Dr Disrespect’s Twitch Ban Allegations, Explained [Updated]

Dr Disrespect’s Twitch Ban Allegations, Explained [Updated]

Herschel “Dr Disrespect” Beahm was one of the biggest streamers on Twitch when the Amazon-owned streaming platform permanently banned him in mid-2020. The suddenness of the high-profile ejection, coupled with both Beahm and Twitch staying silent over what had actually happened and why, turned the incident into the most infamous and mysterious ban in the platform’s history. Now everyone’s talking about it again after a former Twitch employee recently purported to share the real alleged reason why Beahm got sent packing.

Who is Dr Disrespect and why was he banned from Twitch?

A former Sledgehammer Games community manager turned streamer, Beahm built the Dr Disrespect 80s action star persona from a black wig and sunglasses into a channel with millions of subscribers while streaming games like PUBG: Battlegrounds and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. He took a break from streaming after revealing he’d cheated on his wife before returning in 2018 with an even bigger audience than before. Even prior to his permanent ban, the streamer was controversial for crossing boundaries, including broadcasting live from inside a bathroom at E3 2019. By early 2020, as the pandemic was just starting, he was even dabbling in covid trutherism, sharing claims with viewers that hospital overcrowding was overblown and total lockdowns were an overreaction.

But Beahm was still one of the most popular personalities on the platform at a time when Twitch was in a bitter talent war with competitor YouTube. He had just recently re-signed with Twitch for a reportedly eight-figure sum, and outside of temporary sanctions for occasionally getting on the wrong side of the company’s community guidelines, the two brands seemed wed to one another. Then he was suddenly, permanently banned on June 26, 2020. Here is all Twitch would say about it at the time:

As is our process, we take appropriate action when we have evidence that a streamer has acted in violation of our Community Guidelines or Terms of Service. These apply to all streamers regardless of status or prominence in the community.

A month later, Beahm told The Washington Postthat he still had no idea why he was banned, and told PC Gamer he would never return to the platform even if it decided to invite him back at some point. Twitch refunded users who had paid for subscriptions to the Dr Disrespect channel, and a year later Beahm announced he was going to sue “the fuck” out of platform after apparently learning the real reason behind his ban. But even after the lawsuit was settled in 2022, nothing about the nature of the ban was ever revealed, leaving everyone to wonder what it could have been for Twitch to take such immediate and drastic action over it, and for Beahm to come back years later and feel confident in taking the company to court over the incident.

A former Twitch employee shares new allegations

The whole Dr Disrespect Twitch saga seemed destined to remain seemingly NDA’d forever until a former account director for strategic partnerships at Twitch broke his silence on the subject over the weekend. “He got banned because got caught sexting a minor in the then existing Twitch whispers product. He was trying to meet up with her at TwitchCon,” Cody Conners tweeted on June 21. “The powers that be could read in plain text. Case closed, gang.” While he did not name Beahm directly, the former Twitch icon who now streams on YouTube was understood to be the target of the allegations, and the tweet immediately went viral.

Online media personality Jake Lucky was one of the major accounts to recirculate the allegations and connect them directly to Beahm. “Jake seriously…I get it, its a hot topic but this has been settled, no wrongdoing was acknowledged and they paid out the whole contract,” Beahm tweeted back.

The fact that the denial didn’t directly engage with the new allegations only inflamed the situation, with people flocking to the exchange to dunk on Beahm’s “no wrongdoing was acknowledged” corporate-speak. Some even likened his rebuttal to rapper Aubrey “Drake” Graham’s lyrics from the “The Heart Part 6″ track made in response to an ongoing feud with Kendrick Lamar.

Finally, Beahm returned to Twitter on June 22 to issue a more strenuous denial. “Listen, I’m obviously tied to legal obligations from the settlement with Twitch but I just need to say what I can say since this is the fucking internet,” he wrote. “I didn’t do anything wrong, all this has been probed and settled, nothing illegal, no wrongdoing was found, and I was paid. Elden Ring Monday.”

