Truly we live in times. Climate change marches on unchecked. The pandemic still rages. Just yesterday someone made a bomb threat outside the Library of Congress calling for “revolution.” Oh, and today some people are freaking out because socialist Twitch streamer Hasan Piker apparently bought a nearly $3 million house in West Hollywood.
Piker is popular on Twitch not just for streaming games in the past but more recently going off about politics from a distinctly leftist worldview. One time, Piker streamed with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Another time, he said the US deserved 9/11. Depending on who you ask, he’s either a radical communist trying to overthrow American democracy or a neoliberal sellout chasing clout with socialism-lite talking points. It’s a common enough space to occupy in politics but one that makes him a particularly notable lightning rod of discourse in the ambiently reactionary space of video game streaming personalities.
And so today, Piker came under fire from both rival socialist personalities and the right-wing outrage machine.
“Idk man it’s just flat out unethical to be profiting off of socialism and buying yourself a 3 million dollar home in a state that has one of the highest homelessness rates in the country,” activist Alexis Isabel wrote on Twitter this morning.
Sites like Breitbart, meanwhile, have painted Piker as a hypocrite for believing billionaires should be banned while also buying such a nice house.
But the most ruthless takedown came from the real estate site Dirt, which documents the housing tastes of the 1%. It wrote:
Now, about one and a half years since he flew the TYT coop, he’s hoovered up enough clout, audience, and revenue to shell out $2.74 million for a spacious home along a pretty, tree-lined street in West Hollywood’s bustling and centrally located Beverly Grove neighborhood. A secured and tightly hedged if otherwise bland and featureless courtyard fronts the roughly 3,800-square-foot pan-Mediterranean style residence that was built in 2014 with white stucco walls and a red tile roof. Arguably, only the exposed wooden eaves give the five-bedroom and 5.5-bath home a smidgen of authentic architectural character.
“Everyone collectively needs to calm down,” Piker wrote on Twitter this morning in response.
Piker, whose roughly 1.5 million Twitch followers and 50,000 active subscribers made the purchase possible, defended the price tag by pointing out that the Los Angeles housing market is an absurd bubble and that he was tired of renting and needed a bigger place for his family and to stream out of. Others have countered that there’s a huge difference between buying a modest home and dropping a small fortune on a Hollywood mini-mansion. But mostly it’s an old and boring routine that makes me want to gouge my eyes out.
Social media went through the same contortions in the 2016 and 2020 Democratic primaries when people discovered that Bernie Sanders owned more than one home. He lost the nomination both times and, low-and-behold, years later, nobody actually cares. People probably won’t forget so quickly with Piker, in part due to the social media one-upmanship games that spurred them on to care about it in the first place. Meanwhile, the federal minimum wage will still be $7.25 an hour and people will still go bankrupt visiting the hospital.
Correction - 6:21 p.m. ET, 8/20/21: Yesterday’s bomb threat took place near the U.S. Capitol, not the White House.