The US Army shouts out an anti-Semitic user on Twitch  09/16/2020 18:12:56   Bijan Stephen
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Today, the Army has found itself in a new pot of hot water after a member of the Army National Guard, Axel ZexsOG Torres, shouted out an anti-Semitic username live, as first reported by Motherboard. Yo, six million wasnt enough, thank you so much for the follow, I appreciate you, he said.

It was only last month that the US Army esports team returned to streaming on Twitch. Theyd taken a monthlong hiatus, prompted by a fairly spectacular meltdown  they were banning people in the chat for asking about war crimes. (Our armed forces are streaming on Twitch because its a great place to recruit, in case you were wondering why branches of the military need Twitch channels.)

The clip feels unforgiving, even though it is just basic Twitch protocol to shout out your donations and follows. (Although one would generally hope the mods would ban anyone with that username on sight.) See, Twitch is a mostly inscrutable platform, and some of it is populated by the kinds of people who think a blatantly anti-Semitic username is hilarious.

Motherboard, for its part, got a statement about the whole thing from the Army. This was an unfortunate situation and goes against the Army values of fostering inclusiveness and diversity. We are working with our volunteers on the [Army National Guard] Twitch Page to educate them on screen names that may have racial or negative sentiment behind them, Lieutenant Colonel Jamie Alan Davis of the Army National Guard told Motherboard. Davis also said streamers would no longer announce those types of screen names while theyre streaming.

Although this isnt the first brush our armed and streaming forces have had with edgelord humor on Twitch. A couple days ago, Personnel Specialist Brandon Chandler was streaming the recently popular hidden role game Among Us on the US Navy esports teams channel with some of his close friends  with usernames like Japan 1945, Nagasaki, and Gamer Word. Two are references to the atomic devastation of Japan at the end of World War II, and one is a reference to the popular YouTuber Felix PewDiePie Kjellberg calling an enemy player in PUBG a fucking n***er. (Its a meme now!)

Anyway, in the grand scheme of things, this is pretty small potatoes: the West Coast is on fire, QAnon is mainstream now, and the pandemic is getting worse in America even as other countries begin to return to normal  or at least it looks that way from my Instagram feed. All I know is its certainly something that Americas armed forces cant seem to figure out how to recruit teenagers to fight our endless wars abroad without shouting out an anti-Semitic Twitch user!

« Go back