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Streamer Amouranth’s abuse allegations expose the dangers of incelism and ‘Twitch thot’ harassment

In a deeply-concerning livestream, American Twitch star, cosplayer, and ASMR YouTuber Kaitlyn ‘Amouranth’ Siragusa revealed that she is married and accused her husband of making a series of abusive threats against her.

The recent video, although not available on Amouranth’s Twitch channel, has been circulating on various social media platforms—showing the distressed streamer addressing the abuse she has allegedly endured, and continues to be subject to. In one clip, the 28-year-old can be seen speaking on the phone with a man she says is her husband and questioning his threats to kill her dogs if she didn’t do a 24-hour-long stream. After a long pause, the man demanded Amouranth leave the house, proceeded to call her a liar and denied all claims that he threatened to kill her pets. It’s unclear if he was watching the creator’s livestream himself.

In a second clip, Amouranth claimed that her husband has been forcing her to broadcast content against her wishes and quoted a therapist who described his behaviour as “a form of psychological abuse” and said that she has been living in a “fancy prison.”

“He was changed for a bit and then the hot tub meta arose,” Amouranth said in her stream, adding that he then coerced her to “commit to the grind because it was a good financial opportunity for us” and continue posting several hot tub videos against her will. For the uninitiated, hot tub streams typically feature female streamers clad in swimwear—broadcasting directly from their bathtubs or makeshift swimming pools. Popular on the platform’s ‘Just Chatting’ directory, hot tub streamers can be found lounging in their tubs for hours chatting to their audience about a wide range of topics.

In yet another clip shared in a Twitter thread, Amouranth claimed that her husband controls her finances and even threatened to leave her with only $1 million if she took action against him. “All the fucking accounts are two-factored into his number and he has all the login information,” the streamer said. “It keeps you there with the fear and the threats… and then he’s nice again and says everything is going to be okay.”

In a subsequent clip, she also showed viewers a series of text messages where her husband called her a “dumb fuck” and made other abusive threats like dumping her luggage and merchandise off a hotel balcony and deleting her social media presence altogether. As noted by Kotaku, this is the first time Amouranth has publicly discussed her marriage. In the livestream, she also reportedly mentioned that this was due to what her husband said were commercial reasons—as he felt that the news of her marriage would “ruin the business model.”

“You want me to tell them I’m single,” Amouranth said at one point. “It’s about to be true, you piece of shit.”

Shortly after the series of clips gripped social media platforms, several female streamers including 39daph and Valkyrae tweeted their support for Amouranth. On the other end of Twitter and Twitch, however, the 28-year-old’s recent claims highlighted the addressed-yet-ignored dangers of the incel community and the problematic label of ‘Twitch thots’.

“Amouranth has had a husband this whole time yet I’ve been gifting 1000s of Tier 3s EVERY MONTH? How do you charge back on a credit card?” a user tweeted. Meanwhile, American YouTuber, podcaster, and streamer KEEMSTAR—infamous for his terrible takes on controversial public figures despite his own terrible online incel history—wrote in a now-deleted series of tweets: “Clearly husband is abusing. She showed the text. But Amouranth herself has scammed so many guys online, claiming she was single for years. These Twitch streamers don’t care about their viewers. They all just use you and your low IQs to fill their pockets.”

In the Twitter thread, KEEMSTAR continued: “Also Amouranth for years [got] praise for being a genius business woman. [Based] on this new information, the hidden husband behind the scenes was the one making all the business moves. So…”

Some netizens have also taken to Twitter and attacked Amouranth for livestreaming her claims for ‘clout’ and dehumanised her for having an OnlyFans (OF). With comments like “Remember when Twitch was a gaming platform and not for some girly drama?” “Makes sense. She’s on OF after all” and “Why would she wear that top? I can’t concentrate on anything she’s saying,” doing the rounds, Amouranth’s abuse allegations add to the increasing list of toxic controversies and labels female streamers have long found themselves linked to on the male-dominant platform.

