Hasan Piker Understands Why You’re Angry

hasan piker speaking into a microphone with a video playing in the background
cybermagician/Shutterstock Lyudmyla Ishchenko/Shutterstock Hasan Piker YouTube Remix by Caterina Cox

Hasan Piker started his Saturday, Feb. 24 stream as usual. Before the political pundit fed the daily dose of news to his 2.6 million followers, he updated his audience on what was happening in his life. 

The day before, after spending nine and a half hours talking on camera, Piker went to his producer’s housewarming party. After one drink of alcohol, Piker quickly realized his “social battery” had depleted after his time on Twitch. 

Within 15 minutes of telling that story, a viewer clipped a 20-second portion of the 15-minute segment. In the clip, Piker said, “A real job doesn’t suck the soul out of you in the same way that streaming absolutely will.”

The clip started to spread immediately, pulling in millions of views on Twitter/X and various streamer-based subreddits. Piker, who was still streaming at the time, tried to stem the outrage. He offered the full context of the clip and further explained his stance.

But the floodgates opened, and no one could shut them.

“I was talking about my social battery depleting. And I was comparing it to the previous job that I held, which was a sales job that was also a client-facing, client-pleasing job,” Piker told Passionfruit. “Twitter being the right-wing shithole that it is… people really pounced on it immediately.”

Other creators quickly started to chime in to add to their engagement. “This guy makes shit up for 9 hours a day. … His commute to work is walking into his 5th bedroom in his 3 million dollar mansion,” drama YouTuber WillyMacShow wrote on a Twitter/X post that gained 2.9 million views.

YouTuber Ludwig Ahgren, who often collaborates with Piker, created a video criticizing him. But he quickly deleted it after Piker called him out for “drama farming.” 

If you dared to call Piker’s take “understandable,” like top World of Warcraft streamer Zach Asmongold, you just got added to the dog pile

Just watching the clip without any outside context, it’s easy to understand why it resonated so ferociously. Hasan Piker has been the center of several controversies over the past decade, from his acquisition of a $3 million mansion in Los Angeles to saying, “America deserved 9/11, dude” in 2019.

And now, while the economy is in the dumps and everything is more expensive than ever, this 32-year-old who sits in front of a camera all day on Twitch thinks his job is harder? The rage bait writes itself. 

“When you see that, and you’re angry at the world, you’re angry for understandable reasons,” Piker said. “You have no autonomy. You’re alienated for your labor. Your boss is a fucking piece of shit. And then, you see a random clip out of context of this guy who doesn’t have any of those things. You’re going to get mad.” 

Other creators have acknowledged their privileged position while noting the mental health toll of their job. Burnout is a constant. Streamer Stephen “jorbs” Flavall told NPR in 2022 that he “started having anxiety, bordering on full panic attacks” trying to respond to thousands of viewers each day.

YouTubers who have been creating content for just as long as Hasan Piker, like MatPat and Tom Scott, have recently announced that they are leaving their channels as a result of the stress. Constantly being in the spotlight and needing to churn out content takes its toll.

“Live streaming, in general, is like a radio or television show that requires immediate real-time feedback,” Piker said. “This makes it super susceptible to outside influences and hate raids and things of that nature. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to combat that. Because online, you can just be anonymous and make one or a thousand new accounts.”

If you look at Hasan Piker’s schedule, he streams every day of the week for five to nine hours a day. His goal is to try and instill a sense of “media literacy” in his audience. He says he tries to “hold your hand and walk you through a news article or commentary.” 

“I feel like there’s a sense of responsibility that I have where I don’t want to just lead people astray,” Piker said. “The way I see it is, what if NPR just didn’t broadcast that day?”

With a left-leaning ideology that tends to focus on working-class politics, Piker knows there is a large and vocal group that doesn’t like him or his work. Whenever a new clip travels through the web, it throws every new controversy back into the mix. People boil the creator down to just his perceived transgressions.

But Piker doesn’t let those outside voices get in the way of his work.

“If I was constantly tailoring every single thing I said to how could this get clipped out of context, I wouldn’t be able to do the commentary that I want to do authentically,” Piker said. “I can’t be myself in that situation. I’m not a fucking robot, right?”

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