After Shooting At Dr Disrespect's House, Streamers Are Concerned For Their Safety

Illustration: Jim Cooke

Yesterday, one of Twitch’s best-known streamers, Dr Disrespect, was forced to abruptly shut down his stream after someone fired a gun at his house, shattering a window. Police have since said the shots likely came from a BB gun, but this and other recent incidents now have Twitch streamers concerned for their privacy and safety.

It’s been a frightening and tragic few weeks for public figures in video games. At the end of last month, a shooter opened fire on a Madden tournament in Jacksonville, FL, killing two pros and injuring numerous others. This week, shots (presumably of the BB variety) were fired at Dr Disrespect’s house on two separate occasions.

All of this on top of ongoing issues like swatting—which led to a young man’s death late last year—and stalking.

In the wake of it all, some streamers feel like their safety is no longer guaranteed at any time, whether they’re playing Fortnite in their home or out and about at TwitchCon.

“I may not attend TwitchCon,” popular streamer Ellohime said on Twitter shortly after Dr Disrespect ended his stream. In 2015, Ellohime had to deal with a fan showing up at his front door without any warning.

“This is a difficult decision (and I am still thinking hard on it),” Ellohime said, “but I just wanted to get this out there. Don’t feel safe in America.” In a follow-up statement today, Ellohime explained his rationale, saying that everything from Jacksonville to Dr Disrespect to death threats he’s personally received is informing his decision.

“It’s obviously targeted. Safety is practically an illusion at this point,” another streamer named SuniDey said of Dr Disrespect’s situation. “Makes me question going to conventions.”

Today, Twitch issued a brief statement on Twitter telling TwitchCon attendees that security is the company’s “highest priority” for its annual show, which takes place this October in San Jose, California.

“We want to assure you that we are adding additional security measures on top of past event measures,” the statement read, promising “more detailed information on TwitchCon security in the coming days.”

Photo: Twitch

Call of Duty and Fortnite YouTuber Tabor Hill says that he had a bullet fired at his house last year, but fortunately nobody was in the room it ended up ricocheting around.

“Man, just watched the Dr Disrespect clip,” Hill said yesterday on Twitter. “I know the feeling, especially having kids. Someone did it to my house last year with a FMJ round. Tore right through my kid’s bathtub at headshot level. My wife and kids are scarred ever since.”

Even if the gun in question was a BB gun, streamers point out that that does not lessen the severity of the situation.

“If the weapon used again Dr Disrespect was a BB gun or a regular gun, the scenario is uncalled for and dangerous. They damaged his home and scared his family,” a streamer named Ash told Kotaku in a DM.

“YouTubers being stalked, streamers’ homes being shot, bomb threats at events, and now a shooting at a tournament all warranted my fear for events. I’m honestly scared to attend TwitchCon and DreamHack Atlanta.”

Streamers are also increasing their personal security, and recommending that others do the same.

“One thing I believe in when having an online presence is anonymity,” Mixer partner Br0dyman said.

“Protect yourself, everyone. With what happened with Dr Disrespect, you can never be too careful with your information. Streamers, start by getting a PayPal business account.”

Ash said she “rarely” gives out her full name, and she lists different locations than where she actually lives on social media. She also lives in a gated community, which adds an extra level of security.

Even then, though, she doesn’t take safety for granted. If a viewer she knows and trusts wants to visit, she’ll let them stay at her place, but “if not, I drive out to them and their hotel and never show them where I actually live.”

Moe, a streamer and content creator consultant, thinks some responsibility falls on Twitch, too.

“While it probably isn’t reasonable to expect Twitch to go as far as providing security for their biggest partnered creators, I think there should almost certainly be more education provided to them,” he told Kotaku in a DM.

“There should be some sort of workshop, video, etc that explains to them the dangers they face as celebrities. Examples should be provided of incidents that have happened and that surely will continue to happen. They should be taught that anyone can find their information and where they live if they really want to. Most importantly, Twitch should provide suggestions (or even better, direct support in implementing solutions) for how to avoid or reduce incidents like what Dr Disrespect has encountered.”

Image: Twitch

Moe pointed out that streamers, YouTubers, and other burgeoning celebrities who benefit from a culture of perceived accessibility are in an odd spot right now. “I think the big issue with Twitch/YouTube content creators and security is that they’re essentially mini-celebrities, but without the knowledge and caution that actual Hollywood celebrities have,” he said.

“They typically live in normal neighbourhoods with their neighbours often not even knowing who they are. Yet they absolutely are celebrities, just one step below Hollywood actors and pop stars.”

The bigger, wealthier streamers and YouTubers should consider living in gated communities and getting security cameras, Moe said. At the same time, though, many of these people are in their 20s and have only recently come into wealth, if they’ve come into wealth at all. And just because a streamer is smaller, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re in the clear.

If nothing else, Moe recommended forewarning the local police “so they can approach those situations with better awareness of what may be happening.” Swatting, especially, takes advantage of a lack of savvy on the police’s part, so better safe than sorry.

Ash, though, doesn’t want to leave anything to chance. She said she doesn’t believe in owning a gun herself, but at times, she carries a knife, and she plans to have pepper spray on her person in the near future.

