Last month at TwitchCon, streamer Imane “Pokimane” Anys teased a secretive project that would be the “biggest announcement” of her career. With over 9.4 million followers on Twitch, Pokimane is undoubtedly one of, if not the, most popular female streamers on the platform. So there was quite a lot of speculation and even hype around what this new venture could be.
Just a few weeks later, in a Nov. 13 vlog, we found out that she wasn’t doing something majorly controversial, like getting paid seven figures to move to Kick or announce her retirement. Instead, she excitedly revealed Myna Snacks, a new company focusing on creating healthy snack foods that don’t taste like trash. Named after the incredibly talkative Hawaiian bird, the company’s first offerings are Midnight Miki Cookies, made with gluten-free and non-GMO ingredients that sell for $28 for a 4-pack.
You’d think that cookies wouldn’t be an issue, but the loudest voices in the streaming community somehow found a way to make it so. After Pokimane’s announcement, X user and drama aggregator FearBuck shared that Pokimane’s cookies are “apparently just a rebranded” version of Toatzy Midnight Mini Cookies, which were sold at Costco for around a third of the price. Since health food company Creation Foods manufactured both, and the two cookie brands’ ingredients are fairly similar, internet randos and drama-loving content creators claimed that she was “scamming” her fans, and called her “out of touch” for what seems like essentially your average white-labeled product.
However, upon closer inspection, the two cookies are different. The cookies from Myna contain Vitamin D, which is derived from Button and Portobello Mushroom root powder. Pokimane also put out her own clarifying response on X on Nov. 15, writing that the ingredient list for the two cookies “may look similar” but they are entirely separate in quality, quantity, size, texture, and the added vitamin in the formula. (A representative for Myna Snacks responded to our request for comment by pointing to Pokimane’s X statement “addressing the conversation.”)
But that response did little to quell the cookie outrage, with it hitting a fever point after the streamer poked fun at the price of her munchies on stream. “If you’re a broke boy, just say so,” Pokimane said in a viral clip that has been viewed over 57 million times.
“What I said was 100% intended to be a joke, I see why it came off as insensitive and I apologize for that,” Pokimane said about the clip on X.
Celebrities, content creators, and streamers have been releasing their own takes on products with a premium price for years: There are MrBeast’s mass-produced chocolates, Emma Chamberlain’s viral white-labeled coffee brand, Ninja’s $150 Adidas collab. Kylie Jenner has been accused of just rebranding and raising the price of much cheaper liquid lipsticks for years.
Though these collaborations can sometimes get a bit of backlash, most people realize that slapping a well-known face on a brand targeted at fans will charge a bit more for the exclusivity. Most fans are willing to pay a little extra to be a patron for their favorite creators.
But particularly in the gaming industry, there seems to be an outsized backlash to female streamers who release their own takes on a product. In 2021, Rachel “Valkyrae” Hofstetter announced a line of skincare products with dubious claims that they’d protect against blue light emitted from phones and screens. The backlash was so immense that the collaboration ended a few weeks after it started.
But just a few short months later, TikTok star Addison Rae launched her own blue light protection product that nobody batted an eye at.
Over the decade Pokimane has been streaming, she’s fallen into her fair share of meaningless controversies. False claims that she said the N-word spread like wildfire in 2019, only for her to clarify that she was just saying the name of a bird champion in “League of Legends.” After prankster JiDion received a ban on Twitch after provoking a hate raid on Pokimane for literally no reason, the community was ready to tear her down until the pair ended their beef by… eating beef.
Though there are actual criticisms you can levy toward Pokimane’s content, like how she dismissed Amber Heard’s abuse in her trial against Johnny Depp and how in her teen years she’d flippantly use the N-word, most of her controversies seem to have been blown out of proportion.
This latest bit of cookie drama is fueled by the YouTube, Twitch, and X ecosystem that encourages outlandish statements that pull in engagement. It’s easy to hate the top female streamer, especially if you frame it as a queen in an ivory tower putting her nose up at the peasants who can’t afford her cookies. That makes for great clickbait and a thumbnail with pizazz.
On social media, a lot of large content creators have issued their own misogynistic statements, dog-piling and claiming that they aren’t criticizing Pokimane because she’s a woman. But in reality, most regular people just think this whole drama is “silly” and that “y’all just wanna be mad at women on the internet all the time.”
In the gaming space, women are still underrepresented and deal with a level of harassment just for existing in these spaces. As the foremost female streamer, Pokimane deals with a heavy amount of harassment compared to her male counterparts, and there’s no way this would be trending for a week if it was anyone else. The industry is trying to change and bring in more female representation, but when the loudest voices scream like they have a point, it becomes even harder.
Do you have a story you’d like to share with us? Email [email protected] to loop us in.