The internet, a bustling and ever-evolving world, moves at such a rapid pace that laws struggle to keep up with its constant changes. One of the most chilling developments in this digital realm is the rise of deepfakes—manipulated videos that make it appear as though real individuals are engaging in explicit and often degrading acts. This disturbing trend has sparked debates about the need for stricter regulations. But for Twitch star Pokimane, who fell victim to this insidious practice, her response is simple and unequivocal. In this article, we will look at the Pokimane Deepfakes controversy and how she responded to it.
Who is Pokimane?
A social media star, Pokimane streams and reviews video games on Twitch and YouTube, mainly League of Legends and Fortnite. She grew up in Canada after moving from Morocco at the age of four. She has the most followers among female streamers on Twitch and helped start OfflineTV, a group of online entertainers and content makers. She left the group on May 19, 2023. She also runs a personal channel and another channel where she uploads vlogs, ASMR, and other kinds of videos.
Who is Atrioc?
Atrioc is a popular online personality who streams and makes videos on Twitch and YouTube. He is known for his commentary on video games, especially Hitman, and his marketing analysis. He is also a co-founder of Offbrand, an online entertainment company. He was recently involved in a controversy where he was caught on a website that had deepfake pornography of other streamers. He apologized and stepped down from his role at Offbrand to fight against deep-fake pornography.
How the Pokimane Deepfakes Controversy Unfolded
During a livestream, popular Twitch streamer Atrioc (real name: Brandon Ewing) inadvertently revealed his involvement in viewing deepfake pornography. After ending his game and allowing viewers to see the tabs on his screen, one of them showed a website featuring deepfakes of well-known female streamers, including Pokimane and Maya Higa. Despite quickly switching tabs, screenshots were taken and shared online.
Following the incident, Atrioc issued a tearful apology and claimed that this was not habitual behavior. He explained that he stumbled upon the site while exploring artificial intelligence at 2 a.m. one day and was charged $15 per month for access. The fact that Atrioc is friends with some of the women who appear on the website, some of whom have already responded to the situation, makes this even more unsettling.
Ewing confessed on his Monday stream, with tears in his eyes, that he had accessed a website with deepfake porn of female streamers after clicking an ad on Pornhub. He said he paid to see the images of the streamers and that he was motivated by “morbid curiosity”. He also said that watching non-consensual porn was not something he did regularly. His wife, cosplayer Arianna Ewing, was crying in the background of the stream.
The deepfake creator’s page on the website that Ewing used has been cleared of deepfakes and now has a long apology to the streamers, calling the non-consensual fake sex tapes “immoral”. How Pokimane Responded to the Deepfakes Controversy Pokimane, a popular Twitch streamer, has weighed in on the deepfake controversy with a clear and direct response, and she gave a clear message that people refrain from sexualizing others without their consent.
Why is the Pokimane Deepfakes Controversy Important?
The issue of deepfake is important because it violates the dignity and consent of female streamers, who are already facing a lot of sexual harassment in the streaming community. These deepfake videos show them in sexual situations that they never agreed to, and they have little legal recourse to stop them.
Some of the victims, such as QTCinderella and SweetAnita, have spoken out about how these deepfake videos have hurt them and their mental health. QTCinderella said she would sue the website owner, while SweetAnita found out about her fake video in a tweet.
There is ambiguity surrounding the legal implications of personal invasion through deepfakes, but progress has been made in certain states. While there are existing laws against non-consensual sexual material, only California, Virginia, and Texas have specifically addressed deepfakes. However, due to the nature of the internet, obtaining any form of restitution for victims can be exceedingly challenging.