When Twitch’s top female streamer announced on Jan. 30 that she wasn’t renewing her contract with the platform, viewers took notice. Imane Anys, better known by her username Pokimane, said it was the “end of an era” after spending a decade on Twitch and amassing 9.3 million followers. On average, she would stream at least six times a week for multiple hours at a time.
Anys, who has been streaming online since 2012, said she’ll be taking her talents to YouTube, TikTok and Instagram. She did not say she signed a contract with any other network but said in an episode of her podcast, Don’t Tell Anyone with Pokimane, that she wanted to “be able to partake in different platforms and things either as I see fit or as I find excitement in doing it.” With Twitch’s simulcasting policy, Anys will be able to also stream from YouTube or TikTok to Twitch as well. All monetized streamers have contracts with Twitch.
Close followers of Anys’s were not surprised by the announcement. In September 2022, after a social media hiatus, Anys told viewers she felt Twitch was becoming “creatively unfulfilling.” She’s not the only high-profile streamer to take a break. So far in 2024, several major streamers and YouTubers have announced they’re stepping back from the platforms that made them famous, a lot of them citing burnout as the reason why.
In the Feb. 4 episode of her podcast, Anys explained that her decision came after feeling that the platform had changed drastically over the last 10 years.
“I feel like it has regressed a lot,” she said in her podcast. “I think that’s the biggest reason why I have a hard time wanting to devote all of my time and all of my energy to just streaming.”
Anys elaborated that part of this “regression” is from her experience dealing with “manosphere” and “red-pilled” commenters who, she alleged, were getting encouragement to behave that way from other big streamers. The terms “manosphere” and “red-pilled” stem from an online community founded on Reddit that believes men are oppressed by society, not women, and that both genders should stick to their traditionally assigned gender roles.
Anys claimed she was getting comments that aligned with the ideology during her streams, and alleged that she knew of big-name streamers who encouraged that behavior. She did not name specific examples. Anys did not respond to a request for comment from Yahoo News.
Her reasoning sparked pushback from some Twitch creators — one of them, Asmongold, seemed to believe that YouTube was where “the red pill stuff is primarily.”
Over the last few years, many female streamers have come forward to talk about how hard it is to build an audience on Twitch. Trolls, usually anonymous commenters who intentionally try to upset others online, gravitated toward Twitch because, as Vice put it in 2021, “they can pretty much watch the impact of their insults in real-time.”
This reasoning is also why Anys said she will not be taking her talents to Kick, a live-streaming competitor to Twitch that has dealt with similar controversies.
While Twitch seems supportive of Anys’s future plans, her most recent comments about the company have fans eager to hear what else she might have to say about her experience. In one clip that’s been circulating on X, Anys said that there was “something bats*** crazy that happened with a Twitch employee” that may have contributed to her not renewing her contract. While fans seem to be waiting to find out more details, Anys did not confirm whether she would be divulging more of the story anytime soon.