The internet, instead of finding new ways to elevate voices that aren’t white and/or already wealthy, continued to find ways to make women feel unwelcome in digital spaces in 2023.
In January, popular Twitch streamer Brandon “Atrioc” Ewing accidentally revealed that he was viewing deepfake porn during a livestream. The site he was visiting had a similar format to OnlyFans: different content creators could create their own pages and require visitors to pay a subscription fee to view their content. Ewing wasn’t just viewing deepfake porn (which edits people’s faces onto existing pornographic content), but deepfake porn of his female peers—some of whom he is friends with in real life.
After accidentally telling on himself, Ewing issued a tearful apology and left the streaming service until March, when he popped back up to assure people he was working hard to combat the porn he himself appeared to be, at least that one time, watching. “A week after the event, the first thing I did was wire Morrison Rothman [an LA-based law firm] about $60,000 to cover any woman on Twitch who wanted to use their legal services for DMCA takedowns or reputation management,” he said during the stream. Kotaku confirmed with the firm that Ewing had indeed sent the retainer.
But Ewing’s efforts could not entirely erase the aftermath of such a horrible violation, or negate the fact that women on the internet face a different level of scrutiny, hatred, and harassment than men.
Ewing’s actions also served as a reminder that sometimes the call is coming from inside the house, and it’s the men you know who are the scummiest of them all. Ewing is back to regularly posting and streaming because cancel culture is a myth and everything sucks. — Alyssa Mercante, senior editor