YouTuber Syndicate denies sexual assault claims

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YouTuber Syndicate, real name Tom Cassell, has denied sexually assaulting two of his ex-partners.

In a statement on Twitter he wrote: "I was shocked and saddened by the false allegations made against me on Sunday by two women I once called friends."

Cassell, 26, has gaming and lifestyle channels with over 12 million subscribers and is also popular on streaming site Twitch.

He has been accused of rape by YouTuber Natalie Casanova, known as TheZombiUnicorn and ex-girlfriend Kaitlin Witcher says he abused her.

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"This is character assassination by social media without evidence to support it or any justification," Cassell adds, " These two women have chosen to make horrendous allegations against me for reasons I do not understand, attempting to stage a public trial without giving me a chance to defend myself."

Natalie Casanova, who also streams on Twitch, alleges an incident took place while the two were filming the Legends of Gaming show in 2016.

She didn't disclose the location - but filming for the show took place in Los Angeles and she lives in the US.

Casanova said in a video posted on her Twitter account that some of the sex the pair had was non-consensual and that Cassell had agreed he'd withdraw before ejaculating and when the time came he pinned her down.

She said: "He held me down physically, so that I could not get off of him.

"I smacked him and said 'no, stop!'"

She also says one of Cassell's staff members took her to get a morning-after pill at a pharmacy the next day.

Referring to this Cassell says, "I had consensual sex with Natalie Casanova in 2016. I did not pin her down, I did not use any force against her, I did not rape her. We discussed it and agreed as a precaution she would take the morning after pill, which is what happened. This was a decision we both made together it was not one sided or forced."

Casanova added that she tried to remain friends with him after the incident, but didn't want to come forward in case he tried "to come after me".

Manchester-born Cassell has also been accused of abusing former girlfriend, Kaitlin Witcher, in a hotel in LA in 2012.

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'I felt alone'

She spoke out following Casanova's video - posting a thread of clips on Twitter about what happened when Cassell was her first boyfriend in 2012.

She says that whilst in a hotel room he "wanted to do things", which she refused, and he assaulted her without consent.

Witcher says she said "no" several times.

"I don't want to feel alone, like I how I felt alone, I'm sorry to anyone who was affected by him because I didn't come out sooner - I was just so scared to" she said in the video.

Cassell says these allegations are "completely false".

"I was in a relationship with Kaitlin Witcher in 2012 when we were both teenagers and I loved her very much. We never had a full sexual relationship because she made it clear that was not what she wanted and I respected that. I know she has been through some tough times in her life, and always considered her to be a good person, but these claims she has made against me are entirely wrong."

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On Wednesday #Twitchblackout was trending as streamers across the world asked people to avoid the site for a day.

They think the streaming site can do more to recognise victims of sexual and racial abuse.

Dozens of women have recently claimed they have been sexually assaulted by people in the gaming industry.

"We take accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct extremely seriously," it says in a statement.

"We are actively looking into the accounts concerning streamers affiliated with Twitch and will work with law enforcement where applicable.

"We're thankful for the bravery shown by those who have come forward to speak about their experiences, and we are committed to working to make the streaming community safer for everyone."

BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat has contacted Tom Cassell, Natalie Casanova, Kaitlin Witcher and YouTube for comment.

You can access information and support about sexual assault here.

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