On June 23, however, The Verge reported that a separate former Twitch employee had corroborated some of the claims made by Conners. This person, who remained anonymous but reportedly worked on Twitch’s trust and safety team at the time of the ban, told The Verge that “Beahm had used Whispers, Twitch’s now-defunct messaging system, to exchange messages with a minor and initiate a conversation about meeting up at TwitchCon.”

Robert Bowling, a former creative strategist at Infinity Ward and the current head of Midnight Society, the game studio Beahm cofounded in 2021, responded to the situation by tweeting that he had only just become aware of the allegations and was “dealing with it.” “I landed from Stockholm, reconnected, saw the tweet and immediately began an investigation to learn everything I need to know so I can ensure a full follow through,” he wrote over the weekend.

Why the Dr Disrespect saga is so hard to unravel

At 1:00 a.m. the day after Beahm’s ban, internet insider Rod “Slasher” Breslau tweeted the following: “for several hours now I have been told from credible sources the reason DrDisrespect has been banned. however due to the importance and sensitivity around the subject I have refrained from going on it. i don’t feel comfortable with it currently.”

Breslau’s track-record for insider connections and the fact that he was the first to break the news that the ban was permanent made people take note, and the cryptic framing went on to be perfect fodder for speculation and conspiracy theories. It seemed to suggest that something so allegedly bad that had happened the nobody with direct knowledge could even talk about it. Four years later, Breslau stood by his original tweet in the wake of Conners’ new allegations. “I didn’t lie,” he tweeted over the weekend.

In a post on Patreon, Mikhail Klimentov, the former Washington Post Launcher editor who brokered its 2020 interview with Beahm following the ban, outlined why all the reporting on the controversy has produced so few firm answers and whether that will ever change. In it, Breslau told Klimentov that his extended break from the internet in 2022 was due in part to the Dr Disrespect ban and his tweet about it. “i cannot continue my professional career until i release a story about doc,” Breslau told Klimentov in a private message at the time.

It’s not the first time the allegations have been made publicly, either. Following Conners’ viral post, a clip resurfaced of TinyChat cofounder Dan Saltman suggesting a similar alleged reason for the ban on a podcast with streamer Steven “Destiny” Bonnell (who is also permanently banned from Twitch) and esports commentator Richard Lewis in April. It was part of broader discussion on Twitch’s opaque guidelines.

Fans of Beahm, meanwhile, dug up three of Conners’ old tweets showing him using alleged knowledge of the ban to try to fill seats for his bands’ tour dates. Many have also raised questions about why, if Conners had this alleged information for years, he didn’t disclose it previously. The former Twitch employee addressed both things in a follow-up Twitter-thread on June 23.

“Those three tweets warrant admonishment,” he wrote. “Maybe more than three—the stans trying to dig stuff up have been so underwhelming that I presume they missed something. I apologize for it all because it’s worth apologize for. The subtext of the bit, again shame worthy, is that you’re the last person to not know.”

Conners continued:

The information had been so normalized, declawed in the circles that I ran in that could be reduced to allusion and entendre. For everyone who has since said “that’s fucked”—I agreed with you on Friday night before you wrote it. I should have agreed with you sooner. I cannot take it back but I can stop it. I never said I’m a perfect person. I just hope this class grades on a curve.

That said, I’m the least sued I’ve ever been. Guys, lawyers work weekends. I don’t think they had a few things they just needed to get to before they circled back to this. I’m also a little irked at Jake who is very clearly trying to split the difference with what he thinks is half of his potential audience but also I deserve to feel bad about the things he’s flagged. I just do.

But I also know Jake is racing to verify that screenshot from the world’s leader in multiplayer entertainment’s is legit—Enforcement ID: 7278926—and things are dragging on. Knowing who I was racing I would probably put out some content too.

