A previous popular vlogger Terpsichore Maras-Lindeman had reimbursed her losses six months after a judge ordered her to pay more than $25,000 in fines and fees in connection with a charity donation scam. She was averaging more than $25,000 every two months, thanks to donations she received through the live streaming platform Twitch.
A series of leaked documents have revealed new information about how much money far-right figures make on Twitch.
It first appeared on the troll-friendly forum 4chan earlier this week in the form of a 125 GB torrent. There are fringe figures who promote conspiracy theories like QAnon among the top earners.
Twitter has banned Maras-Lindeman, a proponent of the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory. Her other credentials are also a little shabby. After she was found to have advertised a Christmas concert to benefit the homeless, a North Dakota judge ordered her to pay more than $25,000 in fines in September 2020.
The Washington Post revealed Maras-Lindeman had a long history of inflating or fabricating her résumé, at times passing herself off as a pediatric oncologist despite her lack of a medical degree, when she signed on as an expert witness in a disastrous legal effort to overturn President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.
Maras-Lindeman, on the other hand, enjoys a less critical audience on Twitch, where she is not banned. She has earned more than $150,000 by streaming under the username “ToreSays.” Maras-Lindeman’s income skyrocketed in 2021 when she became one of the website’s loudest voices pushing election fraud conspiracy theories, according to records from the Twitch leak, first noted by the researcher “Trapezoid of Discovery.”
According to the records, Twitch earned $140,692 in 2021 from subscriptions which cost $4.99 per month with a percentage going to Twitch advertisements, and donations. Maras-Lindeman did not respond to a request for comment right away.
Critical Role, which is a collective of voice actors who have streamed a long-running Dungeons and Dragons game, is the highest-earning channel. Félix “xQc” Lengyel, the site’s highest-earning individual streamer, earned more than $8 million during that time. The site’s top political streamer, Hasan “HasanAbi” Piker, made more than $2 million.
Hacking show on Twitch Millie Weaver is a former InfoWars correspondent and a conservative conspiracy theorist. Twitch has also served as a last resort platform for some far-right streamers, not just as a revenue source.
“RedPill78,” aka Zak Paine, has used his YouTube channel to promote QAnon and voter fraud hoaxes. Before YouTube kicked Paine off the platform in October 2020, his antics earned him 270,000 subscribers and nearly 49 million views.
Paine started his Twitch channel in 2017, but it became a more welcoming source of income after his suspension.
The QAnon hoax’s early popularity was credited to a streaming channel that survived its YouTube ban by pivoting to Twitch, where it streamed for about two months before being suspended there as well.
According to Twitch leaks, the channel made just over $2,000 in total, almost entirely in 2020, when it was most active.
While the Twitch leaks reveal how much money some far-right figures make by spreading false conspiracy theories, some streamers have warned that the revenue figures don’t tell the whole story.
Direct fundraising sites have also proven profitable for far-right figures. The New York Times reported in April that Maras-fans Lindeman’s donated more than $84,000 to the site GoFundMe in honor of his birthday.
Meanwhile, Paine has used his Twitter account to solicit donations for an Ohio congressional candidate who spoke at a pre-riot rally in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6.