There are a lot of things that can get you booted from Twitch, the video streaming site where gamers broadcast the action live to fans.
Players have been banned from the Amazon-owned platform for falling asleep on camera, flashing their viewers, and exploiting technical bugs to mow down their digital opponents. One guy was tossed off for vomiting. The penalties often provoke outrage from streamers and their fans, who say Twitch’s rules are too complicated or the enforcement too arbitrary.
But now viewers and players—and even one Twitch executive—are criticizing the site over the leniency shown to one streamer accused of committing domestic violence during one of his streams.
Luke Munday, a 26-year-old Australian Fortnite streamer, horrified his viewers in December when he allegedly hit his pregnant girlfriend on camera after she told him to stop playing the shooting game. After prosecutors charged Munday with assault, Twitch viewers assumed he would be permanently barred from the site.
Instead, less than a month after the incident, Munday’s suspension has been lifted and he can stream his Fortnite games once again. In an unsettling twist, his newfound notoriety has driven thousands of new viewers to his channel—and Twitch and parent company Amazon take a cut each time he gets a donation from fans to support his game-playing.
Twitch and Munday and Munday’s attorney didn’t respond to requests for comment from The Daily Beast.
Munday, who goes by “MrDeadMoth” on Twitch, was a small-time streamer until the night of Dec. 9. That’s when his pregnant girlfriend, unhappy that he had missed dinner with his family, asked him to stop playing Fortnite and chatting with his Twitch fans.
Angered, Munday went off-screen, but kept the camera running. After Munday left the stream, a slapping sound could be heard on the video, while his girlfriend cried and their two children, both toddlers, were heard screaming.
Sydney’s Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions charged Munday the same day with common assault, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Munday was suspended from his job as a network engineer, and Twitch suspended his account within a day of his arrest. In a statement after his arrest, Munday called the incident a “one-off thing.”
But Munday’s absence from Twitch was short-lived. On Dec. 30, he returned to the platform to broadcast another game of Fortnite, earning more than 300,000 views. One of Munday’s children could be heard in the background of the stream as he played, while Munday banned viewers who mentioned his arrest from the chat.
Munday also received several donations and new subscribers during that stream, although it’s not clear how much he received in donations during the broadcast.
His return sparked outrage from some top video game streamers, including New Zealand’s “Hazz,” a member of the popular FaZe Clan gaming collective, who tweeted at Twitch: “how have you allowed this to happen bruh.”
Even a Twitch executive was baffled by the decision not to banish Munday. Marcus “DJWheat” Graham, an esports commentator who works as the director of Twitch’s in-house production unit, Twitch Studios, tweeted that he was worried about Munday’s continued presence.
“I’m a concerned community member just like you, and I will look into it,” Graham tweeted on Thursday.
Munday’s return is only the latest controversy for Twitch, which has struggled with gender issues and uneven enforcement of rules. Female Twitch streamers regularly complain about harassment from viewers, with women who play games on the site often dismissed as “Twitch thots,” a derogatory term.
Despite the bad publicity, Munday’s audience has only grown since his arrest. Since his last stream, Munday has gained more than 2,000 new Twitch followers.