Hasan Piker Is the Woke Bae Invading Your Facebook Feed
If you read this website, you probably have a mostly liberal social media feed. And if you have a liberal social media feed, you’re sure to have seen Hasan Piker before.
Hasan Piker is most famous for the videos he produces for The Young Turks, but he’s also famous for being hot, and is regarded as “woke bae” around the internet. But is Hasan the sexy and informed liberal dude we’ve all been waiting for? Or is he just another dude who thinks he needs to mansplain Planned Parenthood to someone who actually has a vagina?
We talked to Hasan and asked him the questions that we’ve all been wondering. Not if he’s single (sorry), but if there’s a way to turn a dude from an ignorant idiot into a woke bae, why he keeps hitting on Tomi Lahren, and how he got into journalism.
Read on for Hasan’s tips about how to navigate politics in your dating life, the crazy DMs he gets, and how he actually used to have a thing for conservative girls.
So when you were starting your career, did you hope to be on camera or were you more on the writing side?
Neither actually, I started off on the business side. I always had an idea of the show/concept that I’m currently doing right now. I knew there was a place for that, specifically on The Young Turks. We’ve never done anything like that before and I always wanted to do something like that, or pitch something like that.
I started out on the business side and built out our direct advertising sales and operations, and then I started producing on the side, then guest hosting whenever a host wouldn’t show up. Then I pitched a show on the entertainment and pop culture channel called “Pop Crunch,” and they were in the market for more content, and I told them I would basically do all this for free and it wouldn’t even interfere with my actual work with the company, so they got a good deal out of it. Then eventually, they put me in charge of all basic operations and I became a full time host.
That’s really cool to hear, how you actually started out. That speaks to people who say they don’t necessarily like what they’re doing and want to try something different.
Yeah, well one thing I realized is how much I hated sales. At first I thought it was fine cause you make a decent amount of money if you’re halfway good at it. But I realized…when I moved away from sales to on camera, I was happier on Sunday nights, I was happy when I was going to work on Monday. I always [previously] thought [with my sales job that] it was the usual Monday jitters you have, the Sunday night anxiety where the work week is starting, whereas it’s not so usual if you love your job.
A lot of people and relationship experts are saying not to bring up politics on the first date, do you agree with that?
I don’t think that politics completely identify you as a person, but at the same time, in this day and age, politics are definitely at the forefront of everyone’s mind. You’re speaking to someone who has two past girlfriends who are blonde conservative southerners, one who is also religious on top of that, and I am literally the antithesis of that, but I made it work. I don’t know why I went after that type.
But yeah, at the end of the day it doesn’t define you as a person unless you love it, and at that point, that difference of opinion can create a massive conflict and eventually lead to larger problems down the line, so maybe it’s better to get it out of the way kind of.
Plus, I’m Turkish and come from a culture where politics is heavily discussed. It’s like the number one thing everyone loves to talk about, it’s politics and soccer. So I grew up very political. This is something I tell people about all the time. [People are] like, “Wow, you’re 25 years old and you have a very clear ideology that you believe in, how did you achieve that at an early age?” Cause I’ve been doing that since I was 12, basically.
With those girls you dated that are conservative, how did you make it work? I’ve heard people have a rule they don’t talk politics once they realize it’s a dividing factor or kind of agree to disagree with that stuff.
Well, I was always involved in a very political company from the get-go with both of those relationships. They knew what my opinions were and a big part of my job became addressing the concerns that I had with the Obama administration or Donald Trump. They were very aware and it had to be in the forefront with me specifically.
For normal individuals, I think two people with different opinions can make it work. Some of my closest friends… are liberals, some voted for Donald Trump, some think that Muslims may inherently or culturally be predisposed to violence or anti-western ideals, that directly conflicts with not only my personality, but also what I believe in, but I still can maintain a relationship with them.
