Twitch will no longer allow streamers and commenters to go around calling one another “simps.” The term — a recent favorite in the Twitch community that nominally refers to men who seem desperate for a woman’s attention — will be banned when used as an insult under Twitch’s upcoming revamp of its harassment policy. “Incel” and “virgin” will be banned as insults, too, Twitch COO Sara Clemens said during a live-streamed town hall this afternoon.
The new policy, first spotted by esports consultant Rod Breslau, will go into effect on January 22nd. It also includes stricter rules around sexual harassment and seems to give Twitch more leeway to ban streamers and commenters who make offensive comments.
The policy overhaul comes after Twitch was inundated with reports of sexual harassment within its community and complaints that the company had ignored the issue for years. Twitch said in June that it was “committed to continuing our efforts to make Twitch a safer environment” and that a review of its hateful conduct and harassment policies was underway.
“Simp” is being banned under a portion of the revamped policy that prohibits derogatory statements about another person’s perceived sexual preferences. “And that does include negatively targeting another person with sexually focused terms,” Clemens said. Twitch is also “proactively denying” emotes that include all three of these terms as well.
The words “simp,” “incel,” and “virgin” will not be banned in all situations. Twitch will only take action when they’re used for harassment — but, typically, that’s how these terms come up on Twitch.
“We will take action against the use of terms like ‘simp,’ ‘incel’ or ‘virgin’ specifically when they are being used to negatively refer to another person’s sexual practices. Using these terms on their own wouldn’t lead to an enforcement but we would take action if they were used repeatedly in a harassing manner,” a Twitch spokesperson told The Verge.
Twitch’s updated harassment policy lists a number of banned behaviors relating to sexual harassment. Among them is a ban on “making derogatory statements about another person’s perceived sexual practices or sexual morality.” The policy goes on to say that would include “repeatedly negatively targeting another person with sexually-focused terms, such as ‘whore’ or ‘virgin.’”
There aren’t details on exactly how Twitch will enforce the ban around “simp.” But moderators may find it to be tricky given just how often the term is thrown around on Twitch. The Verge has reached out to Twitch for more details.
Update December 16th, 5:40PM ET: This story has been updated with a statement from Twitch.