Today, Twitch banned and de-partnered Ali “Gross Gore” Larsen, a longtime streamer and subject of controversy, after sexual assault allegations old and new came to light last weekend.
The allegations emerged after Larsen, who’s been suspended by Twitch numerous times over the years, made a post on the RoastMe subreddit on Friday. This led users to discuss previous allegations against him, culminating in lengthy lists of Larsen’s indiscretions, including videos of Larsen himself talking about times he asked a 15 year-old to show her breasts (he was 18 at the time) and slept with a 16 year-old when he was in his 20s, as well as a video in which another streamer, Jenna, accuses him of sexually assaulting her during TwitchCon. Threads also referenced a series of incidents at UK Runescape convention Runefest in 2018, which Kotaku reported on at the time, including a video in which Larsen appears to grab a woman’s face and try to kiss her, as well as multiple alleged inappropriate comments toward women that culminated in a physical altercation between Larsen and another streamer, Skiddler, that was dispersed by hotel staff and the police.
In the wake of these allegations resurfacing, a woman named Eve came forward on Saturday with her own story, saying that Larsen groomed her back in 2008, when she was 13 and he was 16. “Ali offered me video opportunities, clan chat rankings, and being featured on his personal YT channel,” she wrote in a Twitlonger. “In exchange, all I had to do was moan as he masturbated…Even at 13 I knew I was doing something wrong, but I didn’t understand until many years later how he used his power over me to help him masturbate.”
Over a Discord call, Jenna told Kotaku that Larsen was like a “big brother” to her for a long time, but during a party at TwitchCon 2019, he got drunk and refused to stop touching her arms, legs, and thigh while the two were on a couch. Eventually, he asked to grab her face. “It was super creepy,” Jenna told Kotaku, noting that she’d previously witnessed and talked to Larsen about other instances of sexual assault at events, during which she believes he was also drunk. “Then he started begging to grab me. And I was like ‘No dude, you’re my brother. Stop this.’” She says she ended up leaving the party not long after.
In response to the allegations, Larsen posted a YouTube video on Saturday in which he claimed some allegations, like the video of Jenna accusing him of sexual assault, were false or taken out of context, and that he had already apologised for others and turned over a new leaf. “There are some disgusting things from my past and I can promise you that’s not who I am today,” he said. “I look back, I cringe, I get embarrassed, and I regret so much.”
Now, several days later, Twitch has banned him and taken away his partnership status, meaning he’s probably not coming back this time. In a statement to Kotaku, Twitch cited its rules against inappropriate behaviour off-platform.
“The safety of our community is our top priority,” a Twitch spokesperson said in an email. “We take appropriate action when we have evidence that a streamer has acted in violation of our Community Guidelines or Terms of Service, including in certain instances where the behaviour may have taken place off Twitch. These apply to all streamers regardless of status or prominence in the community.”
The spokesperson specifically mentioned a rule that says, “We may take action against persons for hateful conduct or harassment that occurs off Twitch services and is directed at Twitch users.”
Kotaku also reached out to Larsen, who pointed to a video he posted to Twitter shortly after he’d been banned. In the video, Larsen showed viewers the email he received from Twitch, which cited “adult sexual exploitation” as the reason for his ban.
“I don’t know what to believe anymore,” Larsen said in the video. “I don’t know what to say anymore. I’m so used to being thrown around in this community, and like being bullied and picked on. They’re bringing up stuff from 2016.”
He speculated that Twitch banned him for a “revenge porn” incident in which he allegedly sent nudes to another then-teenage streamer’s mother, but he said that he just showed her mother her Instagram account, and that she was 18 at the time. “This is a mistake from Twitch,” he concluded, adding that he’s going to start streaming on YouTube tomorrow.
Despite a laundry list of alleged infractions, Twitch took its time in banning Larsen. Back in 2018, he’d already been suspended numerous times, including in 2016 after he harassed a Riot employee. In a video Larsen released after Runefest 2018, he said Twitch would have perma-banned him had “someone at Twitch” not intervened on his behalf. Instead, the company suspended him for a month and prevented him from attending TwitchCon, suggesting it was well aware of the severity of his actions at Runefest. Since then, Larsen has managed to continue growing his Twitch audience all the way up to half a million followers. Larsen’s ban comes nearly a year after Twitch’s #MeToo reckoning, which resulted in the company banning several streamers accused of sexual assault and vowing to “continue to assess accusations against people affiliated with Twitch and explore ways Twitch can collaborate with other industry leaders on this important issue.” Months later, the company also ended up parting ways with an employee accused of sexual assault by a streamer.
Jenna hopes that some good comes of Larsen’s Twitch ban. “I feel bad, really, but he’s doing it to himself,” she said. “Obviously what he’s doing is awful and unforgivable. He really needs to get help, or he’s going to keep hurting people. That’s all there is to it. Maybe Twitch banning him will force him into going and getting that help.”
In response to Larsen’s Twitch ban and everything else that has happened, Eve told Kotaku that she’s “happy and ready to move forward,” but that Larsen’s response to his ban left her cold.
“He never reached out to me, and all I wanted was some acknowledgement and a private sincere apology,” Eve wrote in a DM. “He has been doing the same stuff for over 10 years. If he wanted to write off my story as him being a kid, then why didn’t this behaviour end when he grew up? I honestly was hopeful after writing my story he would reach out, apologise, and I could move on and tell him I forgive him. But that video just showed me how not sorry he was, and deserved to be banned. I have no doubt in my mind if he weren’t banned, there would be more stories in the future of Ali sexually assaulting or harassing women. Without being held accountable, I don’t think he would see a reason to change.”