“With these occurrences happening frequently, it’s definitely increased how fearful I am of being in huge crowds of people where anything can happen,” she said.


Comments

    Man social media is gonna come full circle no one will want to share anything. Then things will be quiet again.

    "If a viewer she knows and trusts wants to visit, she’ll let them stay at her place, but “if not, I drive out to them and their hotel"

    That doesn't seem like something any streamer should be doing.

      Yeah, that seems super unsafe. Regardless of gender that sounds like a really bad idea.

    I'm curious what the link between the Dr Disrepect shooting and gaming actually is. Was it targeted, as in they knew who he was and where he lived. Or was it a random shooting (it is the US after all), or for that matter was it targeted but unrelated to gaming? Maybe he'd pissed off his neighbour with loud music or shagged someone else's wife?

    Just to be clear, I'm not excusing the shooting (it's horribly no matter what) I'm just not sure that it's related to gaming.

      It's not just Dr Disrespected being targeted. If you do a quick Google search, there have been quite a fair number of others who have been targeted.
      It just so happens that a lot of streamers, for the most part... Play games.

        Correlation doesn't equal causation. I understand the people getting swatted, there is an obvious direct link to gaming there. Considering how many people stream these days and the ridiculous number of shootings (generally) in the US it's not surprising that there's overlap.

        All I'm wondering is have they definitely proved there is a link to the gaming/streaming. As I pointed out above the shooting could be random or targeted, but unrelated to gaming/streaming.

          u are quick to connect gaming to this problem when the main issue is they STREAM live they could be doing any number of things. The fact that he was streaming live gives the shooter a audience of over 30k people who will see dr disrespects reaction to his shooting and he will gain some twisted enjoyment out of it

            You've got it back to front. I'm NOT connecting gaming or streaming. I'm wondering if there IS a link or whether it's coincidence. Until there is more information about the shooter and their motivation people are just guessing that it's related to streaming or gaming.

            Look at the back story of the DrDisrepect incident, apparently he had affairs with multiple women (at least one account says four). If one of them had a partner and found out they'd be pissed. Maybe pissed enough to put a couple shots into the guys house. San Diego is apparently one of the safer US cities but it's still a US city so lots of people have guns.

            On a different note, there are a ton of articles that are basically "DrDisrepect stops stream because someone shot at his house" but not a lot with genuine police information. The most I've seen is one that says police think it was probably shot at with an air rifle. This could be an attention seeking ploy on his own part to drive up views. I doubt it, but it's always possible.

    A streamer meeting viewers...naivety level 10, and at the hard cap of dumb. The fact is that the security advice these people are asking for is available, it seems its being ignored. Self education is a thing you know...

    And let's be clear here, personal safety is a personal responsibility, this is the real world not wannabe world.

    Last edited 13/09/18 2:10 pm

      People don't like it when you tell them to not put themselves in danger (out alone at night, swimming un-patroled beaches, etc), but holy shit does it blow my mind that someone would put themselves in such a poor situation.

    As my previous post wasn't acceptable about the level of personal security advice that is available, apparently, please take note that 'Ash' thinks it appropriate to arm herself...yet another victory for the 'arm america' lobby. Irony...how sweet it is.

    I have to wonder if there is something sites like twitch can do to ensure people can't actually track the streamers whereabouts. if they can and the streamers are careful to not show any identifying landmarks then this sort of thing shouldn't happen.

    I was streaming a few months ago when someone trolled me by going back over photos in my twitter feed (my twitter handle is shown on-stream) and determining my location to the street level.

    It was creepy as fuck and Twitch did nothing after I reported the guy.

    The title's phrasing made me think that it was streamers shooting at the house.

    Every time I see an article like this I wonder how close we are to a live streamed murder. As in someone is murdered while they are streaming because hey, free audience for someone trying to get people's attention.

    Hopefully this serves as yet another reminder to be careful about what you say on the internet. Social media might be fun for staying in contact with friends and streaming might be a fun way to entertain people but if you aren't careful it's also a treasure trove of information about you that others can misuse.

      The reality is that the social media is a boon for law enforcement, security and intelligence services...and they are behind the curve compared to criminal use of social media intel gathering.

      The safest option for a user is to consider that everything you post is publicly accessible, and is a potential security breach. That sounds paranoid, but the truth of the matter is that the world is like that these days, and prevention is better than a cure.

      There will always be the crowd who suggest people like me are 'victim blaming' by suggesting that personal security starts with the person, but that is a real world fact...there are nasty folk in the world, and law enforcement don't have a magic third eye to prevent them. It is good that convention holders will now be beefing up security, but that's a universal for a place like the US, which is a civil battlezone compared to the rest of the western world. I watched a report from the US yesterday with a local small town sheriff speaking on a shooting resulting in six dead, and he commented that 'we never used to see this, now it is the new normal'...that says something.

        Interestingly, although the last two years have seen shootings deaths increase again in the US, overall the trend is still downwards. It's lower than it was 30 years ago. Which is interesting considering the number of mass shootings that seem to be happening now. That would imply that other (ie: one person) shootings have actually reduced considerably.

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