Published on April 15th, 2013 | by Andy Astruc6
Twitch.tv gamer banned for allegedly faking a disability
A popular Twitch.tv streamer has faced accusations of fraud after he got up out of his wheelchair and walked on camera. That may be the most ridiculous non-fiction sentence I have ever written.
It appears to be accurate, nonetheless. Angel “zilianOP” Hamilton was a regular broadcaster on the streaming service who was known to be paralysed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair. On April 5th he was seen getting up from said chair and disappearing off camera. His girlfriend Breanna (or “Panthoria” on Twitch), who was frequently involved with streams, was heard exclaiming loudly before discussing mundane facts about their dog. A truncated clip of the incident can be seen below, all the way up to the point where the camera abruptly eats the keyboard.
Hamilton has been collecting donations via his Twitch account — as many users do — which is why this is a bit more than just some absurdist piece of internet theatre. Outraged viewers expressed their outrage via YouTube, reddit and other parts of the internet, feeling they had been scammed by the apparently faked disability. Diablowned was set up to document various conversations and video footage that details the event; although none of it is directly verifiable it does paint a fairly damning picture of Hamilton. The site claims Hamilton raised $20,000 through the channel, citing that the cash was used to purchase electrical items and a wheelchair, as well as thousands to help him move house.
Twitch has banned the accounts of Hamilton and his girlfriend for terms of service violations. A spokesman talking to Kotaku stated “The Twitch broadcaster, Zilianop, did indeed have his channel closed and his partnership contract terminated on the basis of fraud. Moving forward, we’ll be offering refunds to those who subscribed to his channel through Twitch. We have zero tolerance for this type of behavior and the character demonstrated in this situation is truly reprehensible.”
“His actions are a huge slap in the face to Twitch community members with real disabilities such as Aieron, and groups such as AbleGamers, who have helped spread a message of inclusiveness and positivity to not only the Twitch community, but gaming as a whole.”
While Hamilton’s Twitch page and videos are now inaccessible, his page did not explicitly state he was asking for donations because of his disability, only that he wanted people to “[d]onate a few bucks to keep streaming my full time job.” There does, however, seem to be ample anecdotal evidence that he was presenting himself as paralysed and that the disability was a major factor in convincing people to part with their cash. For their part, Twitch seem in no doubt that fraud has been committed. Rest assured we’ll keep you updated if this strange situation becomes stranger.