On Thursday, streaming platform Twitch posted a video to its Twitter page with the following caption: “Working together to make an impact for Black lives.” The video quickly drew criticism from Black fans and creators on Twitter, who noted that the number people featured in the video was overwhelmingly white, with only a small fraction of screen time and spoken lines being afforded to Black creators.
The video featured popular streamers such as DrLupo, RubberNinja, and jacksepticeye voicing support for Black Lives Matter and raising funds for charitable causes. The video ended with a message to support Black voices, Black creators, Black communities, and Black Twitch.
After an outcry, the video was pulled and is no longer live on Twitch’s Twitter feed.
The Black Lives Matter movement has seen a surge in American media and dialogue after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Several large gaming companies have publicly responded with shows of support. Black creators on Twitch have contributed towards the cause; in one 10-hour Animal Crossing: New Horizons stream, I Need Diverse Games director Tanya DePass raised over $140,000 for The Bail Project.
Today’s video, which lasted for just under a minute, had one line spoken by a Black streamer. Black streamers comprised 11 seconds of the video’s run time. Black creators, fans, and viewers spoke out on social media as a result, leading to the video being removed.
Yeah this missed the mark by a country mile.
– @SpawnOnMe had one of the most consequential streams on the platform and in the industry for that matter that sparked many of the conversations around this last month.
So many Black streamers shared their hearts & weren’t in here https://t.co/yxjhln5HLK
— Kahlief “Cries For EggMcmuffin” Adams (@Kahjahkins) July 9, 2020
This is a whole bucket of fail. There’s a WHOLE LOT of Black Creators on here who not only speak out on this ALL THE TIME, but don’t get any credit for it.
Y’all are speaking over us. Highlight Black folks doing the work already. https://t.co/6X4toho32z
— Tanya, Chaotic Black Deathbane (@cypheroftyr) July 9, 2020
This is aggravating.
You can’t say ‘support black lives’ then put two black people in there, and purposely overshadow them with white creators that (are obviously) going to bring in millions.
Let me explain real fast. https://t.co/3xp7o4O33V
— Aunt PT, 33 & BLACK YEAR ROUND ️ (@pleasantlytwstd) July 9, 2020
Reached for comment, a Twitch representative referred Polygon to its statement posted on Twitter: “We hear you. Our goal was to demonstrate the importance of allyship – a message we didn’t make clear.”
We hear you. Our goal was to demonstrate the importance of allyship – a message we didn’t make clear. Only by working together can we create a positive change.
— Twitch (@Twitch) July 9, 2020
This is the second time in a week that Twitch has made a mistake regarding representation. On Sunday, the platform put out a video on Twitter to celebrate LGBT+ content creators that included the line “The G in LGBTQIA+ also stands for gamer.” The video was removed and edited after drawing a harsh response online.