A statement that could be made only in 2020, but right now we have a much clearer idea of why the President was banned from a video game streaming service than Dr. Disrespect. But that’s the situation: When Twitch banned Donald Trump, he immediately gave a detailed explanation of the policies that violated his campaign and gave examples. However, when it came to banning Dr. Disrespect, we didn’t get such clarity, just a brief statement about the guidelines.
“As is our process, we take appropriate action when we have evidence that a transmitter has acted in violation of our Community Guidelines or Terms of Service. These apply to all transmitters, regardless of status or importance in the community.” .
There was little else from Dr. Disrespect himself, who claims that he also has no idea why he was apparently expelled from the service:
There are reasons to believe that this is true. As insider Rod Breslau points out, this would not be out of place for Twitch.
The assumption of many so far is that there are serious criminal charges involved, and that it remains a clear possibility. If there are criminal charges involved, there is a greater chance that we will discover, but not immediately, through public records of arrests or raids. The fact that we have not seen anything like this so far lessens, but does not eliminate, the possibility of serious criminal charges being involved.
However, we should not conclude that there is an ongoing criminal investigation. As people have pointed out for years, disrespect flaunted Twitch’s guidelines on a regular basis: As illustrated by Trump’s suspension, Twitch is clearly willing to issue suspensions and bans even for violations that took place years ago. The company, as one of its examples for Trump’s suspension, gave a rally in 2016.
It is not impossible that this is Twitch’s cleaning house and is trying to prove to a skeptical public that it is willing to enforce its guidelines even against celebrity streamers. Disrespect would be one of the most high-profile ways to send a clear message to transmitters of all kinds, not only that the company will ban it if it violates the guidelines, but also that the company will be more aggressive in protecting others from bullying behavior.
We shouldn’t rule out a criminal charge, certainly. But the law also applies to civil matters, and Irrespect’s exclusivity contract would mean that all parties involved would have a strong motivation to remain as careful as possible while sailing in this unprecedented move.