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Hasan Piker says Twitch banned him for using derogatory term for white people

Piker, who has more than 1.6 million followers on his account, HasanAbi, said he wants Twitch to make a decision about the word's acceptability.
Hasan Piker speaks during Politicon in Los Angeles on Oct. 20, 2018.
Hasan Piker speaks during Politicon in Los Angeles on Oct. 20, 2018.Phillip Faraone / Getty Images for Politicon

Hasan Piker, one of the most prolific streamers on Twitch, said Monday evening that he was banned for using the word "cracker" during a livestream.

Piker, who has more than 1.6 million followers on his account, HasanAbi, and spends hours each day talking about politics and news from a leftist position, addressed being kicked off the platform in a YouTube video Tuesday, saying he feels the platform is taking a “cowardly position” by not immediately commenting on why his channel was banned.

“They don’t want to come out and say, ‘Anti-white racism is unacceptable on this platform, and that’s why we are banning the usage of the term cracker,’” Piker said, “because they know they would get ... clowned on by like 99 percent of media that isn’t predominantly focused on random weirdos that spend all their time in their mother’s basement talking about the ethics of being able to use the C-word versus how they should also be able to say the N-word as well.”

Twitch did not immediately respond to NBC News' request for comment. Piker also did not immediately respond to a request for a follow-up interview.

“Cracker” is a term often used to insult a white person. Although antiquated, the word is believed to derive from the term “whip-cracker,” according to Jelani Cobb, a journalism professor at Columbia University, who spoke to NPR in 2013 about the word.

However, NPR reported, versions of the term as an insult appear to date back even further to William Shakespeare’s “King John,” in which a character uses the uniquely spelled “craker.”

Piker used the word during a signoff of his stream on Monday while talking about how two of his moderators, also Twitch users who help him run his channel, had been banned for using it.

During the stream, Piker said he’s “been called a cracker more times than every single one of you,” referring to people commenting in his channel’s chat, according to VICE.

NBC News could not confirm the exact quote as Twitch had already removed Piker’s account.

Piker then told his followers to "stop crying about this" term, adding that his followers must recognize that his moderators, who are people of color and used the word, have been historically oppressed.

In his video Tuesday, Piker said he just wants to "move on."

"I don't care, just make a decision," he said. "I'm not married to being able to use the word cracker."

In Twitch’s Hateful Conduct and Harassment Policy, the company stated that it does not “permit behavior that is motivated by hatred, prejudice or intolerance,” based on characteristics like race. It also stated that “using hateful slurs, either untargeted or directed towards another individual” is prohibited.

Piker suggested that the ban was not a proper use of Twitch's terms of service, adding he had previously advocated for Twitch's terms of service. He said he was concerned that banning the word cracker could set a precedent that disproportionately affects Black Twitch users.

Piker pointed to a group of Redditors, users of the website Reddit, who had made the complaint against his channel for using the term and stirring up the controversy.

A Twitch ban does not always mean a permanent suspension, and the ban isn't the first for Piker. In 2019, he was given a weeklong ban for saying America "deserved" what happened on Sept. 11, 2001.