It’s an absolute fact that some people can be absolutely mean online, whether it’s passing along an insult to someone, calling them an unwarranted name, or engaging in all-out cyber-bullying – a practice we’re not particularly fond of.
A disabled Twitch streamer named Adam “Loop” Bahriz experienced this firsthand. Even though he’s legally blind and deaf, he’s still about to take part in his favorite game, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, pretty often with online sessions. He’s been streaming for the past couple of years pretty steadily, while at the same time attending school.
During a session Monday where he was first entering the match, Bahriz, as he normally does, notified his teammates that he has a genetic condition that, with the removal of his teeth, causes him to sound different. (It’s from a disease known as HSAN, which affects the nervous system and can cost you certain things, like vision and hearing.)
“HSAN does not mean you are born blind, or half deaf, or whatever, there are some people with this condition that have normal vision but an injured foot. Perfect speech but improper vision,” Bahriz said while chatting with Kotaku via email. “HSAN makes a person more prone to injuries because they don’t feel pain and are unable to be treated for injuries right away, which allows the injury to get worse.”
Most of the time, “in more than 80% of cases, this is not an issue at all. Responses to this ... are generally positive."
But his teammates on Monday were less than cordial, not only telling him “not even to try it,” but also forcing him to use his mic during the match. As a result, he was unfairly kicked out. “I was honestly caught off guard by the way my team reacted,” Bahriz said. “I was shocked and sad at the same time … did they all have a bad day?”
Bahriz is actually quite a skilled player (check out the video below for proof), and didn’t really deserve this cyber-bullying. Fortunately, there are those that decided to make his day after this happened. A user on Reddit gathered CS:GO players and told them what happened, and what followed was a good moment of generosity – donations of money that went into the hundreds of dollars.
“At this very moment my mom is making a phone call to the only clinic in Southern California that does the eye surgery that I need, telling them that she will be able to pay out of pocket (because of stream donations),” he said. “Honestly all these donations have given me, a 17 year old, a level of financial security that I cannot even begin to fathom.”
He’s since become partnered with Twitch, and hopes to use the money for a summer trip to Algeria. He also talked about other handicapped gamers in the industry who go through similar hassles. “You think I’m the only one who manages to play this game semi-decently with a handicap? Look at Handi, dude has no arms and still destroys people.”
“It really shouldn’t be that difficult to distinguish a troll from an actual disabled person. Had the players that kicked me looked at my profile for one second they would’ve easily seen that I’ve been a member of ESEA for far longer than them and have much higher karma,” he added. “So just try to be more respectful and considerate of the people you play with. I understand that trolling and bad stuff happen in CS:GO but there is a line that cannot be crossed, and people need to learn to recognize where that line is.”
The video below showcases Bahriz’s skill – and you can follow his Twitch channel here.