Amazon’s Twitch is streaming 100 hours of Julia Child to set an example for gamers

Bon appétit.
Bon appétit.
Image: AP Photo/Jon Chase
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

What the rough-and-tumble, troll-plagued world of online gaming needs is Julia Child, according to Amazon.

Starting today at 5pm US eastern time, 100 hours of Child’s 1960s TV cooking show, The French Chef, will stream on Amazon’s live video service, Twitch. The company hopes the wholesome, boisterous American who popularized homestyle French cooking will encourage a culture of kindness on the platform.

“As pop culture has gotten more bombastic over time, [Child] harkens back to a more conversational and relaxed type of programming. It’s not about screaming to be heard, but connecting to be felt,” Bill Moorier, head of Twitch Creative, tells Quartz in an email.

Within the often aggressive world of gamer culture, Twitch is best known as a platform where people can watch videos of other people playing games, part of what’s known as “e-sports.” Twitch has previously had problems with “swatting,” a form of online harassment where people fake emergency calls to draw police to unsuspecting others.

To appear welcoming, Twitch will now show hours of Child, whose worst offense is manhandling raw poultry, rattling off wine parings.

The jolly icon’s Twitch stream follows on the success of last fall’s week-long marathon and shorter subsequent streams of Bob Ross, the soothing TV personality who taught American children the joy of painting in the 1980s and 1990s.

“It says a lot about the state of online discourse that we’re looking for these kinds of role models and that we’re finding role models from thirty years ago,” says Aja Bogdanoff to Quartz. She is the cofounder of Civil, a platform that promotes quality online commenting. “When you look at what’s out there on the national stage right now it’s not really very inspiring or uplifting,” she says.

Twitch was acquired by Amazon for nearly $1 billion in 2014. Though it’s estimated the e-sports industry will be worth close to $2 billion by 2018, Twitch is looking to expand its community, and has launched efforts to appeal to people interested in makeup, music, art, and food.