The Young Turks commentator Hasan Piker has said that his comments during a recent Twitch livestream, where he mocked Rep. Dan Crenshaw for losing an eye and said the U.S. “deserved” to be attacked on Sep. 11, 2001, were “inappropriate” and a poor attempt at satire.
“I should’ve used more precise and better use of the language there,” Piker said during a Thursday night interview with TYT founder and host Cenk Uygur. “It’s messed up that I would even give the opportunity to the right to try to morally grandstand on an issue like this, when they are 100% responsible for all the bloodshed that’s been caused.”
Piker, when asked by Uygur if his comments were satirical, responded “yea.” He added “I know that I was inappropriate.”
The walk-back followed two days of heavy criticism. Piker’s initial comments came during a Twitch broadcast late on Tuesday, while recapping Rep. Crenshaw’s appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast earlier in the day.
“This guy has the understanding of foreign policy of, like, a 12-year-old. What the f—,” Piker said, referring to Rep. Crenshaw. “What the f— is wrong with this dude? Didn’t he go to war and like literally lose his eye because some mujahideen — a brave f—— soldier — f—– his eye hole with their d—?”
Rep. Crenshaw is an Iraq War veteran. He lost his right eye during his third deployment in 2012, when an improvised explosive device was detonated, according to his website.
Crenshaw, a first-term Republican representative from Texas, later chided Piker, tweeting “you’re no Pete Davidson, stop trying so hard.”
Piker later added, during the same Twitch broadcast, that “America deserved 9/11, dude. F— it, I’m saying it.”
Twitch declined to comment to TheWrap on whether Piker’s account — which has about 127,000 followers — would face any repercussions.
Piker’s comments appeared to violate Twitch’s rules against “hateful conduct,” defined as “any content or activity that promotes, encourages, or facilitates discrimination, denigration, objectification, harassment, or violence based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, medical condition, physical characteristics, or veteran status, and is prohibited.”
On Thursday, Uygur called Piker’s comments towards Crenshaw “incredibly crass.” He also pushed back, a bit, on Piker’s argument there was a “direct line” between U.S. intervention in the Middle East and the 9/11 attacks. Piker then quibbled with how his comments had been framed.
“I didn’t say Americans deserved 9/11 — I said America deserves 9/11,” Piker said.
“Right, but it’s still wrong,” Uygur said, jumping in.
“Maybe you can chalk it up to English being my second language or whatever you want to chalk it up to,” Piker added.
Piker is Uygur’s nephew and routinely appears on TYT shows. The Young Turks is a progressive news outlet with 4.5 million subscribers on YouTube. The outlet’s channel also broadcasts on Hulu, Roku, Pluto TV and YouTube TV.