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Twitch slams the banhammer again

You're likely well aware by now of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that has disrupted day-to-day life in so much of the world. Many are now working from home. Schools are shutting down. Sporting events have been postponed. On the gaming side of things, many major industry events have been outright canceled.

As many seek information for how to best protect themselves from the coronavirus, streaming platform Twitch has made one thing perfectly clear: it won't tolerate distasteful jokes on the matter. If you use the coronavirus to drum up controversy, you could find yourself on the outside of Twitch looking in.

On a recent stream of The Rajj Show, popular Twitch streamer Kaceytron was asked if she'd kiss someone she knew had the coronavirus. Her answer was one that surprised some of her fellow panelists and, as far as her day job on Twitch is concerned, put her future earnings on the platform in serious jeopardy.

"Yes and we would leave quarantine and try to spread it as much as possible," Kaycetron said, "because the world would be a better place without old and poor people."

That episode of The Rajj Show streamed on March 11. Less than one week later, on March 17, Kaceytron found herself blocked from her Twitch account, with Twitch citing the fact she was "engaging in hateful conduct and threats of violence against a person or group of people."

The streamer broke the news to her fans on Twitter.

"I've been indefinitely suspended because of an insensitive comment I made [last week]," Kaceytron tweeted. "I don't condone hatred towards any person and it was a poor reflection of my character. I'm just trying to take this all in right now. I ask that my audience please remain calm and rational."

Some were not really buying the joke defense, expressing disappointment in the streamer.

"I saw the clip," said one user, "and can't believe you thought this was a joke, 100% deserved ban."

Others believed Kaceytron's response was just an act, and she shouldn't be punished for her attempt at humor.

"It's ridiculous to get banned for a joke while in-character," said another. "A lot of the ban drama gets overblown, but this one doesn't make any sense."

The ban Kaceytron received isn't the one most streamers get for stepping a bit over the line. There are a number of offenses Twitch takes seriously, and those who violate the platform's terms can find themselves suspended for up to 30 days. Kaceytron, however, received a worse punishment than that. She is banned "indefinitely" from Twitch, which means the company could keep her in timeout as long as it deems necessary.

Regardless of how you feel about the ban, you have to admit that the joke wasn't really a fit for where the world is at right now. Many are looking to their favorite content creators to help them take their minds off things. So many streamers are going live to play games, have fun, and provide an escape from all the bad news. Joking about getting others sick — especially the elderly — is not cool.

We'll let you know if any other streamers catch a ban for making similar remarks. This is probably something Twitch will be looking out for more closely now that more people — and more kids, to be specific — are staying home and visiting Twitch dot com.

As we've mentioned already, the coronavirus has already impacted games and other forms of entertainment in substantial ways. The Game Developers Conference, GDC, was called off. E3 2020 is flat-out not happening, which means we won't be getting that huge blow-out for the Xbox Series X we'd been anticipating. A number of games are likely to be delayed as a result of the coronavirus and its effect on the economy and workers. There are even rumors both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X launches could be pushed to 2021.

We're all living through something fairly unprecedented at the moment, and we have no idea how long it'll last. The good news is that, today, the world is more connected than it's ever been. Keeping your distance doesn't have to mean cutting yourself off, so if you're playing Ori and the Will of the Wisps, hop in a party with some friends and chat away. Visit your favorite streamer and let them know you're watching.

Games have a unique way of bringing people together, regardless of where they're at physically. That's going to come in handy in the days, weeks, and possibly months ahead.