Why Hasan Piker Has Been Banned From Twitch

Prominent streamer Hasan Piker has been banned from Twitch, after reportedly violating the platform's code of conduct.

If you are not familiar with Piker — alternatively known by his username HasanAbi — he is a left-wing commentator and former journalist for both The Young Turks and HuffPost. He mainly hosts "Just Chatting" streams on Twitch, where he discusses a variety of topics, including video games, foreign affairs, political debates and broader cultural issues.

According to Twitch's own metrics, his channel is the twelfth most viewed on the entire website, having been watched for nearly 6 million cumulative hours. In terms of engagement, that puts him right between the official Rocket League account and the BLAST Premier Counterstrike esports channel. In other words, he is a very popular figure with a large following.

As such, it is quite surprising to learn that he has been banned from the platform, given that he is one of its leading creators. However, if you try to get on his page now, you will discover that it is completely inaccessible and that all of his archived streams can no longer be viewed.

How Did Hasan Piker Violate the Twitch Code of Conduct?

According to Piker, he has been removed from Twitch for "anti-white racism." Specifically, he has attributed the ban to his repeated use of the word "cracker" in a recent stream.

An epithet used to describe white people, this allegedly violates Twitch's community guidelines in relation to "hateful conduct and harassment." If you take a look at the relevant page, you will see that there is a dedicated section on how the use of discriminatory slurs is expressly prohibited. In general, the streaming platform has a list of words that fall under this.

Yet there is a degree of controversy surrounding this, as people are split over whether the word "cracker" actually constituents as a racist slur.

On this exact subject, Piker himself has previously tweeted about how two of his own moderators were banned for using the word. Here, he wrote: "Absolutely insane that Twitch banned two of my mods for using the word 'cracker'. One is black and the other is brown. Does Twitch actually believe [this] is a slur?"

Meanwhile, @gaitoyquack pointed out that Twitch has not applied similar bans to other content creators, noting: "Twitch will let white men be blatantly racist, misogynistic, homophobic [but] ban someone for saying 'cracker'. Reverse racism does not exist. You can't be racist to a white person. 'Cracker' is not a slur."

Finally, Ethan Klein of h3h3Productions has argued that, by banning the word "cracker". Twitch is: "giving oxygen to white identity politics & putting white grievances on equal footing with actual oppressed people."

On the other hand, there are some who believe that Piker's ban was warranted and that "cracker" is a race-specific insult. For example, @KaticMakenna tweeted: "If it is used in a derogatory manner to degrade someone based on the color of their skin, it is a slur. NONE of the racial slurs should be acceptable."

Piker has clarified on Twitter, where he has vented his frustration at the whole situation, that many of his planned streams are now postponed due to the ban. These include collaborations with Amouranth and rapper JPEGMafia.

Newsweek has contacted both Twitch and Piker himself for comment on this story. At the time of writing, there has been no response from either party.

Hasan Piker
Image shows Hasan Piker onstage during Politicon 2018. Piker has been banned from Twitch, after using the word "cracker" in a recent stream. Phillip Faraone/Getty Images