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The Real Reason Valorant Banned This Popular Twitch Streamer

Streamers often behave poorly online, and many are forced to deal with the consequences of their actions. For example, xQc has had to find a way to come back from his many bans with some amount of grace. "Valorant" itself isn't a stranger to banning players, especially considering that some banned pros faced serious accusations in the past. Recently, "Valorant" has tried to make gaming more inclusive by welcoming more women into the esports community. Riot Games' strides in inclusivity lined up with a recent clip of "Valorant" streamer IShowSpeed, which went viral and sparked a conversation about the ethics of holding young gamers accountable for their actions in the increasingly online world.

Full Squad Gaming's Jake Lucky tweeted a clip of IShowSpeed ranting after losing a match in "Valorant." He captioned the clip, saying, "You got one of the most popular streamers on YouTube IShowSpeed saying crap like this and getting nothing but praise and laughs." The clip in question included IShowSpeed using racially charged language against a fellow teammate, then growing even angrier when a woman on his team spoke up. 

After calling her names and insinuating she had no right to talk to him, IShowSpeed told her to "do [her] husband's dishes, b****." Given Lucky's platform, gamers and developers alike began to comment on the post, and it eventually attracted the attention of someone who works on "Valorant."

Things escalated quickly for IShowSpeed

Sara Dadafshar, a producer of "Valorant," responded to Lucky's tweet, writing, "we do NOT want players like this in our community at all. I went ahead and perma banned this player from VALORANT, as well as all other Riot Games." She went on to say that she and the team behind "Valorant" want to make the game safer for its user base. Meanwhile, Lester Chen at YouTube Gaming said he would take care of the situation as well. In the end, IShowSpeed was banned from both YouTube and Riot Games without a warning, and while his actions were wrong, many gamers compared the situation to other instances of racist, homophobic, transphobic, and sexist language.

One gamer brought up a clip from another IShowSpeed clip, which showed IShowSpeed's teammates offensively telling him that "only the white characters can heal" in a battle. Another commenter speculated that the teammates featured in the second clip likely had fewer fans than IShowSpeed, meaning that Riot might find it harder to justify banning them because they ultimately don't bring much attention to the platform.

For his own part, IShowSpeed has apologized for his actions, claiming that he's young and learning from his mistakes. While he tagged Lester Chen and Jake Lucky in his post, he notably did not address his apology to Sara Dadafshar at Riot Games. Some viewers quickly pointed out that even though IShowSpeed claimed that he's changed since the clip was filmed, he's still made sexist comments towards women as recently as a week ago. While some were concerned that the bans may have been more about race than IShowSpeed's behavior towards women, Twitch streamer xQc argued that those debating the issue were trying to bait "women haters" and draw attention to the issue for the wrong reasons.