I think you can learn a lot from people with a different opinion and I think you can teach them a lot as well. What I don’t excuse is not a lack of knowledge or difference of opinion, but what I can’t condone is ignorance. An unwillingness to communicate, an unwillingness to look at or process new information in an objective way. As long as someone is not ignorant in that regard, as long as they have that capacity to sit down and talk to you, I think you can absolutely date someone who has a different political opinion then you.
What advice would you give to a girl who is dating a guy who is conservative, but is kind of just conservative cause the people around him are conservative, and doesn’t actually really know anything going on with the political current climate?
A lot of people are that way, and you have to understand that. A lot of people haven’t really informed their own opinions on it, it’s never an informed opinion on policy positions, but moreso how they may or may not feel about a particular candidate. There’s always an adage Americans go about where they say, “Oh, he seems like the kind of guy I can drink a beer with.” That should not be representative of whether or not you should vote for a person, but they think that’s enough for them, you know. They vote with their gut, they vote where their parents vote.
So, if you want to educate them on liberal positions, I think there is no better environment to do that than right now, where Democrats are essentially the underdog. We’re fighting against an oppressive administration that is doing a lot of terrible things that is constantly tripping all over itself. I mean, I follow this closely obviously, so it’s a little different, but every single day it seems like there is a new slip up. Whether it’s a Donald Trump tweet or as recent as where Sean Spicer decided, “Oh the wire tapping Donald Trump was referring to wasn’t actual wire tapping in the sense we believe it’s wire tapping.” Or, two hours before that, Kellyanne Conway talking about microwave spying.
It’s very easy to point out the flaws in this administration, but most importantly it’s easy to get politically involved right now. I think it’s kind of difficult for someone who maybe goes and attends the Women’s March or International Women’s Day, a day without women strike, and not feel involved or a sense of community. That’s definitely something that I would recommend, political activism at that level. It’s basically become the new brunch, so instead of going to brunch, take them out to a new protest. Tell them [to] be open minded, you know. “I promise good things will come your way in the relationship.”
Or another thing you can do is poke a hole in the condom and get pregnant, and then tell him, “Well, I can’t get an abortion because they defunded Planned Parenthood,” or something like that.
I told my boyfriend that if he voted for Trump then we’re using condoms for the rest of our lives.
So we’re on the same page then, but let me clear out the misconceptions about Planned Parenthood. Only 30% of Planned Parenthoods are actually providing abortion, now that number varies depending on how you analyze the data. But, in the end of the day, Planned Parenthood does so much more, so much more then just provide abortion. And in a federal funding perspective, that argument is null and void regardless because the current legislation does not allow federal funding to touch a single dollar on abortions to begin with. So, there are so many easy quotes people throw around that they’ve heard from someone else and that they’re just regurgitating someone else’s wrong opinions, and the reason why I addressed it is because we just made an abortion joke basically about defending planned parenthood, so I wanted to make sure that your readers are aware that that is not the only thing they do, it’s a minority of what they do.
Yeah, they know. So obviously you have a lot of fans that are happy to see a dude that is very woke, but it also helps that you’re hot. What’s the creepiest message you’ve received from a fan?
Oh my god, so a lot of the creepy stuff is already pretty public, and I don’t even think it’s like genuinely creepy, it’s more so like, “hey, we’re just playing along with this joke overall.” You know where it’s kind of like, “Oh, I saw four other girls say, ‘cut my throat with a chainsaw daddy,'” then they’re gonna say that as well.
That’s really weird, thats a weird thing to say, then people will say, “hit me with a baseball bat, daddy.” I don’t understand that level of affection that people feel, but overall yeah. The creepy stuff, I don’t know, I rarely go through my message requests cause that would take up a lot of time and also it would probably scare me. The most frequent one I get is, “Tomi may never DM you, but I will,” most times it’s usually something related to the videos. People think it’s a unique approach, but ironically it’s not.
Do you also get a lot of angry conservative people or is that less often?
