Hasan Piker

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Hasan Piker
Hasan Piker 2018 (cropped).jpg
Piker at Politicon, October 2018
Born
Hasan Doğan Piker

(1991-07-25) July 25, 1991 (age 30)
EducationRutgers University (BA)
Occupation
RelativesCenk Uygur (uncle)
Twitch information
Channel
Years active2018–present
Genre
Followers1,500,000
Total views82.9 million
Associated acts
YouTube information
Channels
Years active2018–present
Genre
Subscribers795,400 (combined)
Total views132.2 million (combined)
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg 100,000 subscribers 2020

Updated: September 13, 2021

Hasan Doğan Piker (/ˈpkər/, Turkish: [haˈsan doˈan piˈcæɾ]; born July 25, 1991), also known as HasanAbi (abi meaning big brother in Turkish), is a Turkish-American[1][2][3] Twitch streamer and left-wing political commentator. He has previously worked as a broadcast journalist and producer at The Young Turks and as a columnist at HuffPost. He is currently one of the most-viewed and most-subscribed-to streamers on Twitch, where he covers news, plays a variety of video games, and discusses politics from a socialist perspective.[4][5][6]

Early life[edit]

Hasan Doğan Piker was born to Turkish parents in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and raised in Istanbul, Turkey.[7][8][9] During his time in public school in Turkey he describes being bullied for his lack of physical fitness and questioning attitude.[10] He has described himself as an "outcast" in his youth who questioned the religious dogma he was taught in school and was interested in games and gaming culture; he would regularly read one of the few video game magazines published in Turkey.[9][10][11]

Piker returned to the United States and attended the University of Miami, then transferred to Rutgers University, where he graduated with a double major in political science and communication studies in 2013.[7][9]

Career[edit]

The Young Turks[edit]

During his senior year of college in 2013, Piker interned for The Young Turks (TYT), a progressive news show and network co-founded by his uncle, Cenk Uygur. After graduating, Piker was hired by the network's ad sales and business department. He would ask to host the show when a fill-in was needed, and later became a host and producer.[9][10] Uygur described his nephew as "magnetic" though "rough around the edges" at first.[10]

In 2016, Piker created and hosted The Breakdown, a TYT Network video series which aired on Facebook and presented left-leaning political analysis targeted toward millennial supporters of Bernie Sanders.[7][10] The show was nominated in the "Best Web Series" category at the 10th Shorty Awards in 2018.[12] Piker also wrote political content for HuffPost from 2016 to 2018.[13][14]

Piker created and hosted another TYT series in 2019 called Agitprop with Hasan Piker.[15] In January 2020, he announced his departure from TYT and his intention to focus on his career as a Twitch streamer.[11]

Twitch[edit]

Piker started streaming on Twitch in March 2018, while he was working at TYT.[8] Piker has said he shifted his attention from Facebook to Twitch in order to reach a younger audience, and because of what he felt was a preponderance of right-wing commentators on YouTube and a lack of leftist representation.[4][16][17] He became a popular left-wing political commentator, invited to appear on Fox News's The Issue Is and the political podcast, Chapo Trap House.[4][18][19][20] Piker also streams gameplay and commentary of video games on his Twitch channel.[11][21][22] His YouTube channels feature highlights of his political and gaming streams.[23]

During his stream on August 21, 2019, Piker criticized U.S. Representative Dan Crenshaw for his support of American military interventionism overseas. Piker asked, "What the fuck is wrong with this dude? Didn’t he go to war and like literally lose his eye because some mujahideen, a brave fucking soldier fucked his eye hole with their dick?"[24][25][26] In the same stream, Piker criticized American foreign policy and made controversial comments relating to the September 11 attacks, including "America deserved 9/11, dude".[26][27] His statements caused outrage on social media and were covered by Fox News. Cenk Uygur called them "very offensive," and invited Piker to appear opposite him on TYT to apologize.[28] Piker has defended his criticism of American foreign policy while acknowledging that he should have used "more precise" language.[9][27][29] Twitch banned him for one week for the comments regarding Crenshaw.[30]

During the first 2020 United States presidential debate on September 29, Piker had over 125,000 viewers watching his reaction stream, the highest viewership of the debate on Twitch.[31] On October 19, 2020, U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez collaborated with Piker and fellow Twitch streamer Pokimane to organize a stream of the Representative playing popular multiplayer game Among Us for the "Get out the vote" initiative.[11][32] The stream was aired the following day, featuring both Ocasio-Cortez and U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar playing the game with Piker and many other popular Twitch streamers, reaching a total concurrent viewership of almost 700,000.[33][34][35]

Piker's stream covering the results of the 2020 United States presidential election peaked at 230,000 concurrent viewers and was the sixth most-watched source of election coverage across YouTube and Twitch, comprising 4.9% of the market share.[36][37][38][39] He was the most watched Twitch streamer during the election week; his 80 hours of streams were viewed for 6.8 million hours by an average of 75,000 concurrent viewers.[8][40][41] Piker's stream reached a new high of 231,000 viewers during the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol.[42]

Leftovers[edit]

On September 26, 2021, Piker became co-host on the h3h3Productions podcast, Leftovers.[43]

Political views[edit]

Piker has been identified as a progressive, leftist and socialist.[4][8][23] He has advocated in favor of workplace democracy,[44] Medicare for All,[19] intersectional feminism,[23] gay and transgender rights, and gun control; he has advocated against war and Islamophobia.[7]

Piker has cited his upbringing in Turkey under the Premiership of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as an influence on both his left-wing views and willingness to speak out about them.[23][45] Piker supported the presidential primary campaigns of Bernie Sanders in 2016 and 2020, and has been an outspoken critic of both the Democratic and Republican parties.[9][46]

Personal life[edit]

Piker was raised Muslim and is of Turkish descent.[9][45] He is the nephew of Cenk Uygur, creator of The Young Turks.[47] Piker appeared in a 2016 short film called The Gym.[48]

In August 2021, Piker purchased a $2.7 million house in West Hollywood, California. The purchase was criticized online by people who felt it seemed to be in opposition to his views as a socialist.[49][50][51][52] Piker was again criticized after a large-scale information leak from Twitch which included Piker's monthly financial earnings. He responded by stating that his earnings have always been transparent, as his subscriber count has continously been prominently displayed on screen.[53]

Reception[edit]

Outlets dedicated to video game culture and youth culture have covered Piker's streams positively. In particular, journalists have noted his ability to "combine information and entertainment,"[45] and to approach left-wing political coverage in a way that is relatable and accessible to Twitch viewers, who may feel out of touch with cable news.[54][36][41][55] Some authors also cite Piker's vulgar, animated style of expression and his physical appearance as notable factors behind his popularity.[54][45]

Gaming website Kotaku selected Piker as one of their "Gamers of the Year" for 2020, citing him as a major figure in the mainstreaming of political commentary on Twitch, a platform which in the past was seen as discouraging to political discussion.[41][55][56]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Nominated work Category Award Result Notes Ref.
2018 The Breakdown Web Series 10th Shorty Awards Nominated Co-hosted with Francis Maxwell [12]
2018 The Breakdown News & Information 2018 Webby Awards Nominated Co-hosted with Francis Maxwell [57]
2020 HasanAbi Like & Subscribe theScore esports Awards 2020 Won [58]
2020 HasanAbi News 10th Streamy Awards Won [59]

References[edit]

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