You certainly can’t say Guy “Dr. DisRespect” Beahm doesn’t know how to please his audience. “This stream was the best thing I’ve seen on twitch , period.” is currently the top comment on the infamous Twitch streamer’s E3 recap video.

The Bathroom Incident

It’s a video posted mere days after Beahm’s swift and decisive ban from Twitch.TV for streaming video of a public men’s bathroom. He later re-entered the bathroom twice more, on stream, and used a urinal.

The state of California has explicitly stated invasion of privacy laws that prohibit such behavior. Everyone else present in the bathroom did not consent to DisRespect’s stream, viewed by literally tens of thousands of people. Not to mention, Dr. DisRespect’s audience contains a wide age range for whom such content is, by most rating board’s standards, objectionable. All this, and worse still, as some reports allege a minor was present in the bathroom during at least one of the three times DisRespect streamed from the bathroom.

In addition to his currently indefinite ban from Twitch, DisRespect had his E3 badge revoked by the ESA. At this time, DisRespect doesn’t seem concerned. His E3 recap video refers to the situation with a diarrhea joke and has remained active on social media. As of this writing, mere hours ago, he’s touting how he’s spending more money into his “new arena.”

In Twitch’s Shoes

Many are wondering if Twitch.TV’s ban may not be as permanent as it sounds, merely waiting for this to blow over. It’s easy to understand the motivation there. If they neglect to reinstate DisRespect, he could easily opt to move to a competing live streaming platform like Mixer, YouTube, or Facebook. Given how lucrative a famous influencer can be on any given brand, Twitch is no doubt approaching this situation as carefully as it can.

Some have also argued that given this is DisRespect’s first IRL Stream, his usual over the top antics simply got out of hand. Yet, it’s gotten out of hand before. DisRespect has courted controversy several times. This includes making demands of PUBG publisher Bluehole, and a voluntary leave of absence due to confessed infidelity.

Even this E3, before the bathroom controversy, DisRespect stirred up social media. He declaring that “Mobile gamers aren’t real gamers.”. This anachronistic statement is made all the more awkward given DisRespect was once intended as a guest player in a mobile battle royale game, Rules of Survival. Though Beahm’s portrayal as Dr. DisRespect is a character in the vein of Stephen Colbert’s act on The Colbert Report, the choices he makes reflect on both the persona and his actual forethought in such matters.

The Dangers of Influencers

What’s more disturbing is, this sort of upset happens not only with DisRespect, but an unsettling amount of influencers. We’re still fairly early on in this brave new world where “influencer,” “content creator,” and “online personality” are all actual job titles. Given that’s the case, growing pains are understandable. But the string of bad calls and excused mistakes on display from creators such as Logan Paul, PewDiePie, and Dr. DisRespect are causing unnecessary pain.

Content creators are currently on a very small tightrope as, effectively, loosely monitored freelance contributors — platforms like Twitch.TV and YouTube have the final say on what is or isn’t permissible on their platforms. The recent Artifact exploits in which Avengers: Endgame and outright pornography were illegally streamed under the game’s category on Twitch brought all new streamers to a halt for several days. Outrage at YouTube creators has led to steeper demands for monetization approval and stricter algorithms.

Every time one of these sorts of incidents happens, an unseen number of creators might be shaken off the tightrope, with no real safety net given how young this branch of entertainment is. It’s a terrifying prospect that demands greater respect for what consequences befall not just these creators, but their peers. No creator is an island, and while DisRespect might be receiving fan support, that’s a blessing he should treasure. Not everyone has that safety net.

We Deserve Better

The question at this point isn’t even on if DisRespect should be perma-banned or just forced off the platform for a few weeks. Even if Guy Beahm steps away from his persona entirely, the impact crater remains, as it has every time before. If we want to legitimize streaming and online creators, we have to outgrow this adolescent misbehaving. Streamers, influencers, and creators have to up their game if they want the rules to stay the way they are right now. So if you’re tired of seeing this, then support those rising above the impressively low bar some of the internet’s most popular entertainers have set. We deserve better than this.

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