Oh of course, so many. Especially on my Facebook page, I get a lot where people write on my wall “you’re a piece of shit douchebag, you’re a terrorist Muslim, go back to your country.” There was a time where someone went as far as creating a fake profile on Twitter where they were like,“Hasan Muhammad ISIS Piker.” You know, just making a page and making it seem like the same profile as mine praising ISIS and Allah. I identify as culturally Muslim, but I’m pretty much agnostic when it comes to practicing religion. My perspective on religion is not in favor of it, essentially. So yeah, that’s something that they did, but I know it’s coming from fanfare, or fanaticism, whether they love me or hate me, they’re doing it out of a place where they can’t get enough of it. Im sure you understand, I’m sure there are accounts that you hate follow or accounts that I hate follow, not like hate, hate is a strong word but you know — I just can’t stand how ridiculous it is, for example.
Definitely, so you have a series where you pick apart Tomi Lahren’s reports, what would you say to critics who say that you’re kind of filling a similar niche for the liberal side as Tomi Lahren does to the Republicans?
So this is the difference, I completely understand where people are coming from. It’s not a valid argument because I’m not talking about my feelings, I’m talking about historical contexts, facts. I’m using logical arguments. Essentially I do the same format with other stuff too, like Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway, the administration, there are a bunch of different targets that I write about, and it’s always the same idea where as press your supposed to hold the administration accountable. And if Tomi Lahren is going to be a talking head for the administration, I have to hold her accountable as well. But usually it’s not opinionated, it’s more so based on facts, and that’s something void of Tomi Lahren’s commentary, and it’s a necessity. It needs to be in all matters of commentary, you need to base your opinions on facts, or logic and reasoning, and maybe even empathy, which I think that a lot of people on the right lack.
Can you explain this further? Do you think that calling a woman “emotional” plays into negative female stereotypes?
Tomi plays to people’s emotions, and mostly fear. A lot of great commentators do this. The difference is, Tomi’s statements are not based in facts and rely on prejudices, biases and feelings. I’m not saying “she’s emotional,” as a way to discredit her. She has every right to utilize emotion to make a persuasive point. But what I am saying is that she plays into people’s emotions and does this in a completely non-factual, subjective way. Despite being an opportunistic conservative talking head, Tomi is an intelligent, strong, successful woman, and that’s something I admire.
You consistently hit on Tomi in your videos and ask her to DM you, which can be viewed as pretty sexist since you would likely not do this if Tomi was a man. How would you defend yourself against critics of this behavior?
I understand where critics are coming from, but I don’t think my treatment of Tomi Lahren has been sexist. If I were a gay commentator and found conservative male pundits attractive, I’d ask Tucker Carlson on a date. Would you consider that sexist, or is this notion based out of the remnants of a pre-established patriarchal social dynamic that women are not equal to men? Also, the “date line” was meant to be a joke. After the first couple of videos that featured it, I stopped saying it once I realized people were getting the wrong idea.
My intentions were never to belittle her. Some definitely took it the wrong way. Some blogs who do not agree with my political leanings took this as an opportunity to portray this completely misguided angle, rather than address the conversation points themselves.
As I mentioned, I thrive in open discourse, and love speaking to people with opposing viewpoints. In my opinion, this is the best possible way to broaden my perspective. This is precisely why I ask to have Tomi on the show to engage in discourse, and in no way shape or form mean to belittle her as a person based off of her gender. I will however absolutely deconstruct her ideas, which happen to be tired old conservative tropes with racist sentiment sprinkled ever so graciously throughout.
How do your videos kind of bridge the gap for people who haven’t been into politics until recently or don’t go out of their way to learn about current events?
I think making the content entertaining is a necessity nowadays. I think satire has always been a very important part of politics and political discourse… Political satire has always been an important part of my life and I think we see that with America as well with “The Daily Show,” John Oliver, Samantha Bee. My takeaway is that we are now responsible— whether we like it or not —for making informational news videos entertaining so that people can understand it. We’re competing against the Kim Kardashians of the world, and in order to remain relevant and get some sort of interaction going or gain any sort of following or momentum, you need to make sure your content is as entertaining as possible while still remaining informative.
Photo by Gaston McGary