It Was Business as Usual at TwitchCon Paris as Protests Raged Throughout the City

BigBartimäus/Wikimedia & Twitch | Remixed by Drew Grant

Over the weekend, Twitch streamers and thousands of their adoring fans gathered in the city of lights to attend TwitchCon Paris at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles. The annual event that’s been running worldwide since 2015 and in Europe since 2019 offered meet and greets, panels, and esports events to keep diehard fans entertained. 

But in the days leading up to the event, it wasn’t clear if it was even going to happen. For the past two weeks, Paris has been engulfed in a series of riots and protests in response to the June 27 fatal shooting of 17-year-old Nahel M at a traffic stop by police. Ironically, the United States currently has a travel advisory against going to Paris due to “terrorism” and “civil unrest.” Just a week before the event, people online questioned whether it was going to happen at all. 

“At this time there is no anticipated impact to TwitchCon Paris,” a July 1 post from Twitch on Twitter said. “The venue is not near the epicenter of the protests or any of the areas that have seen protest activity and have continued to operate business as usual.” But TwitchCon Paris marched on like the city wasn’t burning around them. There’s a brand to uphold! 

A Usual TwitchCon

Streamers from all over the world gathered with glee, hugging fans, and of course, collecting free swag. It went on with little violence or controversy, and like VidCon, Minecraft streamers had the biggest crowds, with a panel featuring Ranboo having one of the largest turnouts.

At the opening ceremony, Twitch announced a suite of new tools for creators. A more advanced clip editor is on the way that will allow you to trim videos, use it on mobile, and share your vertical clips directly to TikTok. Twitch stories, a new TikTok-like experience is coming to the app in October, where you’ll be able to endlessly scroll through clips, text updates, and polls. These stories can be shared directly with just your subscribers or followers. 

Streamers will also soon be able to share mod comments with other streamers, post new types of alerts, a countdown timer that will tell streamers when an ad is coming in chat, and an update to Guest Stars that lets five streamers join. 

Paris Is Burning 

The environment was much less pleasant outside the con’s walls. There were a few instances of violence caught around the city by IRL streamers not necessarily related to the unrest but rather the chaos of having a bunch of people pointing cameras at themselves (and strangers who don’t want to be videotaped). Over the weekend, a German streamer was verbally attacked while bodybuilder Knut had a knife pulled on him. BreakJStream claims he was assaulted, adding on his Instagram story that some people started yelling at him and then someone “punched me several times on the shoulder and then tried to take my streaming gear.”

Other streamers ended up getting hurt from less nefarious causes. In a golf cart accident, Streamer HasanAbi suffered a rib injury and Ranboo suffered a leg injury. TwitchCon has dealt with its fair share of streamer injuries in the past. At TwitchCon San Diego in 2022, streamer Adriana Chechik broke her back in two places after jumping into a shallow foam pit at the Lenovo booth.

The upheaval of the streets didn’t make its way onto the purple padded panels or through the convention halls but was completely impossible to avoid. When Twitch chose Paris and then let the convention continue in spite of serious protests, they sent a strong message to streamers and viewers. Even in the face of civil unrest and a collapsing police state, there’s no time for bad PR and the community needs to hold hands together. Ignore the dead teenager and screaming protestors, you’ve got a hundred Polaroid pictures to take with tired fans. 

Twitch’s parent company, Amazon, is no stranger to ignoring carrying on like in the face of unrest. It stifles attempts at workers to unionize and force strict working hours that sometimes end up with drivers peeing in bottles to avoid bathroom breaks. The fact that their streaming site had its convention in a city in such a tumultuous state continues their tone-deaf approach to caring about creators.  

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