On July 1, 2018, a popular streamer called m0E was banned from Twitch for saying the word “f*ggot” on a stream. In a clip from his stream playing Overwatch, viewers can hear him asking the people he is playing with if the word is offensive.
“I’m going to try to stop saying f*ggot, but it’s one of my favorite words of all time,” m0E said. “It’s not a bad word. It has a lot of meanings.”
People replied by telling him the word was offensive, but they used it like they used other words like the r-word to diss other people.
“Same,” m0E said. “I use the word f*ggot to call people r*tards.”
An esports analyst who goes by Thorin tweeted that “SJW” (social justice warrior) types were trying to reverse the etymology of the word, saying that the word wasn’t created to be homophobic.
Thorin wasn’t the only notable gamer defending m0E’s behavior. Other professional analysts like MonteCristo and Semmler also supported it, with the former gamer even saying it was a “tyranny of language” when describing people who were offended by the word.
As Ryan Khosravi of Into writes in his piece on the matter, this very language and attitude have existed in esports and gaming for a while, but with this specific game, Overwatch, it’s even worse.
“With Overwatch, we have a game that has an openly LGBT character and a fanbase that is extremely queer,” he wrote. “One of the teams in the Overwatch League even partnered with an LGBTQ organization to battle homophobia during Pride month. Yet we have people who are defending the use of homophobic slurs.”
There’s lots of progress to be made in the gaming community and world at large when it comes to slurs being used in such public, sponsored platforms. However, we’re comforted that Twitch is at least taking steps to show that this behavior will not be tolerated.