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Twitch ban ends for top esports pro after using homophobic slur

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive pro Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev calls Twitch “a joke” in response to his one week suspension from the streaming platform.

ESL Intel Extreme Masters 2019
Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev
Photo by Norbert Barczyk/PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images

One of the best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive esports players in the world, Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, became the latest in a long line of esports athletes to receive punishment for homophobic comments. Specifically a one week ban from the popular streaming platform Twitch, which has now concluded.

According to esports journalist and consultant Rod Breslau, the Ukranian-born S1mple, who competes professionally for Natus Vincere, received the suspension last week after using a Russian homophobic slur during a FACEIT Pro League stream last month with Russian teammate Kirill “Boombl4” Mikhailov.

S1mple appeared unfazed by Twitch’s decision, mocking the ban as an in-game achievement he completed. He went on to call Twitch “a joke.”

S1mple might think Twitch is a joke, but that doesn’t make him exempt from the company’s terms of service, which he clearly violated by using harassing and defamatory language.

This isn’t the first time S1mple has run afoul of gaming authorities. He was banned from ESL competition from 2013 to 2016 for in-competition cheating and using a different account to circumvent the ban. He was also jettisoned from prominent CS:GO team HellRaisers in 2015 due in part to both his ESL ban and his derogatory comments about Germans.

What’s more troubling is the growing trend of Russian and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) streamers receiving Twitch suspensions for similar hate speech. According to Breslau, Twitch has handed out suspensions to a large number of streamers from those nations in 2019, keeping them off the platform for differing periods of time. The bans have extended to 30 day periods in some cases.

“Those Russian streamers deserved their suspensions and s1mple does too, for both what was said and for Twitch to keep consistent in streamers suspended from NA/EU for the same offense,” wrote Breslau.

S1mple has not faced further punishment from either Natus Vincere or the various CS:GO competitions in which he competes. His ban expired just before The Starladder Berlin Major, one of the largest events on the CS:GO calendar, gets underway in Berlin, Germany on August 23.