Early today, the Twitch streamer and former Dota 2 pro player Singsing confirmed, via Twitter, that he has been suspended for the use of chatbot on his stream loaded with racist memes. With the right input, “Grillbot” could post, among other things, the n-word written out in script, an antisemitic caricature of a Jewish man, and a modified image of Pepe to appear black and behind bars.
While SingSing himself did not create the chatbot, this isn’t just trolling from occasional stream viewers. Grillbot has been approved and added to by his moderators, who seem to have no problem letting racist slurs run amok in chat. Singsing has certainly never voiced any concerns about it, and has even used the n-word on stream in the past.
The toxic sludge in this chat was not just allowed to fester; until now, it had been given a stamp of approval
Eruptions of racism in the world of esports shouldn’t surprise anybody paying attention. It is, unfortunately, not uncommon to hear racist slurs from fans or even players. The unexpected element of this story, surreally, is how surprised many of SingSing’s fans seemed at the news. A Reddit thread/garbage fire launched in the wake of the banning had protests ranging from the schoolyard white supremacist’s claim that “I can say the n-word because black people do,” to the idea antisemitism is somehow nobler than garden-variety racism. The most common defense, though, was also the most troubling: “But he’s been doing this for years!” And here’s the most fucked up thing about the whole mess: the bigots have a point on this one.
I’ll be as clear as I possibly can, here: people who allow racist language to fester in their stream’s community should understand that their actions have consequences. It is a Good Thing that SingSing’s stream was banned. What’s wild is that it was allowed to get this bad in the first place.
Many of the most offensive emotes in Grillbot’s catalogue had already been green-lit by Twitch, and were in circulation at the time of his banning. It’s not as if SingSing simply flew under the radar—he was a massively popular streamer, with viewership supposedly including staff members at Twitch. The toxic sludge in this chat was not just allowed to fester; until now, it had been given a stamp of approval. So, what changed?
In as close to a public statement as they were willing to make, one of the moderators of r/Dota2 posted the following comment on the Reddit thread on SingSing’s banning:
Yeah, Intolerable, it is a disgusting pile of garbage! Within their own community, at least, the mods of r/Dota2 have taken a stance against the kind of casual ignorance their subreddit has been subject to today.
As some have pointed out, though, bans like this are not always permanent. Later yesterday, SingSing confirmed that the ban is only for 48 hours. We’ve reached out for why they’ve turned their attention to SingSing now, but Twitch’s policy is not to comment on TOS violations.