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Kick streamer Ice Poseidon, whose legal name is Paul Denino, is facing backlash from viewers after he reportedly paid a stranger $500 to hire an alleged escort and interact with the escort on a Sept. 21 livestream. Denino is known for playing Old School RuneScape, as well as for his “life streams,” a term a since-deleted Rolling Stone profile described as being a blend of “improv, reality TV and situational comedy” but is really just Denino livestreaming everyday activities and jokes with his friends.
Allegedly, cameras were set up in a hotel room where an unnamed man would invite the alleged escort to meet him. In Brisbane, Australia, where Denino was streaming from, sex work is not illegal under certain conditions.
Denino claimed in a post that everyone involved knew about the cameras and that they were being filmed. In another post, he shared footage of him allegedly talking on the phone with the woman and confirming with her that she was OK with being filmed.
Viewers were also angry about the man appearing to block the woman from exiting the room. One of Denino’s clips included a scene from after the woman left, in which Denino and fellow streamer Sam Pepper told the unnamed man he “definitely cannot hold the door.”
“You have to let her go,” Denino said. “You should not hold the door shut. I was about to fly out.”
This revealed that Denino and Pepper had been in another room while the woman and unnamed man were meeting on camera, although it is not clear whether the woman was aware they were there.
Later on Sept. 21, Denino allegedly got “swatted,” a term describing a harassment technique commonly used within the gaming community that entails someone calling 911 against someone under false pretenses. Denino claimed that, despite reports suggesting he had been arrested for livestreaming and hiring an escort, he was actually the target of swatting.
Denino has been a prominent member of the online gaming community since he first joined Twitch, a video game streaming platform, in 2015. Denino was banned from the platform multiple times, concluding with his permanent ban in 2017 when he was swatted on a plane in Phoenix after an alleged viewer called in a hoax bomb threat to the airport in Denino’s name.
Pepper is no stranger to controversy himself and faced backlash in 2014 for filming a “prank video” that featured him groping women in public with a fake hand. A week later, multiple women came forward to accuse Pepper of inappropriate behavior and harassment, including two women who claimed he raped them in 2013 and 2014. Pepper started collaborating with Denino in 2018 after deleting all of his YouTube videos and tweets.
After a few years on YouTube and the now-defunct Microsoft streaming platform, Mixer, Denino joined Kick in May. Kick, which advertises itself as “less strict” than Twitch, has been in the spotlight recently for signing huge contracts with some of Twitch’s biggest streamers, including xQc and Amouranth. The platform also boasts the controversial streamer Adin Ross, who made headlines on Sept. 20 for pretending to interview North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“Not saying other platforms are perfect because we know full well they’re not, but at some point you really have to draw the line to what you can accept as a human being,” FNATIC Stallion wrote. “The fact that there is no [terms of service] to stop this behaviour & to see it funded and supported by management is sickening to me.”
This is not okay.
Personally, I have had nothing but positive experiences on @KickStreaming. The past couple months have been amazing and I’ve met some of the most incredible streamers who inspire me.
But I do not stand by this kind of content and watching this made me feel so… https://t.co/Nn1PLVecNU
— MsSavage (@MsSavageAF) September 23, 2023
On Sept. 24, Kick’s official X (formerly known as Twitter) account publicly addressed the backlash.
There's incredible untapped potential in what live streaming has to offer. We're firm believers that the greatest days of live streaming are yet to come.
With that said, community & public safety cannot be compromised in the process of making "content".
— Kick.com (@KickStreaming) September 24, 2023
But fans felt the post was insufficient, especially as one X user shared a screenshot that showed a Kick viewer with the username “Eddie” reacting to Denino’s livestream. The X user alleged that the account belonged to Kick CEO Eddie Craven. Craven’s Kick account username is “Eddie,” but Craven has not publicly commented on Denino’s stream as of the time of publication. In The Know by Yahoo reached out to Craven for comment and has not heard back at the time of publication.
Craven was also involved with Ross’s fake Kim Jong Un interview, which broke records for the platform. In early September, during a livestream between Craven and Ross, Craven said Ross streaming from North Korea “could happen.”
The same X user also shared a clip from a Sept. 24 stream featuring Denino and Pepper the user said rendered Kick’s public statement “useless.” In it, Denino, who was talking on the phone, said, “I’ve made a severe lapse in judgment and, you know, I really want to apologize for everything that I have ever done in life.”
Denino then pledged “$1 million” to veterans and “people that need help in this society” — “especially people on Twitter who complain about nothing.”
“Psych!” he concluded. “F*** Twitter. … F*** everybody who gets mad about bulls***.”
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