- Dr Disrespect, previously one of the most famous streamers on Twitch, spoke out for the first time since he was abruptly banned from the platform permanently last month.
- In several interviews on Thursday, he addressed what has been going on since the move, but insisted he still does not know why he was banned and has never been told.
- While he was tight-lipped about his next steps, he did say he has a number of plans in the works but does not want an exclusive streaming deal and has not committed to a platform or service.
Dr Disrespect Speaks Out
In a series of interviews on Thursday, popular former Twitch streamer Dr Disrespect spoke publically for the first time since being permanently banned from the platform nearly three weeks ago.
Guy Beahm, known online as Dr Disrespect was one of the biggest streamers on Twitch with over 4 million followers and had recently signed an exclusive multi-year extension deal to keep streaming on the platform in March.
However, on June 26, it was reported that the prominent streamer had been permanently banned from Twitch. Twitch, for its part, did not confirm the ban but responded with a vague statement to the media.
“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,” the company’s statement read. “These apply to all streamers regardless of status or prominence in the community.”
The next day, Dr Disrespect seemed to confirm the rumors in a tweet to his followers, known as the Champions Club.
“Champions Club, Twitch has not notified me on the specific reason behind their decision,” he wrote. “Firm handshakes to all for the support during this difficult time.”
After that, he did not say or post anything for three weeks. Now, Dr Disrespect has finally broken his silence, first giving an interview to the Washington Post and then PC Gamer before speaking to a few other outlets.
Questions About Twitch Ban
While Dr Disrespect did provide some insight into what he has been doing since the ban in the interviews, he did not speak to the reasoning behind it. Though that, at least in part, appears to be for legal reasons.
According to the Post, when asked about the subject, “he frequently followed advice from his legal counsel to remain silent.” When pressed on the matter in the interview with PC Gamer, which published the full transcript of the conversation, he was interrupted by his publicist, who redirected the question.
However, aside from legal reasons, the streamer also did not provide many answers about what prompted the ban because he still does not seem to know those answers himself.
“Honestly, we just don’t know,” he told the Post. “It was a total shock. Imagine showing up to work and the doors are closed and you can’t get inside. You’re going, ‘What’s going on?’ And you’ve been told you’ve been fired. But you haven’t been told the reason why. We just weren’t given an answer. … It was the worst feeling.”
“I’ve been dealing with a lot of stress and anxiety,” he added. “You know, my wife and I both, this is our livelihood. We worked really hard to get to this point. … Let’s just say I’ve felt all of the emotions that you could possibly feel.”
Notably, in both the interviews with the Post and PC Gamer, Dr Disrespect did address some of the theories around his ban and his last stream. Both noted that there has been a lot of speculation around his final steam, where at the very end he breaks character and becomes very serious.
“Life’s weird right now, I— We’ll, we’ll get through this, okay? And uh— Fuck,” he said, before cutting the stream.
As a result, many fans theorized that he had just found out about the ban. However, Dr Disrespect told both the Post and PC Gamer that the remarks had nothing to do with his ban and that he was just talking about the state of the world.
In reality, Dr Disrespect explained, he first learned about the ban when he was watching a friend’s stream and noticed that some of his creator features were missing. He sent an email to Twitch, which he said responded by telling him he was banned, but never explained the reason why.
Both outlets also talked about the fact that Dr Disrespect has been the subject of several controversies.
Those included offensive jokes he has made in the past, and an incident where he walked into a public men’s bathroom while live streaming at the 2019 E3 gaming convention, which ultimately resulted in him being suspended temporarily from Twitch.
“I’ve been very transparent with those around me and my community,” he told the Post. “If anybody knows the Doctor and who I am, you know, I’ve stepped up and taken full responsibility each and every time. And I’ve learned from those mistakes.”
In more current examples, PC Gamer also pointed to the fact that he has recently had discussions about the coronavirus and conspiracy theories linking it to 5G. In his final stream, he also talked about David Icke, a conspiracy theorist who was recently kicked off both YouTube and Twitter for spreading conspiracies and anti-Semitic claims.
When asked if those incidents ever resulted in Twitch warning him or saying anything, Dr Disrespect said they had not. PC Gamer followed up by asking if he thought it was the reason for his ban, to which he responded, “I don’t think so. In fact, I—” but he was cut off by his publicist, who warned him that they were “getting really close to dangerous territory here.”
PC Gamer also noted that Twitch has recently been banning a lot of people who have been accused of sexual harassment and other toxic behavior, and asked Dr Disrespected whether he knew if his ban might have been the result of similar allegations.
