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How Streamers Handled The Violent DC Protests

On Wednesday, Jan. 6, a mob of President Donald Trump's supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., to protest the certification of President-Elect Joe Biden. For much of the afternoon and evening, news outlets like surrounded the area to provide coverage on the protests. In addition to news broadcasters, another source of live footage dominated the scene: streamers.

A handful of streamers on Twitch took to their platforms to comment on the matter from afar. HayliNic, a gaming streamer with 107,000 followers, hosted a stream with about 14,000 viewers where they watched CNN coverage of the protests together while Hayli commented on the events. In a similar vein, Call of Duty streamer Shaun "Hutch" Hutchinson hosted both a "Congress Watch Party," which featured C-SPAN coverage on Congress' count of the electoral votes, as well as a separate stream with coverage of the coup attempt at the Capitol building.

One of the more popular streams of the protest coverage came from gamer and political commentator Hasan "HasanAbi" Piker, who started a stream as another watch party for the electoral votes count. The stream quickly racked up more than 460,000 viewers as protestors breached the Capitol building. As GameRant reported, HasanAbi continued his commentary on the protests as the situation got more intense. The streamer began flipping between news coverage of the event and aggregated views of streamers from the protest. At one point, HasanAbi was joined by popular streamer xQc.

Streams broadcast live from the protests were not as popular as streams of the news coverage, but still saw a fair amount of people tune in. Strategy gamer and foreign policy advisor DylanBurnsTV had over 11,000 viewers watch him explore the chaos in D.C., though he stood away from the protests.

Meanwhile, As The Verge reported, YouTube also housed many streams from participants in the protest, where chat rooms reacted live to the coup. Some streams asked for donations, though according to YouTube guidelines, videos inciting or encouraging violence violate community rules and therefore cannot be monetized. At the time, a YouTube spokesperson told The Verge that the platform was working to remove the more violent streams. 

On the flip side of things, Jessica Blevins, wife and manager of popular streamer Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, made an effort to provide an escape from the day's chaos. Blevins hosted her own day stream where she did her makeup, enjoyed a few drinks, and played Dead by Daylight as fans watched. "I have every right to state my opinions and feelings, but I also have every right to allow people a space to forget about the chaos and escape. We did that tonight," she later stated in a tweet. "Love you all. We need positivity and community."