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We have made attempts to accommodate TotalBiscuit’s expressed wish that those harassing him do not have their usernames published. We have included the Storify by user Tolvo as we want to report on how both sides are representing the incident.
Please welcome gaming’s first shitstorm of 2015. Congrats to TotalBiscuit for attracting an inordinate backlash with one simple Twitter gesture. You may remember last month when AbleGamers: a charity for helping disabled people to enjoy videogames, rejected the donations of porn star Mercedes Carrera for her support of #GamerGate. The organisation was under the impression that the stream Mercedes was planning to run was #GamerGate’s scheme to “weaponise porn” for brownie points.
Yesterday, a group of streamers put on the “ScotDrop Charity Marathon” for the charity. Contributor and Twitter user @DurpSA tweeted: “Hi! Again, we’ll be doing a charity stream later today at 6 pm est. Please rt/signal boost, and show up if you can!” Popular YouTube personality TotalBiscuit indeed did retweet this message in order to grant the stream more exposure to his 391,000 Twitter followers. What followed however was a veritable storm of the stream’s supporters sending plenty of nastiness in response to TB’s endorsement. Several users wished for him to die of cancer, while others brought up his support of #GamerGate and carted out the usual ‘Misogynist, Harrasser, Terrorist’ labels.
So what brought about such an aggressive response to this simple action? This Storify written by a friend of @DurpSA explains what the streamers took issue with:
Even if they aren’t gators, my friends are not ready to deal with that number of people. Understand we were going to have probably six mods for the chat, who would be strict about rules involving language, harassment, insults. We have queer folk, trans people, POC, people with disabilities, in the stream and chat. Even if Gamergate wasn’t a thing, we wouldn’t want possibly hundreds of fans of TB going into that stream and making it an unsafe place for those people.
Gators are bad, but in general a lot of gamers(Mostly white male gamers) are Transphobic, Racist, Ableist, Homophobic, etc etc. Bringing a ton of people like that to a charity stream with a small moderation team that was not equipped for it would essentially mean we’d have to lock down the chat, and be unable to interact with viewers and those who donate.
As soon as I saw TB retweeted it I became frightened for my friends, so many of us seemed worried. Right away we knew that Totalbiscuit might have just seriously damaged or even ruined the charity stream with his carelessness. Keep in mind, we are a small group of friends doing a charity stream. We weren’t looking to get a lot of people, especially people like what TB would send our way.
A later update to the Storify includes: “As well I want to add, do not threaten TB, do not tell him to kill himself, do not harass him, do not make fun of his disability. Just don’t, nobody deserves that.”
So what does John Bain himself think of all this? He attempts to explain it all in this lengthy TwitLonger post:
Today you may see Storifys floating around trying desperately to prove that I maliciously ruined a charity stream (for a charity I am partnered with). These Storifys will not include the initial reaction of the streamer in which he flipped out and insulted me and I doubt they will include many if any of the 300+ people who within the hours following, sent threats of violence, insults and as many wishes as possible that the cancer get me quickly. They will I’m sure include the tweets in response in which I call them crazy and stupid for these threads and their reaction. I stand by those statements 100%. These are people who have constructed a narrative in their heads in which I am a villain. They know very little of me of course, only what they’ve been told. Maybe they read that stupid SA post from 8 years ago, practically a lifetime on the internet and made their assumptions there. Maybe they just believe in the guilty by association fallacy and have ignored the focus on ethics and condemnation of harassment that has been going on for YEARS on my channel.
But yes that great crime and yesterday for promoting a stream for a charity with whom as of last month I have an OFFICIAL PARTNERSHIP WITH, I was bombarded with threats and even had an irrelevant ex-NFL player demand that games developers following him seriously reconsider working with our company.
I thoroughly condemn the idea that my followers and viewers are horrible people who would engage in harassment. I accept the obvious, that in such a huge group there will be some assholes and I also accept the reality that I can do nothing about that. I will not apologise for things I did not do or provoke, I will not apologise for defending my audience.
The conflict has yet to die down it appears, as some Twitter users created the #UnsubTB hashtag: an attempt to make TotalBiscuit’s subscriber count drop in response to his thoughts and actions. TB’s supporters have co-opted the tag in an effort to change its subject to be about raising awareness of TB; namely the disease tuberculosis. Bain also hopes to run his own AbleGamers charity stream in the next few days, following this incident.
I think it’s a shame that the gaming community has divisions so spiteful now that they will decry endorsement of charity fundraising as a form of harassment, and use it as an excuse to attack a well-intentioned internet personality and his fanbase. It just saddens me that there are people out there who are so antagonistic that they will aggressively reject an opportunity to unite for a good cause.