Twitch Streamer Shamed After Breastfeeding on Camera: We 'Have a Long Way to Go in the Fight'

A Twitch streamer and mother of four is speaking out after the popular video platform took down a clip that showed her breastfeeding her daughter — “with no explanation.”

Heather Kent aired her grievances on Twitter on July 24 after sitting down for a livestream that day with her friend, where they discussed their respective modeling experiences and Kent casually breastfed her 11-month-old daughter, Margaux.

“Today I streamed while breastfeeding on @Twitch. This clip (which had over 20k views and would’ve helped tremendously with the #normalizebreastfeeding movement) was deleted by Twitch with no explanation,” she wrote on Twitter alongside an 11-second snippet from the video.

“We obviously have a long way to go in the fight to normalize breastfeeding,” Kent added.

In subsequent tweets, Kent pulled out excerpts from Twitch’s terms of service, which said the company “prohibited” any “suggestive content” like “nudity exposing or focusing on genitals, buttocks, or nipples, and attire intended to be sexually suggestive,” which breastfeeding doesn’t fall under.

“ToS takes context into consideration which is why @TominationTime can stream shirtless,” the Charleston, South Carolina-based influencer wrote, referring to another Twitch user, who has since advocated on Kent’s behalf on his own Twitter account.

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“Regardless, some rules are meant to be broken to move society forward. I believe this is the right thing to do. 🤱🏻,” Kent went on, noting that public breastfeeding is legal in every U.S. state and writing, “No one is forcing you to watch my stream. Don’t like it? Don’t watch!”

She also pointed out that an educational episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood that aired 35 years ago not only discussed breastfeeding but showed completely exposed nipples in doing so.

” ‘You violated ToS.’ ‘Breasts are sexual.’ ‘Think of the children.’ Where was the outrage when Twitch streamed the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood episode about breastfeeding ON THE FRONT PAGE?” Kent wrote.

“Just a little rant-y video about the HeatheredEffect situation,” YouTube user BrineDude captioned a video pointing out the alleged hypocrisy between the incidents. “Basically, if Fred Rogers could show breastfeeding to children on public television in 1984, and Twitch could stream that episode on their platform, Heather (and others) should be allowed stream the same sort of thing now.”

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In a conversation with Kotaku following the takedown — which also included accusations of Kent using her baby “as an excuse to flash tit” and unsolicited advice about moving the baby out of the frame or adjusting the camera — Kent admitted she “thought that [she] would get some creepy comments” but has “been shocked by the negative community reaction as a whole.”

“It seems like there’s a lot less people coming to my defense in terms of breastfeeding, and it’s been a little shocking and a little demoralizing and kind of sad,” she explained. “It’s actually put me in a corner where I feel like I actually need to take a stand for this, because clearly there’s a lot of minds that need to be changed or enlightened when it comes to breastfeeding, I think there’s still a lot of things that are misunderstood.”

According to Kotaku, some users suggested Kent take a break or use a nursing cover. But she replied that her daughter is “on and off the boob” over a long period of time — and babies tend to “rip the covers off” as they grow, making it more difficult for moms to use them consistently.

“When a man, which is predominantly the Twitch platform, sees the nipple, they don’t know how to feel because all they think of a woman’s body is as this sexual thing,” Kent went on. “They’re driving a lot of the Twitch culture. It’s like a woman’s body is sexual — it’s sexual, it’s sexual, it’s sexual.”

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Kent also chatted with BuzzFeed News about what happened, alleging that “a lot of people who don’t even have kids decided to chime in with their opinions about breastfeeding.”

But despite the backlash, she’s thankful for the support she has received from fellow-mom streamers and others, explaining, “I’ve had multiple people messaging me, thanking me for standing up for this. This is actually helping some people.”

As for the streaming service itself, Kent told BuzzFeed News, “I’m hoping that Twitch will update its terms of service or community guidelines, like Facebook and Instagram and other platforms, saying, ‘We’re okay with a woman who’s actively breastfeeding.’ “

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