The last part of his message alluded to what may be the alleged screenshots of Twitch’s investigation that led to Beahm getting banned in the first place. Whether they are real or will ever become public is the question that’s been facing this entire saga from the start. Beahm returned to YouTube on June 24 for his first livestream of Elden Ring’s massively popular Shadow of the Erdtree DLC.

“For those that are looking for me to expand on this weekend, not gonna,” he said during the opening of the playthrough. “I already said what I needed to say. I don’t give a fuck about this guy. That’s it.” From there Beahm thanked his fans for their donations and messages of support, before pivoting into playing his Wordle match for the day. “We got you all day, baby,” viewers wrote in the chat.

But the Elden Ring stream was cut short with Beahm’s mood visibly shifting three hours in. After appearing to be distracted by something off camera, he pivoted to talking about how he was burnt out and going to go on an extended vacation. Shortly after he signed off indefinitely, the video game studio he cofounded, Midnight Society, cut ties with him upon completing its own investigation into the allegations.

Then onJune 25, Bloomberg reported that, according to sources familiar with the incident, Beahm was indeed banned because he “exchanged sexually explicit messages with a minor” on Twitch, and that he asked her about her plans at the upcoming TwitchCon event. According to Bloomberg, the exchange was later sent to Twitch personnel through the platform’s reporting system.

Dr Disrespect admits to messaging a minor

Beahm finally broke his silence on why exactly he got banned from Twitch that same day. In a long statement on X, formerly Twitter, he admitted to having an “inappropriate” conversation with a minor via Twitch messages back in 2017, but said that nothing illegal ever happened and no criminal charges were ever filed. He also apologized to his community and former colleagues at Midnight Studio about what had transpired, but suggested he planned to move on from the incident and continue streaming as Dr Disrespect.

He wrote:

Were there twitch whisper messages with an individual minor back in 2017? The answer is yes. Were there real intentions behind these messages, the answer is absolutely not. These were casual, mutual conversations that sometimes leaned too much in the direction of being inappropriate, but nothing more. Nothing illegal happened, no pictures were shared, no crimes were committed, I never even met the individual. I went through a lengthy arbitration regarding a civil dispute with twitch and that case was resolved by a settlement. Let me be clear, it was not a criminal case against me and no criminal charges have ever been brought against me.

Bowling, the head of Midnight Studio, issued a personal statement afterwards, tweeting, “If you inappropriately message a minor. I can not work with you.” Fellow streamer Nick ‘Nickmercs’ Kolcheff, who had his Call of Duty skin pulled from the game last year over transphobic comments, put out a short video reacting to the statement calling Beahm’s behavior “unacceptable.” “I can’t support it I can’t defend it and look the boys and I are torn up over it too because we played a lot of games with the guy and it feels a little weird but what can you do,” he said.

In Beahm’s statement he said he took responsibility for what happened but denied being a predator. “Now, from a moral standpoint I’ll absolutely take responsibility,” he wrote. “I should have never entertained these conversations to begin with. That’s on me. That’s on me as an adult, a husband and a father. It should have never happened. I get it. I’m not perfect and I’ll fucking own my shit. This was stupid. Now, with all this said, don’t get it fucking mistaken, I’ve seen all the remarks and labels being throw around so loosely. Social media is a destruction zone. I’m no fucking predator or pedophile.”

Twitch, Beahm, and Conners did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Breslau declined to comment.

Correction 1:46 p.m. ET 6/24/2024: Klimentov posted on Patreon, not Substack.

Update 2:10 p.m. ET 6/24/2024: Added responses from Bowling, a mention of the podcast clip from Dan Saltman making similar allegations months ago, and a note that Breslau broke the news of the ban being permanent.

Update 1:10 p.m. ET 6/25/2024: Added information about Midnight Society, Beahm stepping back from streaming, and Bloomberg’s report on the allegations.

Update 1:10 p.m. ET 6/25/2024: Added Beahm’s statement and reactions to it.

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