Twitch comes under fire after running transphobic advertisements during a stream of Overwatch League matches. The ads attack Australia’s Safe Schools Coalition which is a group focused on helping schools be more inclusive of children of all genders and sexualities.
This is just the latest controversy surrounding the streaming platform, as Twitch has been heavily criticized for its problem with harassment and abuse.
Twitch Responds to Transphobic Overwatch League Ads
Hell yeah time to tune into The Overwatch League on Twitch and uhhh get served some… fucking… transphobic ads? From some fucking bullshit called "Parents HQ"?? pic.twitter.com/gl4TLdgKuO
— Tongs Clodbill (@burgerdrome) January 18, 2018
Yesterday it came to light that Overwatch League viewers in Australia were being served transphobic ads. The advertisements, which were created by an organization called Parents HQ, took aim at another organization called Australia’s Safe Schools Coalition.
The ads say that it is a “disaster” that the number of children seeking gender treatment has increased and accuse the Safe Schools’ program of “sexualising children and leading hundreds to seek medical “gender transitions” treatments.” It also describes getting hormones and surgery as “irreversible mutilation.”
The ads, which ran during the Overwatch League match between Seoul Dynasty and Florida Mayhem, also included a caption a caption that says “This Ad supports OverwatchLeague.” Though Twitch has clarified that (Overwatch developer) Blizard entertainment isn’t involved in choosing which ads run alongside Overwatch League broadcasts.
Thank's for bringing this to our attention.Twitch does not allow nor support political advertising. This slipped through our political ad filter due to a categorization error at the ad network level. We have since removed it.
— Twitch ANZ (@Twitch_ANZ) January 18, 2018
In a statement posted on Twitter, Twitch also explained how the ad ended up being broadcast to Overwatch League viewers in Australia. “Twitch does not allow nor support political advertising. This slipped through our political ad filter due to a categorization error at the ad network level. We have since removed it.”
Twitch’s statement does not fully explain exactly how the ad slipped through its ad filter or the categorization at the ad network. You would think that an ad like this would warrant closer inspection and scrutiny given that its harmful rhetoric.
It’s also unclear how or why the ad was placed in front of fans of Overwatch, a game with multiple LGBTQ characters. But nonetheless, it’s positive to see Twitch act so quickly to sort out the situation and hopefully it won’t happen again.
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