A leftist Twitch star has come under fire after it was revealed he purchased a $2.7m home in Los Angeles, where he lives.
Hasan Piker is one of the most popular left-wing commentators on any platform, with 1.5 million followers on Twitch. The streamer uses his platform to discuss politics from a leftist perspective and also plays video games while interacting with his audience.
After it was revealed that he had purchased the five-bedroom, 3,800 square foot home in West Hollywood, critics lashed out at Mr Piker, claiming he was being a hypocrite as he is a proponent of socialism.
Some critics, like writer Fiona Applebum, suggested that by purchasing an expensive home, Mr Piker would leader younger socialists to believe that only the mega-wealthy can be exploitative with their wealth.
“[I’m] deeply concerned that a bunch of media class socialists will be responsible for having a younger generation of socialists walking around thinking that unless you’re Jeff Bezos then you couldn’t possibly be exploitative,” she tweeted in a long thread about the purchase.
Others complained that simply the act of purchasing a house that is worth more than many Americans will ever earn is inherently immoral.
However, Mr Piker had many defenders who pointed out that the streamer built his wealth by performing online for voluntary subscribers to his channel. They argued that Mr Piker was not exploiting anyone, as he only makes money from voluntary subscribers and ad revenue from his stream. They also pointed out that the only product he sells – merchandise for his channel – was produced in the US by unionised workers.
Mr Piker – who is very used criticism on his stream from those who oppose his views from both the left and the right – also joined in on the fray, mocking those who complained that he did something wrong by buying his house.
Some critics complained that he should have used his money to further other leftist causes, but Mr Piker pointed out that such criticism was the root idea behind the conservative idea that charity – and not structural changes, like higher taxes on the rich – should be the primary driver of aid to those in need.
“[T]he necessity of charity is an indication of systemic failure. it’s still useful to help out mutual aid orgs in the short term but that’s not how you solve structural problems. The rich also use it as a tax shelter,” Mr Piker said in a tweet.
Mr Piker – who is a Turkish immigrant who arrived in the US as a child – also lives with his family, who will presumably be moving into his house with him.
The streamer also pointed out that those arguing that socialists should not live in nice houses were parroting the same criticisms that conservatives levied against people like Senator Bernie Sanders, who owns three homes, or Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was lambasted for wearing expensive clothes.
Other defenders pointed out that socialism was not about living in poverty, but about organising an economy that empowers workers to fairly share in the profits of their products.
Ethan Klein, a podcaster, pointed out that there was a stark difference between Mr Piker buying a house and paying 50 per cent on his taxes and ultra-wealthy individuals like Jeff Bezos controlling billions and paying nothing in taxes.
“Y’all really think Hasan shouldn’t be able to own a nice house and also champion for the poor and underprivileged?” he tweeted. “There is a difference between making millions on twitch and paying 50% in taxes, and Jeff Bezos being worth 150 billion and paying no taxes.”
Mr Piker himself advocated for paying higher taxes.
“Listen, if you’re mad at me tax the f*** out of people like me. I would get so mad,” Mr Piker – who regularly advocates for higher taxes on the rich – said. His suggestion that he would be mad is clearly a joke.
The median home price in Los Angeles is $950,000.