Trans-streamers say Sorrenti’s activism matters
As Sorrenti and Murray explored the convention center, they met other streamers who had supported Sorrenti during the Kiwi Farms campaign.
Gwen “Schmoople” Montgomery, a streamer who describes her platform as an “LGBTQ+ safe space,” befriended Sorrenti through Twitch and first met her in person at the convention. She appeared on Sorrenti’s stream when they ran into each other at the convention’s market known as Artist Alley.
“It was really tough,” Montgomery said when he saw what Sorrenti had been through in recent months. “I couldn’t imagine a stronger person to go through it… And I’m so proud of her for being able to do that.”
Murray compares Sorrenti’s campaign against Kiwi Farms to her previous experience working in international human rights law. Sorrenti’s team spent weeks gathering evidence, filing “everything as soon as it was posted” and documenting the threats “in a way that a court would accept”.
“It was interesting to see the front of my apartment building on 4chan,” Murray added.
Other wins followed Cloudflare dropping Kiwi Farms. The internet archive site Wayback Machine has removed Kiwi Farms from its records and Google has removed it from its search results. the security service hCaptcha also dropped the site. After Cloudflare shut down, Kiwi Farms moved to Russian servers, where it was quickly closed again when the web hosting provider DDos Guard also discontinued services.
“There’s a chilling effect on these kinds of sites…If they ever get too cocky, people will start talking about it,” Sorrenti said. “And we now know that service providers don’t want to host these kinds of sites. It’s terrible publicity for them to keep up.”
I don’t feel like I’m that big of a streamer… but when it comes to trans-streamers, I’m one of the biggest.”
-clara sorrenti, known as keffals
Kiwi Farms has struggled to maintain relevance ever since, and on September 18, it came to a halt again, when the site was hacked. In a post on the site, Kiwi Farms founder Joshua Moon told users to assume that their passwords, emails and every IP address used on their Kiwi Farm accounts had been leaked. Moon said his own administrator account was compromised by the breach.
Although Sorrenti’s viewership is a fraction of other major streamers, Kiwi Farms’ intimidation and propensity to confront conservatives online have boosted her as one of the most well-known trans-creators on Twitch.
“I don’t feel like I’m such a big streamer – I watch people like Hasan [Piker], or one of the bigger political streamers. I’m small,’ said Sorrenti. “But in terms of trans-streamers, I’m one of the biggest, which is both cool and in a way also a little sad because the bar is really low.”
Sorrenti’s platform may be smaller than a regular Twitch affiliate, but its impact is felt within the realm of trans-creators.
Early in her stream at TwitchCon, Sorrenti stopped by the Trans Lifeline booth, where Amanda Stevens, the organization’s charitable stream coordinator, told viewers about microgrant programs to provide gender-affirming care for transfemales.
“It’s really huge,” Stevens said of Sorrenti’s appearance on the stand. “I believe that any streamer of any size is really important. Especially now, where Keffals has a lot of eye on her. It is so important to be able to collaborate with other trans-streamers of that size.”
Annie Roberts, a Twitch ambassador, noted the increase in trans-streamers on the platform in recent years. Five years ago, she said, trans-creators were completely bullied off the platform. While many trans creators are still disproportionately harassed today, the trans community has blossomed online.
“When I first started streaming three years ago, the trans representation was a bit dry,” Roberts said after snapping a photo with Sorrenti. “And that’s kind of why I started streaming a little bit. So it’s really cool that you can be a mainstream streamer and still be trans and that’s okay.”
The weeks following the swatting incident in August have been a “whirlwind,” Sorrenti said.
Amid the bullying, Sorrenti and her then-fiance ended their relationship. Their divorce was “unrelated” to the doxxing and swatting attempts, but Sorrenti said the threats against the couple seriously affected her ex’s mental health.
“It was actually a relief for me because everyone who is close to me has to do the same kind of things as I do,” Sorrenti said of the split. ‘And it’s not fair. It’s really painful that just being associated with me means taking all these precautions, and you can’t just live like a normal person.
The immense scrutiny she endured was isolating, Sorrenti said, and the fact that so few got along with her only added to the loneliness. She got even closer to the creators who moderated her channel and shape her executives as they too were sedated by Kiwi Farms users for working with her.
As her campaign to take down Kiwi Farms began to gain popularity, Sorrenti came under fire for her social media posts, which were criticized by some Twitter users as skilled and micro-aggressive.
She was criticized for making a blunt joke earlier this year, which some users say was offensive to autistic people. The tweet was taken out of context, Sorrenti said, fueling accusations of predatory behavior and being a “groomer.” The term implies that a person is a pedophile and has been used in homophobic rhetoric in conservative spaces to associate LGBTQ people with a danger to children.
Aaron Barnett, a streamer known as Enny who also works on Sorrenti’s executive team, described the criticism as disproportionate to Sorrenti’s actual viewership.