In the past, viewers have coined the sexist and degrading term ‘Twitch thots’ that refers to a subset of female streamers who are defined purely by their ‘promiscuous’ looks. Although the label is problematically used alongside ‘booby streamers’ on both Reddit and YouTube, it is associated with two major female creators on Twitch: namely Alinity and Amouranth.

Back in 2018, a YouTuber reportedly accused Amouranth of lying about her relationship status and “pretending to be single so men would donate large amounts of money” to her on streams. At the time, the female streamer had a sum total of 525,000 followers on Twitch and was quickly labelled as “one of the biggest Twitch thots” across the internet. She even witnessed a surge in insulting tweets and said that she had been doxxed following the rumour.

In the case of hot tub streams, the creators involved have further been accused of stealing viewers by taking advantage of “horny nerds” on the platform. Even today, these niche streamers are routinely shamed for being “scantily-dressed” and “acting provocatively” in order to increase their viewership and subscriber count. The discourse has also spurred another conversation as to what constitutes a ‘real gamer’.

Despite all of these controversies, however, in July 2022, Amouranth became the most-viewed female streamer of the year. With a whopping 8.2 million hours of watch time, the star defeated Pokimane and Valkyrae to also hold the title of being the only woman in the top 100 streamers of 2022. Today, with a whopping 5.9 million followers on Twitch, Amouranth’s allegations are yet another addition to the idea that female streamers must stay single in order to ‘sell’ the fantasy that their viewers can one day date them.

Twitch hot tub streams lead to a surge in toxic comments on the platform

Jumping on the latest trend is often the key to success for many creators—same goes for Twitch and the concept of a ‘meta’. A ‘metagame’ (shortened meta) refers to finding an optimal way of achieving success in the competitive gaming landscape. As streamers constantly look for ways to maximise growth, reach and income, a controversial meta has been cropping up on the scene. Welcome to the slippery little world of hot tub streams.

What are hot tub streams?

Taking off as a full-blown trend last month, hot tub streams usually feature female streamers clad in swimwear—broadcasting directly from their bathtubs or swimming pools. Inflatable tubs, green screens and sometimes even buckets are used by streamers who want to jump on the trend with no major investments. Popular on the platform’s ‘Just Chatting’ directory, hot tub streamers can be found lounging in their tubs for hours chatting to their audience about a wide range of topics.

“I wanted some kind of different content and no one else was doing it,” said variety streamer XoAeriel who jump-started the trend. In an interview with Kotaku, the streamer admitted to purchasing a blow-up hot tub from Amazon with LED lights to go inside before streaming. “Views took off pretty quickly and my following started to grow pretty fast. A few streamers started noticing this and ordered blow-up hot tubs for themselves.”

Since the end of March 2021, popular hot tub streamer Amouranth has gained over 500,000 followers. Indiefoxx, the second biggest streamer to regularly stream from a hot tub, gained almost 300,000 and counting. Although others like Spoopy Kitt and XoAeriel haven’t amassed numbers this large, Kotaku noted how they’ve still managed to pull in thousands of fresh viewers in just over a month.

These streamers also come up with constant innovations to keep hot tub streams alive as a trend. Amouranth, for example, now hosts a podcast with other streamers—engaging in some socially-distanced gossiping sessions broadcasted from their respective hot tubs, be it inflatable or full-blown 8 feet swimming pools. Even the coveted VTubers (Virtual YouTubers) have jumped on the craze, streaming their 2D avatars from customised virtual tubs.

What does the audience and fellow streamers think about the meta?

Let’s start by breaking down the demand and impact of hot tub streams on its audience. While hot tub streams usually pan out like all other streams featured on the platform’s ‘Just Chatting’ section, one of the major differences lies in the conversations that go down in the chats. While some viewers ask standard questions about the streamer’s day and future plans, others leer, pass offensive remarks and go as far as imploring female streamers to remove pieces of clothing.

