YouTuber’s Lifetime ‘Fortnite’ Ban Raises Questions As to “Online Punishments”

Published on November 8, 2019

Jarvis is an entertainer and content creator who streams and makes YouTube videos for his fans…he doesn’t play professionally. He’s a 17-year-old individual who made a poor decision while creating content and even warns several times during the video to never use the aim-bot technology. He continues to reflect on the repercussions of his actions and the serious error in judgment. FaZe Clan continues to support Jarvis in all areas of his career and believes unequivocally that he is a well-intentioned young man and his actions though clearly wrong were not malicious in intent.”

The above statement came from eSports organization FaZe Clan, which YouTube content creator Jarvis Khattri was formerly associated with. Earlier this week, Khattri, 17, received a lifetime ban from Fortnite after releasing a video of him cheating in “Battle Royale” mode.

The video, uploaded by the 17-year-old YouTuber, demonstrated use of an “aim-bot,” or commonly referred to “auto-aim” or “trigger bots.” These are a type of computer hack or bot that is typically utilized in multiplayer first-person shooter games to provide varying levels of advanced target acquisition.

Is Khattri’s Ban Excessive?

For decades, the presence of online cheat programs have plagues the gaming space, but over the years, the mechanics of these programs have grown overwhelmingly sophisticated. One of the earliest uses of these hacks can be attributed to Nintendo 64’s Goldeneye, which I can tell you growing up with and spending many college weekends playing, was extremely frustrating. In other words, the “aim-bot” hack allowed Khattri to fire off quick headshots with pinpoint accuracy. The video has since been deleted but can still be viewed through third-party uploads.

The question surrounding Khattri’s lifetime ban was not the decision to ban him outright, but whether the “lifetime” aspect of his ban was excessive. Having viewed previous uploads of his, it was clear he was very well aware of the risks associated with utilizing cheats, as he repeatedly told viewers not to use aim-bots.

Last week, Khattri announced his ban to subscribers in an apology video—telling fans to start paying attention to the game’s rules so they don’t receive the same punishment.

I just wish I could have known how badly I was messing up, because I would never have ever thought of even making those kind of videos if I knew that this could have actually happened,” Khattri said before breaking down in tears.

Should a “Spectrum” of Offense Severity Be Implemented?

Most of the responses to Khattri’s video were unsympathetic, but some believed the lifetime ban to be excessive, especially given his role as a “content creator.”

If we were to place the level of offenses by content creators on a spectrum, this could be the start to a useful standard by which platforms can use to assess the severity of a content creator’s offense.

Renown YouTube content creator, Tyler Blevins, better known to his community as “NINJA,” shared his thoughts, expressing his belief that “Khattri should have been given a suspension of six months to a year by Epic because his career ostensibly depends on Fortnite.”

Sure, most of Khattri’s content revolves around this one game, but there must be other games a significant amount of his two million subscribers would be interested in, especially when he has the backing of the popular FaZe Clan brand. While third-party stat tracker Social Blade only has estimates of his earnings, his videos regularly get millions of views. The kid is probably gonna be fine.

The FaZe Clan Mansion

Khattri lives alongside his gamer teammates in a $14.8 million Hollywood Hills mansion, dubbed “FaZe House,” which includes 10 bedrooms, a private cinema, a swimming pool—and a stripper pole. Weird. Khattri, moved into the house earlier this year, after joining the FaZe clan in April. The mansion also has a private gym and an open living area where clan meetings are held every weekday morning. In other words, this is Khattri’s life.

Blevins reiterated his belief that content creators and the average gamer should be considered separate when it comes to punishments.

There’s a difference between a content creator who has millions of subscribers, hundreds of thousands of followers, that gets banned from what literally makes him money, and some kid who is just a piece of shit, has absolutely zero following, has zero money that comes from Fortnite. It’s different. The stakes are different.

YouTube and Logan Paul

He went on to compare the spectrum of punishments issued by Epic against Khattri and YouTube against Logan Paul.

Khattri’s lifetime ban from Epic and Logan Paul’s “slap on the wrist” from YouTube for filming a dead body in Japan were extremely different.

For those less supportive of Paul and his history of worldwide backlash, the question as to what it would take for YouTube to officially ban Paul remains. The former Disney-star turned YouTube creator, faced world-wide backlash after a series of odd uploads, including:

  • uploading a video on December 31 last year that featured the body of a man who had recently committed suicide;
  • hitting dead rats with a taser, and
  • giving his dead fish CPR, which he was called out by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

YouTube responded to each of these by removing any ads on his videos and the cancellation of his YouTube Red projects. But he was never banned.

Many believe his actions called for his immediate removal and banning from the platform, but YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said last year that the company wasn’t intending to take its disciplinary measures that far at that point.

He hasn’t done anything that would cause those three strikes,” Wojcicki said at last year’s Code Media conference. “We can’t just be pulling people off our platform. They need to violate a policy. We need to have consistent [rules].

YouTube, which operates on a “three-strike” system, will remove any account that violates three Community Guidelines strikes within a three-month period. However, if a creator receives two community strikes against their channels within three months, they won’t be able to post their content to their account for two weeks.

This also presents issues on whether the company “cherry-picks” whom it wishes to enforce penalties against (or at least the extent to which it enforces them).

Paul only received one community trike against his channel for the December video upload. However, as for his other strange uploads, the company doesn’t believe it to have hit the level of a community violation.

EPIC and Damion “XXIF” Cook

Damien Cook, also known in the Fortnite scene as “XXIF” caused quite the stir with his long-history of cheating. Back in May, Cook was disqualified from Week 3 of the Fortnite World Cup qualifiers after it was discovered that he was caught cheating by teaming up with other players during solo-play. He was banned for two-weeks, but still allowed to play and compete in the Fortnite Duos World Cup.

Videos revealed that XXIF’s friends were allowing him to actively kill them so as to allow him to advance to a higher position quicker. This behavior allowed XXIF to finish in 3rd place and earn his place in the World Cup.

Of course, the Fortnite community wasn’t too happy with EPIC’s decision to allow Cook to continue competing. It went so far as booing Cook and his partner Ronald “Ronaldo” Mach when they appeared on the screen, with the crowd erupting in cheer as they were eventually eliminated.

Many believe Epic’s decision to ban Cook for two-weeks as “too light” of a punishment and only damages the reputation of Fortnite’s competitive nature.

Back to NINJA’s response to Khattri’s lifetime ban, there is clearly room for supporting the creator’s belief that maybe a spectrum should be created based on the class of the content creator and the severity of their offense.

Fortnite is a huge part of [Khattri’s] life and I just don’t’ see the punishment fitting of the crime,” said FaZE Clan co-owner Richard “Banks” Bengston.

FaZe Clan is deeply saddened by the devastating impact this had had on Jarvis’s life,” Bengston concluded. “But we remain hopeful and stand ready to work with Epic Games in any way possible to come up with opportunity that allows Jarvis to play again at some point in his life. Given Jarvis’s young age and his all-consuming passion and love for Fortnite, we believe a fair compromise can be reached.

Andrew "Drew" Rossow is a former contract editor at Grit Daily.

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