On June 26, Beahm was removed without warning from Twitch, and shortly thereafter, his paid subscribers were notified that they would be refunded. Beahm had an audience of more than 4 million subscribers to the live streaming platform, and in March he signed an eight-digit contract to stream exclusively on the Amazon-owned platform. Twitch has not provided any reason for the separation, which makes the circumstances and reasons behind the move subject to much assumption.
On the phone with The Washington Post in his first interview since Twitch threw him aside, Beahm was stupid and measured in his answers. Many of his answers turned back to the society he had built and his hopes for the future. When asked about his removal from Twitch or his next move, he often followed the advice of his legal lawyer to keep quiet.
Beahm claims he still does not know why Twitch effectively terminated his contract, just a few months into a two-year exclusivity event first reported by The Verge.
“Honestly, we just do not know,” Beahm told The Post. “It was a total shock. Imagine that you are going to work and the doors are closed and you can not enter. You say, “What’s going on?” And you have been told that you have been fired. But you have not heard why. We just got no answer. … It was the worst feeling. “
Beahm said he learned the news while watching a friend’s stream on Twitch. He noticed that some of the features normally available to him as a creator were not present and sent an email to Twitch. In its reply, the company informed him of their actions but gave no reason. (Twitch is owned by Amazon, whose CEO Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
A spokesman for Twitch asked for a more detailed date for the decision, saying they “were not interested in further information at this time.” Since June 26, Twitch has rejected several additional requests from The Post to answer follow-up questions.
Discord, a video game-focused chat platform, said they had also removed Beahm from their affiliate program on June 26, shortly after the Twitch news broke. Discord’s program did not require Beahm’s active participation; it simply confirmed his presence on the platform and assigned some other paid features to his account. (Beahm and his representative told The Post that they were not aware of the partnership.)
Through a spokesman, Discord told The Post that partners are held “to a higher standard than regular users” and issued a statement similar to Twitch: “Discord Partners must follow our code of conduct, and when violations occur we take the right action.” The company declined to comment on their reasons for terminating the partnership.
In recent days, Beahm said he has spent time with his family and taken a short vacation to the beach while considering his legal options. He refused to deal with any pending legal action, citing lawyers.
Twitch’s silence about Beahm’s removal has left a void with information filled with speculation, ranging from conspiracies about Doc leaving the platform for a rival service, to suggestions that the removal was a public relations stunt. On Twitter, David Icke, a conspiracy theorist recently removed from YouTube and Facebook to spread anti-Semitic allegations, has a link between Twitch’s termination of Beahm’s contract and Beahm’s referring to Icke in the stream.
The interruption between Beahm and Twitch also comes in the middle of a calculation about misconduct in the video games and sports industries. In recent weeks, dozens of women and men have tweeted accusations of sexual abuse and harassment by prominent members of the gaming community. So far no charges have been filed against Beahm.
Speaking to The Post, Beahm refused to address any specific theories, reiterating that Twitch has not communicated the reasons for the removal to either him or his team, often pointing to the support of his subscriber subscriber. “It just goes back to the fact that I’m not interested in making crazy speculations,” Beahm said. “You know, I have a great community, loyal fans.”
The last minutes of Beahm’s last stream have also given up theories about his removal from Twitch. In videos from the last stream, he can be seen chasing his lips and struggling to speak. In the end, he says, “I appreciate everyone watching today. We … we get … we get through this Champions Club [his name for his online supporters]. Life is weird right now, we’ll go through this okay? He then curses and leaves the stream.
Beahm clearly denied any connection between that stream and his subsequent removal. He told The Post that his comments focused on the current “state of the world”, including the coronavirus and the protests taking place across the country.
“I went out of my doctoral character, which I do from time to time, just with a more personal moment with my audience in my community. And it was a special moment, and that’s pretty much what it was, he said.
Beahm began streaming full-time in 2015, creating the character of Dr. Disrespect, a sharp, bombastic alter ego that became iconic in video streaming circles for his looks, which include a fake black mullet and mustache, colorful performance sunglasses and a pseudo-combat vest paired with a long-sleeved vest shirt in spandex. As a former NCAA Division II basketball player with a family, Beahm stood in contrast to his teens and 20-somethings leading the video game and online streaming world. For his fans, Dr Disrespect’s skill in playing first-person shooters like Call of Duty is perhaps secondary to the character’s littering and tendency to seek drama, which has both led him to notoriety and sometimes led him to trouble.
Beahm’s streaming career has included several controversies, ranging from offensive jokes to an event at the 2019 E3 Games Convention, where he entered a public men’s room while continuing to stream live on camera. He was banned from the conference and his channel was temporarily suspended by Twitch. Prior to that, he took a two-month break from streaming in December 2017 after admitting to cheating on his wife. Another scandal included allegations of racism for using a hollow Chinese accent during a stream.
“I have been very open with those around me and my community,” Beahm said during the interview. “If anyone knows the doctor and who I am, you know, I have taken up and taken full responsibility every time. And I have learned from these mistakes. “
During his time stream, Beahm received sponsorship deals at various times with brands such as Gillette, Mountain Dew, ASUS, Razer and ROCCAT, the company behind Turtle Beach gaming accessories. In addition to the exclusive streaming agreement with Twitch (which totaled eight figures according to a person familiar with the contract who requested anonymity because he did not have the authority to discuss it with the media), Beahm also landed a TV development agreement with SkyBound Entertainment.
Beahm said in the interview that the plans for the TV series have not been affected by the recent events. SkyBound Entertainment did not respond to The Post’s request for comment.
“Listen, we’ll see,” Beahm said of the planned TV venture. “We have worked really hard. We are ready to go. You know, we’re happy to take the following steps. “
During a half-hour interview, Beahm searched for words and published several stuttering answers to questions, including about his last stream – a marked contrast to his WWE-like character. Asked how it felt to be so retained in the wake of the removal, Beahm said his response was carefully coordinated by his team.
“I try to take all the right steps with how this is handled,” Beahm said.
The latest development occurred at a point when Beahm and his wife felt they were “just in such a good place in life and [their] relationship, family and work, ”he said.
“All the right points stood out, all the pieces in this great puzzle from the Doc universe,” Beahm said. “And everything was just fine. Everything was just lined up … to drive the doctor’s character outside the realm to just flow and more into this universe. You know, kind of extensive mainstream media. “
Beahm and his team are considering possible next steps. Although his representatives declined to comment on any future streaming sites, there are a number of options. Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, one of the most popular streamers working today, has experimented with streaming on YouTube – though without exclusive commitment. Mixer, the soon-to-be-released streaming platform supported by Microsoft, has been working to transfer its users to Facebook Gaming.
“We worked really hard to get to this point, and suddenly it’s just like everything’s stopped,” Beahm said. “But you know, I’m surrounded by a good team. And we put together a nice little game plan. I’m really happy to take things to the next level. “