Twitch streamer Hasan Piker has shown the positive power of online influencers by raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for victims of the two devastating earthquakes that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday.
The Turkish-American political commentator, who also goes by the name HasanAbi, swiftly responded to the disaster, which has left thousands dead and even more injured, by creating an online fundraiser.
Within 15 minutes of launching his Softgiving page, it had received $150,000 (around£125,000) in donations. Within 14 hours, that number had hit $600,000 (£530,000).
The 31-year-old was born in New Jersey to Turkish parents but was raised in Istanbul, and was in the city when a 7.6-magnitude tremor hit in 1999, killing 17,000 people. It's, therefore, no wonder this cause is particularly close to his heart.
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However, Piker responded to concerned fans during a broadcast on Monday that none of his loved-ones had been directly affected by the tremors.
“Thank you for your well-wishes, but I’m fine. My family is fine, they’re in Istanbul,” he said. “But,” he added: “Things are not fine overall in Turkey.”
The money raised will be shared between four charities: humanitarian aid organisations CARE Turkey and CARE Syria, plus Turkish search and rescue charity AKUT, and grass-roots NGO Ahbap.
And yet, despite the flood of support Piker’s campaign has received, he lamented that his efforts were also being undermined by trolls.
He told his followers that some of his “insane haters” were spreading the idea that the whole thing was a “scam” and that he was “taking all the money for himself”.
“These people are so f***ing desperate to vilify me that they, even when I'm trying to raise money for a cause, actively go and harm the fundraising efforts,” he fumed.
“There are literally people under rubble right now. There are people that are currently trying to survive under rubble, they might not make it over the course of the next 24 hours, and instead of turning around and being like, ‘Yeah, maybe this time we should just let it go, we should just let Hassan do this thing.”
Piker said fellow Twitch and YouTube star Darren Watkins Jr. (better known as IShowSpeed) was going to donate $50,000 to his fund, but then was thrown off by the rumours.
“It ultimately doesn't matter, but it's so crazy that this is how far motherf***ers go. They stopped him from donating $50,000, they said it was a scam,” he continued.
“And worse of all, hundreds of thousands of people who are watching him probably think this is a f***ing scam."
\u201cwhile i have some insane haters who actively try to undermine fundraising efforts, i also have an incredible community which raised $546,024 in 7 hours. my thoughts are with the victims in turkey and syria.\u201d— hasanabi (@hasanabi) 1675743218
He pointed out that while this was going on, he, his team and some fellow streamers “were able to put together a successful way to raise funds from America and give it to a very reputable Turkish charity, when that reputable Turkish charity currently has no way of receiving American funds other than a SWIFT code.”
He went on: “That's a very difficult process, and there were so many people that were working behind the scenes, linking up actively while this s*** is happening, while people are dying, so that we can get money as quickly as possible to those in need.
“And there are still people who don't give a s*** about any of that and just run to make this look like a bad thing.”
Still, given that he raised more than half a million dollars in just 10 hours, it’s safe to say most people view this as a very, very good thing.
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