Popular Twitch streamer Sweet_Anita has threatened to quit streaming due to the “mental toll of being at the mercy” of strangers hyper-sexualising her online.
In an interview with HuffPost, Anita claimed the pressure was not “survivable” long-term.
“These people are literally ruining my experience of streaming,” she told the HuffPost. “It’s basically like having millions of people be your boss, and your boss is allowed to sexually harass you every day.”
Anita boasts over 1.7 million followers on the platform, where she has risen to success for playing games like Overwatch and Among Us. However, it’s also worth noting that her real name isn’t even Anita, that’s just an online alias she uses because she’s worried about privacy concerns.
She has also made headlines for her Tourette’s Syndrome, which causes her to swear uncontrollably on camera. Combined with her penchant for profanity, Anita quickly rose to fame, gaining 150,000 followers in her first month.
“She’s a naturally entertaining conversationalist,” Woof, one of Anita’s first moderators, told Kotaku. “That, along with the different accents and voices Anita could do, made us think that she was a streamer or should be a streamer.”
However, Anita’s rise to fame has always been peppered with conspiracies, doubters and trolls. There’s also an extra danger: the tics can sometimes cause her to vomit blood if they get too extreme, a byproduct of an autoimmune disorder. And the streamer now has to deal with a NSFW subreddit featuring nude photoshops of her, according to the HuffPo interview.
“No matter what I do or how I dress, they do this to me,” she told HuffPost. “I haven’t ever even taken my clothes off in front of the camera and yet I’m still a successful porn star.”
Following her interview, Twitch released a statement to HuffPost condemning the behaviour.
“Sexual harassment is a societal ill that is never acceptable in any form – be that in the physical or the digital world,” Twitch said in a statement. “Further, community safety is not an end state, and we must, and do, continually evolve our safety policies and tools to ensure they are comprehensive and account for emerging behaviours.”
But unfortunately, no matter how many times we seem to have this conversation regarding sexual harassment on Twitch, the message doesn’t seem to be sinking in for the perpetrators. And sadly, that results in streamers like Anita being left with the choice to continue to tolerate unrelenting sexual harassment, or to simply quit.