“Listen, I’m not interested in engaging crazy speculation,” he answered. “I’ve seen all the theories, I’ve seen all the possible conspiracies, and it’s just like, I’m just not interested in engaging that type of stuff. I have a great community of loyal fans and I’m totally focused on getting back and delivering great, entertaining content and that’s where the focus is.”
As for his next steps, Dr Disrespect was largely tight-lipped on that matter as well, though he did offer some insights and told PC Gamer that his relationship with Twitch was 100% over.
“Obviously, for legal counsel, I have to be careful here. But I can say however, that I will not be returning to Twitch, so, I mean, that’s it,” he said, adding that he is considering taking legal action against the platform.
He also told the publication that he is still trying to figure out exactly what his return will look like, and when asked if he is eyeing a specific platform, he said he was not.
“We’re just focused on the Doc’s return,” he said. “We haven’t made any decisions on platforms. We’re not interested in looking for an exclusive or any of that stuff. All the cards are on the table.”
PC Gamer noted that in a follow-up email after the interview, Dr Disrespect clarified that he is “considering streaming independently on his championsclub.gg website, in addition to other big options like YouTube and Facebook.”
Additionally, in both interviews, Dr Disrespect emphasized the importance of his community and doing what is right for them.
“We’re excited to take the next steps,” he told PC Gamer. “And I’m really focused on the community for now. We’ve got lots of fun stuff planned, lots of projects that are in the works.”
However, when asked about specifics, he responded, “You’re going to have to tune in to find out. That’s part of the fun. I think that’s one of Doc’s things is doing these cool projects and the big surprise elements that are involved. Whether it’s directly through the stream or a combination of social media and the stream but, fans should expect Doc 3.0.”
Though notably, he also did tell the Post that the TV development deal he had landed earlier with SkyBound Entertainment has not been affected by recent events.
“Listen, we’re gonna see,” he continued. “We’ve been working really hard. We’re ready to go. You know, we’re excited to take those next steps.”
Following the widespread coverage of his interviews, Dr Disrespect tweeted for the first time since June 27, sharing a non-descript video set to music.
Black Mirror or Reality? Microsoft Granted Patent for Tech That Lets It Create Chatbots of Dead People
- Microsoft has been granted a patent that would allow it to create artificial intelligence chatbots of dead people using “voice data, social media posts, electronic messages, written letters, etc.”
- As Microsoft noted in its patent proposal, chatbots could also be created to imitate living people — opening the door for users to train a digital version of themselves to be used after they die.
- In the patent filing, Microsoft also suggested creating 2D or 3D models of chatbot subjects by studying images and videos of them.
- Online, many noted the similarities between Microsoft’s patent and a 2013 episode of Black Mirror in which a woman creates an AI version of her deceased boyfriend.
Microsoft Granted Controversial Patent
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has granted Microsoft a patent for technology that would allow it digitally revive dead people.
If implemented, Microsoft would use information like “voice data, social media posts, electronic messages, written letters, etc.,” to create artificial intelligence chatbots meant to replicate the person.
In its filing, Microsoft noted that the person could be “a friend, a relative, an acquaintance, a celebrity, a fictional character, a historical figure, a random entity, etc.”
Microsoft also noted, “the specific person may also correspond to oneself (e.g., the user creating/training the chat bot), or a version of oneself (e.g., oneself at a particular age or stage of life).”
As The Independent pointed out, that opens up the door for living users to be able to “train a digital replacement in the event of their death.”
But it doesn’t stop there. Microsoft has also suggested creating 2D or even 3D models of the person by studying images and videos of them.
Has Life Finally Become an Episode of Black Mirror?
Online, many noted the similarities between Microsoft’s patent and a 2013 episode of Black Mirror in which a character, played by Hayley Atwell, revives her recently-deceased boyfriend through an AI chatbot. As the episode progresses, that AI — played by Domhnall Gleeson — eventually becomes an exact replica android of her boyfriend.
“More people that need to remember Black Mirror is a warning sign, not a product manual,” said Tama Leaver, an internet studies professor at Curtin University in Australia.
Indeed, many critics have interpreted the episode, which focuses on the grief felt by Atwell’s character because of her loss, as an examination of “our own mortality and our desire to play God.”
“It shines a spotlight on our desperate need to reverse a natural and necessary part of life without considering the consequences on our emotional well-being,” Roxanne Sancto said in a review for Paste Magazine.
In fact, series creator Charlie Brooker said part of his direct inspiration for writing the episode was based on Twitter and the question: “What if these people were dead and it was software emulating their thoughts?”
