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Professional Call of Duty gamer FormaL was temporarily banned by Twitch because somebody on his stream used a homophobic slur. But FormaL, whose real name is Matthew Piper, was not the one to utter those words, and still, he got punished.
Which stunned him and much of the Twitch community.
“So confused right now, will let you guys know more when I do,” Piper tweeted on Monday. A couple hours later, he wrote, “I got suspended over something someone else said while I was playing with them. I’m currently trying to get it handled.”
According to esports consultant Rod Breslau, Piper’s original suspension was for a week because “a subscriber/another streamer of his used a homophobic slur on stream while playing together.”
Twitch has suspended professional Call of Duty player Formal's channel 7 days — through the launch of Modern Warfare — for a subscriber/another streamer of his used a homophobic slur on stream while playing together, according to a source— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) October 21, 2019
A couple hours later, though, Twitch unbanned him, meaning his 378,000 followers can continue to watch him ply his trade.
As Piper wrote on Monday evening, “We’re back, turns out there was some confusion about whether I was the one that said some hateful things or not but I got it cleared up. You guys know I’d never condone anything like that. See you tomorrow on stream!”
We're back, turns out there was some confusion about whether I was the one that said some hateful things or not but I got it cleared up. You guys know I'd never condone anything like that. See you tomorrow on stream!— LG FormaL (@FormaL) October 21, 2019
Twitch does not publicly comment on individual suspensions.
But this is certainly not the first time a Twitch ban (or lack thereof) has caused plenty of controversy. Plenty of women have been suspended for nudity even though they said it never happened or that it was accidental. Streamer Pink Ward was suspended earlier this year for apparently saying the N-word even though he was adamant he actually uttered the word “yikers.” And other Twitch users have been punished for things said by their followers. and not by them.
Plenty of people in the Twitch community were also outraged by the platform’s decision not to punish Alinity Divine after she threw her cat to the ground on a live stream.
As streamers and other Twitch users have constantly noted, Twitch’s punishments are inconsistent, and sometimes, they can affect a streamer who didn’t do anything wrong.
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.