Popular streaming site Twitch has been no stranger to controversy with how it handles disciplinary action and censorship, and is again in hot water for removing clips of Heather “HeatheredEffect” Kent breastfeeding her daughter, Margaux, this past week.
Kent is a well-known streamer, YouTuber, and model who took three months off recently after the birth of her daughter. During one of her streams last week, Kent breastfed her daughter while speaking with a friend who was also present in the room.
The clip itself was posted to the Twitch clip repository Livestreamfail, posted by another active fitness streamer who titled the post “Normalizing Breastfeeding On Twitch.” By all accounts the title of the post is sincere and not meant to call any negative attention to the content of the clip, as breastfeeding is a completely natural act that often pops up in the media when some backwards-thinking individuals seem shocked to even consider something like that ever happening in public.
Unfortunately, the trolls over at Livestreamfail responded in a similar fashion, accusing Kent of using her body to attract more viewers, as if the act of breastfeeding were in any way tied to sexuality. However, the reaction from Twitch demonstrates an agreement to that line of thinking, as the clips were removed that same day.
Kent’s response was to upload the clip once more with commentary, asking how something like this can be removed, while an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood featured on the front page of Twitch spent considerable more time and footage on breastfeeding than has ever appeared on her own stream. Let’s be honest here, if we hold Mr. Rogers to a lower standard than other Twitch streamers, someone had made a big mistake!
Since the issue occurred last Tuesday, Twitch has now responded on August 1 by stating that breastfeeding is not against the Terms of Service agreement.
WE DID IT!🤱🏻@Twitch just confirmed what we were saying all along—breastfeeding is NOT sexual & it is NOT against ToS.
— HeatheredEffect on Twitch & YouTube! (@HeatheredEffect) August 1, 2019
What this case presents in its resolution is a clear win breastfeeding, and also a recurring problem at Twitch whereby the moderation team there does not seem able to apply a consistent set of behaviors when deciding what is or is not allowed on Twitch, along with what should be disciplined and to what degree.
This case highlights that inconsistency more than others, because breastfeeding is not like the recent controversies regarding the abuse of animals, for example. Breastfeeding in public is legal in all fifty states in America, and in all of Canada, as protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. For Twitch to stumble on something so clear-cut as that simply reinforces the idea that Twitch needs an overhaul to how it handles these kinds of complaints, both for uniformity, and for general competence in their decision making.
Hopefully Twitch makes a change for the better, but we have said that now for far too long.