See what others are saying: (The Independent) (IGN) (Indie Wire)
JoJo Siwa Fans Caution Against Labeling the Star’s Sexuality
- JoJo Siwa was featured in two TikTok videos Wednesday that many felt signaled her as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
- One showed her dancing and lip-syncing to Paramore’s “Aint It Fun,” along with members of the TikTok group Pride House LA. Siwa specifically mouthed the lyric “Now you’re one of us,” which is also the caption of the post.
- The second video showed her lip-syncing to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” a song that has long been heralded as an LGBTQ+ anthem.
- The 17-year-old entertainer has not directly addressed speculations about her sexuality, prompting many to caution against labeling her.
JoJo Siwa TikToks Trigger Sexuality Speculations
JoJo Siwa fans are urging the public not to label the 17-year-old entertainer’s sexuality, especially when she has not explicitly done so herself.
The request came after Siwa became a trending topic Wednesday when many speculated that she had come out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
The speculations stem from two TikTok videos she was featured in. The first was posted on choreographer Kent Boyd’s account. It features him and other members of the TikTok group Pride House LA, which includes several stars from Disney Channel’s “Teen Beach Movie.”
It showed them all lip-syncing and dancing along to Paramore’s hit song “Ain’t It Fun.” Siaw specifically mouthed the lyric “Now you’re one of us.” That lyric was also the caption of the post.
Later in the day, Siwa posted a video on her personal TikTok account that featured her lip-syncing to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” a song that has long been heralded as an LGBTQ+ anthem.
Part of the lyrics she sang along to were: “No matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian transgender life / I’m on the right track baby, I was born to survive.”
These posts really started all the rumors online, and things picked up when influencers like James Charles, Bretman Rock, and others expressed their support.
Many fans also left comments on the videos saying they were proud of her, and journalist Yashar Ali tweeted, “This feels like a big deal if it is what I think it is…JoJo Siwa is hugely popular with kids.”
“And as someone just pointed out, if it is what I think it is, she’s doing it at the height of her fame when she’s selling out arenas,” he continued.
Despite the wave of praise, other fans feel that it’s inappropriate and harmful to make speculations about anyone’s sexuality.
Many have even shared their own experiences coming out, reminding people not to label Siwa as anything until she explicitly chooses to share that information herself.
While Siwa hasn’t directly addressed any of the responses as of yet, she has retweeted a post that features her video, the pride flag emoji, and the caption, “@itsjojosiwa is on the right track, she was born this way.”
Still, others also noted that she has publicly asked Lady Gaga to collaborate with her in the past, so perhaps this is a signal about that happening soon.
Others believe it could also be Siwa’s way of signaling that she is an ally of the LGBTQ+ community.
See what others are saying: (Insider) (Metro) (Teen Vogue)
Google Investigates Top AI Researcher Who Was Looking Into a Previous Firing
- Google is investigating the co-leader of its Ethical AI team, Margaret Mitchell.
- While Mitchell has not been fired, her account has been locked because Google said she “exfiltrated thousands of files” and shared them with people outside of the company.
- In a tweet, Mitchell indicated that she had been “documenting current critical issues” related to the firing of another Google AI Ethicist in December.
- Sources reportedly told Axios that Mitchell had been specifically looking for messages that showed discriminatory treatment of that fired researcher.
Google Investigates Margaret Mitchell
On Tuesday, Google stated that it is now investigating the co-leader of its Ethical Al team, Margaret Mitchell.
Mitchell has reportedly not been fired, but her company email account has been locked.
According to Google, its security systems automatically lock employee accounts “when they detect that the account is at risk of compromise due to credential problems or when an automated rule involving the handling of sensitive data has been triggered.”
In this case, Google said Mitchell “exfiltrated thousands of files” and then shared them with people outside of the company.
Why Did Mitchell Begin Looking Through Files?
Mitchell’s investigation is related to the ousting of another top AI ethicist at Google, Timnit Gebru, who was fired at the beginning of December.
Before Gebru was fired, managers reportedly instructed her to withdraw an unpublished research paper upon her return from vacation. In an email to the internal listserv Google Brain Women and Allies, Gebru then voiced frustration at managers for allegedly making the decision without her input.
“You are not worth having any conversations about this, since you are not someone whose humanity (let alone expertise recognized by journalists, governments, scientists, civic organizations such as the electronic frontiers foundation etc) is acknowledged or valued in this company,” Gebru said in a critique of the decision.
Gebru’s firing led to such a massive outcry from Google employees that Google CEO Sundar Pichai pledged to investigate the situation.
On Friday, Mitchell indicated in a tweet that she was also looking into Gebru’s firing, saying that she was “documenting current critical issues from [Gebru’s] firing, point by point, inside and outside work.”
According to Axios, sources have said that Mitchell used automated scripts to siphon through messages that potentially document discriminatory treatment against Gebru.