Dr. Disrespect is at the tippity-top of the mountain even though they keep trying to kick him right back down. One of the world’s most popular streamers has been through a laundry list of highs and lows.
These “lows” are sometimes abysmal for the streamer, but each time he rises again. This is why he deserves to win the ESports “streamer of the year” award despite the fact that he’s mysteriously not up for even a nomination and perhaps that reason has to do with a lot of the aforementioned abysmal lows Dr. Disrespect has had to suffer this year.
The gaming scene is rife with so much intrigue, shadiness, and politics that it gives Washington a run for its money some days. One such event that happened recently. Twitch, America’s number one streaming platform for video games, excommunicated its top streamer from its platform without any explanation whatsoever.
Herschel Guy Beahm, better known as his alter-ego “Dr. Disrespect,” was at the top of the gaming food chain on Twitch. He had a multimillion-dollar deal with the platform, a 2019 win for streamer of the year award under his belt, and a bright future ahead of him as the king of streamers.
Beahm’s Dr. Disrespect character is supposed to be a caricature of the stereotypical cocky gamer with an aesthetic straight out of the ’80s. He wears a black mullet wig, has a thick mustache, and wears wraparound sunglasses along with a red tactical vest. He plays a variety of games, mainly first-person shooters, and often participates in tournaments. His streams are high production quality, revolving around taking place inside an entire fictional arena with various locations therein that he sometimes visits.
For a brief history of Dr. Disrespect’s journey, this video below gives a superb breakdown.
With all this, he’s created a world within his streams that viewers have gravitated to. Those who subscribe to the good doctor are called the “Champions Club,” and there are a lot of subscribers with more being added to the ranks every day.
Dr. Disrespect is just a fun streamer to watch. I can attest to this personally as a subscriber to the Champion’s Club.
One day, out of the blue, Beahm was banned from Twitch permanently. The move was so abrupt that he learned of it while on stream. As you can see in the video below, his final moments on the platform see him suddenly going quiet for a time before suddenly and oddly speaking about how it’s a weird time and that we’re all going to get through it. Right before cutting to a promo video he curses and departs the stream suddenly.
Twitch soon confirmed that Beahm was banned from the platform permanently but offered no explanation as to why. Various journalists and gaming personalities said they heard from “sources” why Beahm was banned but due to the sensitivity of the subject, would not say.
look: 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
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) June 27, 2020
Twitch later said that the reason was that Beahm had violated its terms of service.
Twitch's statement on @drdisrespect ban: "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.”
— Shannon Liao (@Shannon_Liao) June 26, 2020
What part of its TOS Beahm had violated was not detailed by Twitch and, as of this writing, still remains a mystery, even to Beahm who is still left in the dark as to why his platform exiled him.
Naturally, rumors began flying. Three of them seem to be more popular than others.
One is that Beahm was involved in sexual assault allegations. I’m not entirely sure this one is plausible. Usually, in high-profile sexual assault cases, that information would be out by now, the claimant would be front and center in our current media environment. Beahm would be wrapped up in defending himself. Since that’s not happening, I think it’s unlikely it has anything to do with sexual impropriety.
The second is that Twitch’s inner politics played a role. Beahm has openly spoken out against the social justice attitudes that infect the gaming industry, especially gaming journalism. Even today, he makes random jokes at the expense of sites like Kotaku, a hard-left social justice gaming site that injects leftist politics into its games reporting, and often uses its platform as a bully pulpit.
Beahm is clearly not a fan of this misuse of journalistic power. During Richard Lewis’s acceptance speech for winning game journalist of the year in 2019, Lewis slammed this social justice centric outlets like Kotaku and Polygon that used their platforms as a social justice weapon against people they didn’t like. When the camera cut to the crowd, Beahm could be seen in his Dr. Disrespect outfit standing and clapping enthusiastically.
It could be that Beahm rubbed Twitch’s social justice laden leadership the wrong way so badly (not a hard thing to do) that they destroyed his contract and banned him.
The third possible reason is that Beahm was banned over money. Microsoft’s Twitch equivalent platform, Mixer, had failed and its flagship streamer, Ninja, was floating around. Twitch wanted Ninja back, as well as another streamer, Shroud, and as such decided to terminate the Dr. Disrespect channel and contract in order to afford them both.
My personal theory is that it was a mixture of the latter two. Beahm was likely looked at as “problematic” by the brass at Twitch and they had an opportunity to rid themselves of him while still filling in the Dr. Disrespect sized hole of cash he’d leave after his ban.
If it was purely business, then perhaps their treatment of Beahm wouldn’t be so cold. During a tournament this week, Beahm just so happened to be heard over voice chat through streamers also participating in the tournament on Twitch. The platform was apparently angered enough by Beahm’s mere shadow drifting too close that they suddenly updated their terms of service to make it clear that streaming with suspended or banned streamers may result in a suspension or ban for you.
For anyone that missed it Twitch made an update to their policies around suspended/banned streamers
Without punishing any big name streamers they have sort of quietly re-enforced that anyone who is streaming with suspended streamers make sure to mute them and avoid interaction pic.twitter.com/5xlNn0UFEQ
— Jake Lucky (@JakeSucky) September 29, 2020
There are elements to doc’s ban that seem very personal, and perhaps even ideological. Without more information, we can’t know for sure, and it doesn’t seem we’re going to get any more info any time soon.
This is the behemoth Beahm is up against. A giant corporate entity that has leveraged its power and influence against him to the point where even gaming companies are afraid to associate with him and top gamers can’t stream with him.
Despite this, Beahm hasn’t laid down and given up. The betrayal he suffered at the hands of Twitch and its subsequent fallout hasn’t stopped him from reestablishing himself as a streamer on YouTube where his popularity grows by the day. Tens of thousands of people watch his streams three times a week. He teams up to play games alongside NFL players, rap stars, and streamers from differing platforms, including Facebook’s Z Laner.
Beahm’s meteoric rise, fall, rise, fall, and rise again makes him, in my opinion, the most legendary streamer in gaming history. The hurdles he’s had to overcome have ranged from the legitimate to the ridiculous and unfair and he’s still going.
What’s more, Beahm’s story has inspired so many to keep going through the deepest hardship. He’s not just a streamer, he’s an example of how to keep fighting after taking so many punches that all you want to do is lay down and tap out. You can constantly see that from his viewers who mention this very thing to him.
He’s a net positive on society.
This is why Beahm deserves the streamer of the year award. He won’t get it and I consider that unfair given what Beahm has been through and achieved in spite of his hardships. I’m not sure if there’s a rule that prohibits two wins in a row (I can’t find one) or if there are political reasons behind it, but I think it’s a shame that he’s not even nominated.
Beahm deserves better. He deserves support. He deserves recognition for his accomplishments.
What’s more, at this time, Dr. Disrespect deserves a win.
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