of Eric Clapton: It's in the Way that you Use It.

        Oh I think my comment may have come across the wrong way. I totally understand that these people are doing it to be offensive and I in no way agree with them.

        I was commenting on the absurdity that liking fried chicken is something to mocked for. It's delicious, everyone likes it. Using that to insult or attack a particular group of people is totally asinine.

    Twitch chat should be banned full stop. its adds absolutely nothing of any consequence. Sure it could impact some smaller streamers but lets face it pretty much every main steam is just a cesspool of people spamming absolutely trash. Not even clever or interesting trash. Just the same outrage reaction on mass, trihard 7 from the other day, now this stupidity.

    These days Twitch chat is a social experiment gone wrong.

      I imagine they'd be more worried about losing the users to a competing service that did offer chat.

        Oh, absolutely. Without Twitch Chat, there is no community (for a streamer). Without the community, there'd be no/much less donations and subscriptions. Without the money and the people to talk to (and have talk back) both casual watchers of the site and the streamers themselves would fuck off to the next Twitch-clone with chat.

      You know you can close twitch chat and watch the stream without it right?

      If you dont like it dont use it.

      Twitch is popular in a large part thanks to the chat function. Your idea would kill the platform.

        If your idea of community is watching hundreds of people all spam the same moronic emojis or phrases in rapidly progression. Like some idiotic version of follow the leader. You need to get out more.

        Like anything, there will always be groups of people taking things too far ruining the positive aspects. Sadly on twitch, unless it is a small stream, the chat feature isn’t anything more than diarrhoea. And not even remotely readable.

        There really isn’t much difference between people posting racist stuff because they are racist and children posting things that have come to be racist (crazily) in this age simple because they are trying to rebel or be cool or edgy. The outcome is the same. It is really only an issue on big steamers but smaller ones should employ better chat filtering because if you care more about you viewing count and revenue than you do allowing this behaviour to go unchecked, it’s not really an honest wage. Likewise if twitch just throws its hand in the air and cares more about revenue than allowing some idiotic behaviour happen on mass, it doesn’t deserve to be in business.

        Remember the standard you walk pass is the standard you accept.

          It's quite easy to employ filtering. Twitch allows you to filter words so that when you type them. You are either timed out or banned from the channel.

      As someone who streams, and is lucky to pull more than three or four viewers a night, seeing someone pop up in my chat to say something is really encouraging and I would 100% hate to lose it.

      Big channels often have chats that are full of trash, for sure, but there's a few that are worth hanging out in (Max, the Super Best Friends guys, Trump, my mate DYoshii, Bajo etc) so it's one of those things where taking chat away really would hurt a lot of what makes Twitch great.

    There is a right way to combat toxicity and racism and a wrong way. Banning something just because it "might" be used incorrectly is the wrong way. If you're going to do that then ban everything because someone will work out a way to make it offensive to someone else.

      There is no 'might,' they already are.

      Really curious to know what you think the "right" way is, tbh.

    A lot of African Americans enjoy Watermelon and KFC. Here is Chapelle making light of it.


    Some cultures/races just tend to like things more than others.

    Just like how you have to be an inbred yokel to find it funny.

    Never heard of an emote being described as a 'ticking time bomb' before.

    I’ll have to get on my black gamer friends in Texas and have a go at them whenever they and their families enjoy some KFC because they’re ‘enabling racism by pandering to a stereotype’

    I guess by having had KFC a lot when I was young as well as watermelon that would somehow make it a stereotype regarding poor white people?

    God forbid my manager, who is well paid, be accused of perpetuating a stereotype because her kids love KFC and she happens to be Samoan.

    This is just some people begging to be offended, and just making themselves look and sound like complete prats by doing so.

      You don't get it. Even if you had lots of KFC and watermelon the stereotype will never be used against you for being white. In fact, the people who use those icons in a racist way would never even greet you with such images because your being white precludes them from thinking that you were poor, or worse--as they think of POC, that it is your fault that you are poor. So you are taking a thing that is not offensive to you because it would never be use pejoratively against you and deciding that if the experience of a group of other people is different than your own, then they are overreacting and easily offended.

      But let's say that you are white and poor: would you enjoy if people called you Cletus and "inbred" or "yokel" and assumed that you had really low IQ and hygiene /the moment they first see you/? And if your response is that you are too chill and mature to let such things offend you, I ask you to think honestly what would have been your reaction when you were younger.

    I'm going to be generous here and assume that there's massive ignorance on show here and not just 'well I'm a white person and I don't see why this is offensive therefore it isn't offensive and now I'm going to complain about political correctness'.

    I'll spell it out in one post, as I will be downvoted and censored by the usual pack of Alt-righters.

    This isn't meant to be offensive in itself. That's not the point. While there is an unpleasant connotation to fried chicken being poor persons' food, that isn't what this is about.

    This is simply about referentially triggering ALL the notions of racism attached to black people, of which there are thousands, going back centuries. And the fact that (despite a few oblivious souls) everyone here, far away in Australia, instantly gets 'the joke' here, should tell you that.

    It's just an easily-spammed, constant reminder that 'black people aren't as good as white people because we get to make racist jokes about you hurhur'.

    Now before one of the usuals comes back with the 'WHITE PEOPLE SUFFER RACISM TOO!!!' no, that's not how racism works. Racism is about power. If you're not disempowered, racial insults don't mean much, no matter what you might think. And if you think they do, that's just because you've never actually been on the receiving end of real disempowerment.

    That's what this is about. Not an earth shattering insult of epic proportions, just a lazy way to remind black people that they are disempowered and white people run the show - which is the case, despite what the Daily Telegraph and Milo tell you.

    That's why this is a shitty thing. The fact that it is such CASUAL, flippant racism demonstrates how utterly uncaring these people are.

    You don't think so? Take a look at some of the responses here. Basically a bunch of white dudes telling black people to 'get over it' and that it 'isn't a problem'. Who are you to do that? Oh that's right, the people who believe your opinions are the only ones that ever count. And you're right. Look around you.

    People round here squawk and lose it when the word 'privilege' is used but hell, it's not like it's being hidden or anything.

    That's what this is about. Reinforcing privilege on one side and making sure the other knows about it.

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