The disappearance of MethodJosh – No closure to this horrible story
It’s a familiar story – and one that takes place around the disappearance of MethodJosh, the formerly popular WoW streamer on Twitch. Why is MethodJosh banned? What happened to him and how did the story resolve itself.
It is a common tale – often abusers of whatever type are allowed to remain for far too long in the public spotlight. When everything is finally revealed and we ask for the punishment, they vanish from the spotlight and everyone pats themselves on the back and moves on to the next person.
It’s no secret that professional gaming, esports, and the streaming world are plagued by the occasional scandal. There are a few particularly common varieties – racism, sexism, and of course the odd bit of sexual harassment are what most often end the public careers of those in the gaming world. Of course we’re all glad that such people get their comeuppance, even if it’s usually far too late.
What happened to MethodJosh aka JoshPriest? The notorious streamer who ruined plenty of lives and livelihoods with his actions and then vanished from all platforms.
The story of MethodJosh
Summer 2020, a young woman named Alex came forward with a recount of her experience with the streamer. Despite her worries of being labelled a liar, she revealed the details of what had happened between the two all the way back in 2017. At that point in time, she was only 16 and their paths crossed on a Discord for World of Warcraft discipline priests.
At that point, he already had a reputation on said server for being ‘notorious’ and contacting women from the channel once he discovered their gender. He also apparently paid particular attention to the women on the server.
Of course, being a little sleazy is hardly a crime – the issue began when he started coming onto her. Even after being informed of her age, Josh continued to mention sexual topics and started asking for revealing pictures of her. Soon, all of their conversations (started by him) centered around sex exclusively. Like any teenager receiving attention from someone she admired, Alex was initially flattered, and hesitant to upset who she considered a celebrity. She wanted to keep his attention, despite his comments and actions getting more excessive. During a phone call Alex mentions how he made crass comments about breeding and milking, and how she was trembling during it.
“I realize now that Josh effectively groomed me and abused my naivety and depression for his own sexual satisfaction. This may sound extremely far-fetched as it was only through online contact. However, I struggle to see a point of view where encouraging sexual pictures and videos from a 16-year-old girl isn’t some form of abuse through lack of experience, knowledge, and self-worth,” Alex recalled.
She described her experiences with him as utterly disgusting and vile, and expressed further disgust that he represented popular esports organization Method. Of course, that wasn’t all – Since February 2019, several other women had come forward and accused him of various kinds of sexual misconduct, from illicit messages to unwelcome requests from the streamer. Subsequently, he was banned from Twitch, but not thrown out by Method.
At least, not yet.
Another victim of his, Caroline, said in an interview with Kotaku that she too was approached when she was a minor, and that MethodJosh had told her, girls around 15 and 16 were ‘the perfect age’. In her case, he pushed her for sex multiple times. She’s not the only one – other women also told stories of sexist jokes, Discord harassment, and more. Perhaps the most disgusting story was a supposed ‘joke’ of his about raping a drowning girl. Several other women were encouraged by others coming forward and shared their own story. One 14-year old girl even offered up screenshots of her conversations with him on Discord and Snapchat, in which he called her a whore, while a 13-year-old shared a now-deleted story in which he allegedly dropped some hard Rs and Ns as well as his general sexual harassment.
The final nail in the coffin however, came from Twitch streamer Poopernoodle, who at the time was more intimately and personally involved with Josh. Her own TwitLonger from June 2020, paints in dark detail the type of person MethodJosh is and how he abused and ultimately raped her. At this point, everything was out in the open, and even those that gave no credibility to the story initially were turning their heads.
The (lack of a ) reaction
When the victims directly approached the Method organization, the company completely failed any expectation for a reasonable response. They told the women that they needed to instead go submit a police report, and that they would take action after – and they explicitly told the victims not to take the issue to social media, where, and I quote: “Images can be doctored and recollections of the truth twisted”.
Esports is one of the few industries where such backwards incidents still happen with alarming regularity – but thankfully, that is changing too. In fact, it did when Alex came forward with her account. She explicitly called out Method for keeping him on their roster after everything he had been accused of (and his Twitch ban).
Late as though it was, Method’s GM apologized for not taking action for a year, before confirming that Josh was off the squad. “I can’t take back the pain and betrayal that the women who he abused felt when Method did nothing for a year. My focus now is working with our leadership team to develop policies that are unwavering, and without prejudice towards the perceived ‘value’ of a player,” Shanna Robert, the GM, wrote. Soon thereafter, most of the Method staff left the organization leaving only founder Scott McMillan alone in rebuilding his own organization from scratch.
It wasn’t just his victims that were disgusted with Method’s reaction though – WoW star Zach ‘Asmongold’ mentioned that apparently, Method’s investigation came back ‘inconclusive’. He also pointed out that Method allowed their own players to bring their kids to an event during the investigation into Josh’s allegations of sexually abusing children. He pretty much pointed out what everyone and their houseplants already knew – that Method should have acted much, much sooner.
Quiet end to MethodJosh
The fallout of it all was slow to come, and yet comprehensive – banned from Twitch and several Discord servers, and finally booted from Method, it wasn’t long before Josh disappeared entirely – his social media was deleted, and he ceased all public appearances.
The last we know is that the police could not put any tangible evidence to form a solid case on Josh, and he was simply allowed to disappear into the ether. Nobody got their justice and everyone moved on. While it is little comfort for his victims – some of which were as young as 14 and 13 – he at least finally saw some punishment for his actions, but it was utterly late and incompatible with the crimes he committed.
The Method organization has since rebuilt into an example of how MMORPG organizations should be run. Now doing full background checks and proactively tracking the activity of their staff in real time. Nobody wants a re-peat of what happened with MethodJosh, but plenty other organizations and various content creator agencies are yet to adopt to a more scrutinous approach to their partners.
It’s a scary prospect when abusers can just walk away and move on to something else without real punishment.