Dr Disrespect faces the consequences of his actions, not cancel culture

Dr Disrespect admitted to "inappropriate" messages with a minor and faces the severe consequences of his actions.
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Guy Beahm, also known as Dr Disrespect, issued a statement in reference to allegations that led to his ban from Twitch in 2020. As more became known about this situation, it was clear that action was needed. Multiple organizations have cut ties with Dr Disrespect, including the game studio he co-founded, Midnight Society.

While the ban came four years ago, the situation has continued to surface in gaming – mostly in social media discourse. Former Twitch employee and Twitter user Cody Conners (@evoli) posted on June 21 that Dr Disrespect was banned “because he got caught sexting a minor in the then-existing Twitch whispers product. He was trying to meet up with her at TwitchCon. The powers that be could read in plain text.”

That same day Dr Disrespect would respond to that very message in a tweet in which he posted “no wrongdoing was acknowledged and they [Twitch] paid out the whole contract.”

His followers would rally around him, but just days later he’d make a full comment about the situation that projected a bright light on the issue at hand. This came as Midnight Society announced it would sever ties with its co-founder. Gaming headset and accessory company Turtle Beach also announced on June 25 that it would end its partnership with the popular streamer.

In his statement, Dr. Disrespect outlines his point of view on the actions and ramifications, directly admitting to messaging a minor in a fashion that he stated as “inappropriate.”

“Were there twitch whisper messages with an individual minor back in 2017? The answer is yes,” he posted to Twitter on June 25. “Were there real intentions behind these messages, the answer is absolutely not. These were casual, mutual conversations that sometimes leaded too much in the direction of being inappropriate, but nothing more. Nothing illegal happened, no pictures were shared, no crimes were committed, I never even met the individual.”

As of June 25, Dr Disrespect is 42 years old. In 2017 he would have been between the 34 to 35 years of age. And he was, in his own words, sharing “inappropriate” messages with a child. That is unacceptable on all levels. Inappropriate behavior with children at any level should be met with swift action from both a legal and corporate level, regardless of an individual’s wealth or social profile. This shouldn’t be a debatable point. Yet, there are a lot of debates going on about this situation with Dr Disrespect, even after the famed streamer admitted to “inappropriate” messages with a minor.

In 2022, Dr Disrespect settled his lawsuit with Twitch. He pursued legal action after his ban which led to both parties coming to the table on an agreement to part ways. Disrespect claimed that the ban impacted him financially and caused harm to his reputation. According to Disrespect’s own words, he was paid out for his contract and neither side mentioned any “wrongdoing.” But that and saying that “nothing illegal” happened does not mean that his actions weren’t found to be so damning that major organizations are wrong in making the decision to cut ties with him. In the statement that Midnight Society released, the organization admitted to wanting to side with its co-founder but after investigating the matter, acknowledged would have been a mistake. Twitch, as a brand, would not want to be aligned with a user and popular streamer using its platform to share "inappropriate" messages with a child.

Securing a legal settlement and a “not guilty” verdict are two entirely different things. There are several examples of powerful men in entertainment settling cases or using NDAs to keep victims quiet, only to be found to have done heinous things as time goes by. Take the situations with entertainment mogul Diddy and wrestling promoter, Vince McMahon as examples. Diddy secured a settlement with Cassie in less than 24 hours, only for video evidence to come out of him viciously attacking her. McMahon used NDAs to keep individuals quiet, which has led to him, John Laurinaitis and the WWE being sued for several allegations that include sexual assault and sex trafficking. These are just two recent, high-profile examples but there are several more of note that prove the point that settlements do not mean innocence.

Then there’s the idea of “innocent until proven guilty.” This is true for Americans thanks to the criminal justice system – at least in the court of law. That statement means that the simple existence of allegations does not result in Disrespect being sent directly to jail. He hasn’t been found guilty by a jury of his peers. But what “innocent until proven guilty” doesn’t absolve him of is the consequences of his own actions. By his own admission, he committed acts that businesses found bad enough to separate themselves from him. Twitch and Turtle Beach will be fine, but Midnight Society’s decision has the potential to cause the closure of the entire organization. The replies to their statements and tweets since show that there’s a contingent of gamers willing to review bomb any content the developer creates. Again, consequences of an action.

The final point is the idea of this being an example of “cancel culture.” Disrespect even made mention of the idea in his post on Twitter.

“I’m taking an extended vacation with my family as mentioned on stream and I’m coming back with a heavyweight weight off my shoulders. They want me to disappear…yeah [expletive] right.”

What’s sad about that last line is that he will go away for a few weeks to months and return to huge fanfare. There will still be millions of people who follow his content and enjoy his streams. This is an individual who admitted to “inappropriate” messages to a minor. Some of the people rallying around him are parents, with minors in their stead. Yet, their support will not wane. Dr Disrespect will return and go right back to making large sums of money as one of the biggest streamers in gaming. Doesn’t really sound like any definition of the word “cancel.”

The situation with Dr Disrespect is a terrible one to watch unfold because there is a victim involved. A victim who is a minor. But as society has shown in several examples, victims often aren’t protected well, if at all. Even as organizations cut ties and some fans renounce their support, Dr Disrespect will be back to doing his thing in light of these heinous accusations and admissions.