As Twitch grows in popularity, so do the streamers who broadcast their own content. Amouranth, HasanAbi, and Ludwig, for example, continue to attract mainstream media attention and coverage, which would have been unthinkable a decade ago. However, much of the coverage of Twitch has been unfavorable, and Internet stardom has proven to be destructive to both producers and fans in many cases. CallMeCarson, a Twitch streamer whose grooming problem has been the subject of continuous discussion, is a prime example of this.
Carson King, also known as CallMeCarson, is a 22-year-old Indiana-based content developer. He joined YouTube in 2011 and started uploading videos before launching his primary account on May 10, 2012.
His YouTube channel had over three million subscribers at its peak, but he’s only recently attracted public attention following charges that he groomed young viewers. As Carson returns to streaming and makes plans for the future year, many people are reconsidering the turmoil that has surrounded him.
What Made CallMeCarson Popular
Around the end of 2019, CallMeCarson’s popularity skyrocketed. The internet began to propagate a photograph of Carson crying (taken from a Minecraft feed in June). Users proceeded to reupload the image with alternative titles when Joe Swanson from the TV show Family Guy was patched into the image.
Carson’s channel only proceeded to grow once he and other broadcasters like jschlatt and Ted Nivison launched the now-defunct Lunch Club in January 2020, building on this success. A podcast, live streams, and a few YouTube vlogs and challenges were all produced by the group. However, Lunch Club was eventually terminated in November 2020, claiming COVID-19 as the reason.
CallMeCarson’s Grooming Allegations
Hugbox and Traves of the Lunch Club reported on January 4, 2021, that the group had disintegrated after Carson disclosed to them that he had exchanged sexual images with underage admirers. Later that day, Twitter user miniborb (whose account has since been deactivated) detailed her interactions with Carson and shared images of their Discord chats.
Carson’s acts were later condemned by other contributors such as Slimecicle, CScoop, jschlatt, and Ted Nivison. CallMeCarson has sparked heated debate, with some claiming that the two-to-three-year age gap between Carson and the recipients of his messages absolves him of any wrongdoing. Others have responded by claiming Carson exploited the children he messaged by leveraging his status as a YouTuber and abusing a power dynamic.
CallMeCarson’s Return to Streaming
give me a little bit longer 👍
— Bread (@CallMeCarsonYT) June 20, 2021
Carson ceased posting on his social media channels once word of his conduct spread. During this time (January 2021 to August 2021), Carson’s lone communication was a single Tweet on June 19 that said, “Give me a little bit longer.”
Then, on August 25, Carson posted a video to his YouTube account in which he declared that he would donate all of his Twitch proceeds to various charities for the following year.
CallMeCarson responded to potential critiques of this move by stating that the “Year of Charity” was not “an excuse to sweep problems under the rug.” “I’m doing this to transform a poor circumstance with a lot of eyes on it into something positive that will help a lot of people,” he continued.
Carson resumed streaming on September 1st. The majority of the users in his chat room expressed support for Carson, with the rare mention of this year’s events. Over the last decade, the gap between content providers and their audiences has narrowed dramatically.
This has huge ramifications, and situations like this necessitate a level of complexity that is impossible to achieve on the internet. If things are to change, so must the interactions between content creators and their audiences.