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Twitch has once again found itself being called out for apparent double standards. Moderators recently hit one of the platform's streamers with a ban in the middle of a body painting stream, re-igniting arguments about Twitch's supposedly hypocritical lack of action in regards to the ongoing "hot tub meta".
The controversial hot tub streams have been a point of contention for several weeks now. Some believe that these streams, which typically involve women (but sometimes men) sitting in hot tubs and chatting with viewers, isn't particularly sexual and is in line with Twitch's community standards. These women (and sometimes men) are clothed, after all, often in bikinis and bathing suits.
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Others have hit out at it, believing that Twitch shouldn't provide a platform for such streamers and that it rides a very fine line in terms of Twitch's policies on sexual content. The debate essentially falls around whether or not you believe there is anything inherently sexual in a woman sat in a hot tub.
Of course the argument only gets muddier and less clear when Twitch appears to be banning streamers who aren't doing anything more risky than sitting in a hot tub. As reported by Game Rant, Twitch streamer KK Sparkles was banned for a recent body painting stream. Body painting is a form of cosplay, but Twitch deemed this particular stream to be in violation of its policies.
The ban, which you can see below, states "inappropriate body art" as the reason behind the ban. It explains that it's against the rules to share body art content that features nudity or "insufficiently covered bodies". Examples of potential violations include women "not wearing opaque paint over their chest" area, and "showing clearly defined nipples/areola".
Some users have pointed out that "visible pasties" could be the reason for the ban. Pasties are the adhesive coverings used to cover the nipples, although KK Sparkles responded to argue that there were at least four layers of paint over the pasties, and that you could just barely make them out. Whichever way you slice it, the ban seems a tad harsh.
KK Sparkles, a relatively small streamer, has attempted to drum up support and get Twitch to reconsider the ban, but has had no luck so far. Her supporters have called out Twitch, specifically referencing the hot tub meta in an attempt to understand why one is okay but the other is grounds for a ban. Again, no word from Twitch yet.
"You guys wrongfully ban a body painter but still have hot tub meta taking over just chatting I don't understand," wrote one frustrated user on Twitter.
"DO BETTER TWITCH," added another supporter. "This is not okay. Manually look at these reports properly. This is NOT against ToS and is absolutely insane this keeps happening to creators on your site."
Twitch's head of creator development Marcus "djWHEAT" Graham recently commented on Twitch's hot tub meta, explaining that the platform is keeping a "close eye" on things.
"We have been watching closely," Graham said. "Our nudity and attire policy does allow bathing suites in an appropriate context, and hot tubs do fall under that criteria.
"What has not changed is the sexually suggestive and explicit content is not allowed under the guidelines, under the ToS, and Twitch will take action when that is reported to us."
The issue here is that KK Sparkles and her fans clearly don't believe there was anything suggestive about the content that got her banned, proving once again that Twitch's policies are still super messy and deeply uneven.