Twitch’s Most Popular Political Stream: Hasan Piker


The New York Times

Hasan Piker has become popular for his controversial opinions.

Azzurra Degliuomini, Club Member

Twitch is a website that is mostly known for gaming live-streams, and occasionally other types of commentary streams. But, in 2020, the platform’s biggest streamer with the most subscribers was political.

Hasan Piker, better known by his screen name, HasanAbi, was born on July 25, 1991, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, but spent most of his childhood growing up in both Ankara, the capital of Turkey, and Istanbul, the biggest city in the country. Growing up, Hasan had an obsession with the US, which he stated in an H3Productions podcast. 

“I read English books as I was growing up,” Piker said. “I was a weeb for America, okay? I was an America-boo.”

Hasan goes on to explain that was the reason why it was so easy for him to assimilate to the culture once he moved back to the US. 

He returned to the United States and attended the University of Miami before he transferred to Rutgers and graduated cum laude with a dual major in Political Science and Communications. While Hasan was still there, he was interning at his uncle Jank Uygur’s workplace, The Young Turks. 

The Young Turks is a show known for its progressive views and opinions, but when Hasan started there, he wasn’t a host for a show. He managed to convince the producers to let him try hosting his own segment in part of TYT’s “The Breakdown.” He would get in front of a camera and share his views and opinions on political issues. 

“The thing that I did at The Young Turks that was different and not the same as what The Young Turks was doing was that I wanted to make pre-scripted, green screen, snackable, bite-size, bits, and pieces, of information and videos,” Piker said during one of his live streams. 

He stated that TYT did not have a system in place to do those types of videos, which led him to have to create one from scratch. He used a supply closet and changed it into a studio, having to write his own scripts. All of these videos started getting traction, which led to him gaining a following on social media. He was called, “the woke bae.”

In 2018, he began streaming on twitch, first starting with some gaming streams, but eventually moving on to political streams, debating other people on certain topics and explaining his views to his audience. But, he was still working at TYT, and in August of 2019, he got his own show called “Agit Prop,” which was short for “Aggitative Propaganda.”

In August of 2019, Hasan had his biggest scandal yet, receiving even more criticism than he was getting for being a political commentator. 

“America deserved 9/11, dude. F*** it, I’m saying it.” Piker said during one of his live streams.

During one of TYT’s “The Conversation” episodes, Hasan goes on to explain why he said it, admitting that he understood that what he said was inappropriate. “I realized that this was going to be misconstrued, and I didn’t want it to be weaponized. I don’t want this to offend people.”

During the same H3Podcast, Hasan goes on to explain the controversy a little further, stating that he was confused as to why he got so much backlash. 

“We literally arm the same groups and cause destabilization in the region. And then we’re shocked when the very same people that we armed, gave weapons to, gave training to, turned around and hit us back.” Piker stated. 

Hasan’s statement of “America deserved 9/11” wasn’t against Americans, but against the American government. 

Hasan got banned from Twitch for a week because of the comments, but still came back and decided to have more gaming live streams. In January of 2020, he left The Young Turks and decided to stream full-time. 

Since Hasan began streaming, America started to experience major political turmoil, which escalated during an election year. In the last two years, he became one of the platform’s rising stars, which led him to start collaborating with some of the major gaming streamers on the website. But, not only did he collaborate with big streamers, the demand for political content during an election year got him collaborations with some of the biggest names in politics.

In October of 2020, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar played Among Us with some of the biggest names on Twitch, including Hasan. Not only was this AOC’s first stream, but it was also one of the biggest in Twitch history. 

This crossover between politics and Twitch got Hasan more viewers, which led to election night, Hasan’s biggest stream yet. 230,000 people tuned in on Twitch that night to watch him sort through the election results.

Hasan has used his platform for good, joining AOC once again on another Twitch stream with Canadian politician Jagmeet Singh, raising $200,000 to fight housing and food insecurity.

As America’s political uncertainty continues these next couple of years, Hasan’s channel will certainly continue growing, becoming an example for other people that would like to start their own political commentary channels.