AOC doubles down on removing military recruitment from Twitch - Dexerto

AOC doubles down on removing military recruitment from Twitch

Published: 30/Jul/2020 23:02 Updated: 31/Jul/2020 9:09

by Theo Salaun


After earlier condemnations of the US military’s recruitment practices on Twitch, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has reiterated her opposition with an amendment to a federal defense spending bill that was passed by voice vote. 

The H.R. 7617 Department of Defense Appropriations Act dictates US military spending for 2021 and Ocasio-Cortez has produced an amendment, No. 49, to ensure that said budget does not contribute to recruitment on Twitch and similar platforms. This amendment, which is in line with the Marine Corps official position on recruitment and more general protections of the 1st amendment and underage recruitment guidelines, was passed via voice vote but will be officially tallied once the House reconvenes. [Update: AOC’s amendment was shot down 292-126.]

AOC’s original response was elicited by the surfacing of the US Army Esports channel’s presence on Twitch with questionable practices of recruiting underage gamers and simultaneously bans of anyone who asked about war crimes. While the former bypasses recruitment guidelines and the latter contradicts the right to free speech, AOC’s newest point of emphasis ties into the Marine Corps’ ideological position on gaming.

While Army Esports went from generating 3,500 recruitment leads in 2019 to over 13,000 so far in 2020, the Marine Corps, despite having the youngest force of all branches, has proclaimed that it is ideologically opposed to recruitment via gaming: “The brand and issues associated with combat are too serious to be ‘gamified’ in a responsible manner.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s amendment, despite being approved by voice vote on the floor, is not unanimous and its “yeas and nays” were ordered (designating the need for an official vote) by Congressman Ken Calvert, who also ceded some of his time to the bill’s original author, Congressman Peter Visclovsky, for response against AOC.

In his rebuttal, Visclovsky agreed that he does “find recent media reports on the army esports team and the banning of commentators concerning” and that oversight is needed to ensure that the military’s Twitch channels, which have been set for 18-year-old audiences and older since August 2019, do not bypass age restrictions. 

He also noted that “Army Esports has taken a pause on streaming and is reviewing its internal policies and procedures” and that “we on the committee certainly look forward to seeing the results of that review.”

While many had noted the Army Esports channel’s streaming pause, it was not known until now that it coincides with an internal review process. Chief among the practices deserving review are the usage of nebulous prized contests that seem to simply lead to recruitment information sign-ups for kids as young as 13 and the banning of Twitch users who ask controversial questions about the American military’s history.

Congressmen and women, like California’s Ro Khanna, have been adamant in their support of AOC’s amendment following her exposure of an issue gamers brought to light. Khanna, specifically, reiterated the Marine Corps’ insistence that gaming is an uncomfortable foundation upon which to ground recruitment efforts, as the fun of shooting games and their impressionable, young audiences blend together in a way that detracts from the gravity of warfare.

As AOC expanded upon in her own speech, “we should restrain and restrict ourselves from explicit recruitment tactics … on platforms that children are using to play games from Animal Crossing to Call of Duty.”

Twitch embodies the rise of emerging technology and the vote on AOC’s amendment demonstrates welcomed attentiveness to a concerned, growing gaming community.


TikTok star Zoe Laverne under fire for allegedly kissing underage fan

Published: 28/Oct/2020 1:28

by Alan Bernal


TikTok star Zoe LaVerne is facing massive backlash after multiple videos surfaced of her allegedly kissing an underage fan. This comes days after leaked Instagram conversations from her ex-boyfriend Cody Orlove and Amber VanPelt raised concerns of “very intense” interactions with an underage influencer.

A video on the ‘Def Noodles’ account featured a short clip showing the two. It was apparently only a short form of a much longer video showing more instances of the same behavior.

According to Def Noodles, LaVerne previously denied allegations of having a relationship with an underage person. This was in direct response to the allegations brought by Orlove’s hacked messages.

The video comes at a sensitive time for LaVerne, who was already getting heat for Orlove’s Instagram messages with VanPelt.

Zoe LaVerne Instagram
Zoe LaVerne once again removed herself from Instagram after the latest allegations.

In them, Orlove’s leaked exchange shows that he “left (LaVerne) because of her interactions with Connor. They got very intense and it’s something I do not stand by whatsoever. It’s p**dophillia.”

Another message, this time from Orlove to LaVerne, shows he cut communication from her. “My lawyers will handle the rest,” he said in reference to the “toxic” breakup between the two TikTok personalities.

LaVerne, who deleted her Instagram in mid-September in response to a separate lip-syncing debacle, once again removed herself from the Facebook-owned social platform.

In a private fandom account known to be run by LaVerne, she gave a message to her fans for her renewed hiatus from Instagram after the videos came out.

zlpfandom0.2 Instagram
An Instagram message from a fan-account known to be run by LaVerne.

“Thank you for everything, really,” the account called ‘zlpfandom0.2’ wrote. “But for right now I don’t think I’ll be back on soial media again. I (still) have a lot to think about. I reall don’t wanna leave you guys but I’m tired of feeling this way. I’m tired of crying and hurting. It’s nothing but negativity to me anymore. I love you so much.”

LaVerne has over 17 million followers on TikTok and nearly 450,000 subscribers on YouTube. She’s been featured in TikToks and videos with other online celebrities ranging from Terin Sottile and ex-boyfriend Zephan Clark.

If the move offline is permanent, it’s not known if LaVerne will publicly respond to the latest videos that are surfacing.