Twitch has banned Hasan Piker, known on the platform as HasanAbi, for his use of the word "cracker." The ban comes just days after two of Hasan's mods were also banned for using it and igniting a firestorm of controversy over Twitch's inconsistency in enforcing its user guidelines amidst the platform's long history of failing to protect minorities.
The controversy kicked off over the weekend after two of Hasan's moderators were banned for using "cracker" as a pejorative in the chat. Many were surprised to find out that Twitch considers "cracker" to be a racial slur at all. Twitch doesn't make its list of slurs public, and most of Hasan's followers considered the term more archaic than offensive.
The term "cracker" dates back to the 1700s and was typically used to refer to poor rural people. For most of its history, it wasn't even considered a slur. Only during the Black Power movement of the 1960s did the term "cracker" come to have a pejorative meaning, but it never reached the equivalence of more racially-charged slurs.
Hasan, being no stranger to controversy, leaned into the cracker thing wholesale. This led to his ban from Twitch starting December 13, which he confirmed on Twitter.
"Yes," wrote Hasan, "It is for exactly what you think it is. Anti-white racism for using the term 'cracker.'" There’s no word on how long the ban will last.
Twitch has a long history with racism on its platform. The past year has seen multiple examples of hate raids against people of color where their chats become flooded by bots all spewing racist slurs. Twitch has only recently enacted policies and tools to protect minority content creators and even taken legal action against some of the platform’s worst offenders.
But as Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad pointedly notes, “Kinda wild how Twitch responded faster to this absolute non-issue than the actual racism that POC streamers face on the platform.”
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