Firedancer, a variety streamer specialising in makeup and cosplay, outlined how harassment has gone up on Twitch ever since the mainstream popularity of hot tub streams. “Some viewers have also gotten very toxic in the last few weeks,” the streamer added in the interview with Kotaku.

One can first-handedly experience these claims themselves by keeping a close eye on the chats under hot tub streams. For the 10-minute window I watched Amouranth’s recent live, I could spot a plethora of suggestive comments—if not emoji combinations—popping up in numbers hard to keep track of. While some engaged in regular conversations with the streamer, others used zeros to replace the os in the word ‘boobs’ to avoid being banned by the moderators in the chat. Some publicly admitted wanting to see an “accidental wardrobe malfunction” while others advised her to start an OnlyFans.

Amouranth, however, mentioned how she has learned to roll with the toxic side of the popularity. “I’ve seen a lot of more conservative (in terms of attire or demeanour) female broadcasters get undue hate or sexual harassment regardless,” Amouranth said to Kotaku.

As for the case with their fellow streamers, hot tub streamers in particular have been accused of stealing viewers by taking advantage of “horny nerds” on the platform. These niche streamers have been slut-shamed for being “scantily-dressed” and “acting provocatively” in order to increase their viewership and subscriber count. Dubbed “the most pathetic thing seen on Twitch in forever” by co-streamers like xQc, hot tub streams have spurred another controversy as to what constitutes a ‘real gamer’.

While some argue that streamers who “flaunt their body” and focus on looks to succeed can’t be termed ‘real gamers’, others highlight how hot tub streamers set standards for other female streamers—making it difficult to retain subscribers who increasingly expect them to jump on the trend.

However, it should be noted that a ‘gamer’ isn’t necessarily a tag for a special class of people. If you whip out your dusty little Oxford dictionaries, you can see how the word is used to define absolutely anyone with interest in video and role-playing games. It all boils down to our social conditioning in the gaming landscape—where women have to often prove that they’re ‘real’ gamers whereas men are just given the benefit of the doubt.

What is Twitch’s take on hot tub streamers?

Twitch is a platform well-known for the strict reinforcement of its community guidelines—resulting in numerous bans for the streamers who dare violate them. So why are hot tub streams still a craze on the platform? Why hasn’t Twitch expectedly cracked down on the trend?

“Swimwear is permitted as long as it completely covers the genitals, and those who present as women must also cover their nipples,” reads Twitch’s policy around sexually suggestive content. “Full coverage of buttocks is not required, but camera focus around them is still subject to our sexually suggestive content policy. Coverage must be fully opaque, even when wet. Sheer or partially see-through swimwear or other clothing does not constitute coverage.”

Well, hot tub streams technically abide by all of these rules mentioned. Neither do the cameras “focus on breasts, buttocks, or pelvic region” nor do the streamers wear “sheer or see-through swimwear.” This is why the trend has garnered a ‘loophole’ status in the communityallowing streamers to ‘exploit’ the loophole and broadcast in swimwear from any location which previously required them to be near a pool or beach to do so.

“People are frustrated because they feel like Twitch’s platform is being taken advantage of,” said QTCinderella to Kotaku. “However, hot tub streamers are not taking advantage of the platform because the platform is currently allowing it.” The female streamer thereby urges Twitch to be more vocal with their audiences about their stance on the issue. “By not doing so, it is encouraging a bizarre pent-up resentment,” QTCinderella added.

Over the years, female streamers have been banned from Twitch for wearing tank tops and swimsuits in other contexts. Branded “titty streamers” and other derogatory terms, the controversy around ‘appropriate’ female attire has prompted Twitch to consistently crack down on these streamers. Hot tub streams could either be an ironic ‘movement’ fostered from the ashes of these bans or be a fad waiting for another meta to replace them.