In an effort to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Twitch gave viewers the ability to add modifiers to their favourite streamer’s emotes, letting “viewers show their support for Hispanic and LatinX streamers”. These modifiers placed a sombrero, maracas, and a guitar on top of any emote. Within hours of adding the feature, Twitch removed it due to community backlash.
The outrage stems from Twitch believing this would be something that the Latinx community would appreciate. Most of the comments on Twitter come from people in complete disbelief that something like this would ever be approved. “I really need to know how this got through?” asks ‘LordBalvin’ on Twitter. “Twitch’s idea of celebrating Hispanic History Month is emote modifiers with Mexican stereotypes.”
As Partnered Twitch streamer ‘Lavender Courage’ points out, this isn’t the first time Twitch has messed up over the past 48 hours. “Is Twitch trying to just push it as far as it’ll go today, or…?” writes Lavender Courage on Twitter. This is in response to Twitch’s controversial mid-stream ads that cannot be turned disabled by creators. A number of Twitch streamers are also frustrated with the lack of transparency when it comes to big decisions like this.
Twitch has since apologised for the emote modifiers and issued this statement: “We launched these emote modifiers today as part of our celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month but we clearly missed the mark, and we apologize. These were not an appropriate representation of Hispanic and LatinX culture, and we’ve removed them.”
We launched these emote modifiers today as part of our celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month but we clearly missed the mark, and we apologize. These were not an appropriate representation of Hispanic and LatinX culture, and we’ve removed them.
— Twitch (@Twitch) September 15, 2020
Fortunately, the rest of Twitch’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration is much more positive than its emote modifiers. From September 15 to October 15, a variety of Hispanic and Latinx streamers will be spotlighted on Twitch’s front page. In addition to this, the non–profit organisation Latinx in Gaming, will be hosting a three-day stream summit from October 9 to October 11 which aims to highlight Latinx developers, creatives, and allies.