Following some intense controversy surrounding her new snack brand, popular Twitch streamer Pokimane has apologized for an insensitive comment she made to a “rude chatter” during a November 18 livestream.
Imane “Pokimane” Anys announced on November 13 that she started a new company called Myna, a “healthy snack alternative” cookie. The cookies, which so far only have one option (midnight mini cookies) which are made with non-GMO ingredients and contain vitamin D, almost immediately drew ire. The issue wasn’t the concept of the cookies, however, but the price: $28 for a four-pack bag of 400g (a little under one pound), which many said was overpriced.
The streamer was also accused of repurposing another snack brand, Toatzy, which has a similar midnight mini cookie bundle made with many of the same ingredients by the same health-conscious food company that manufactures Myna, Creation Foods. Myna’s midnight cookies have more nutrients and vitamins than Toatzy’s, but that slight variation wasn’t enough to assuage her many, many critics.
“Our product formulation is unique to Myna and exclusive to us,” a Myna spokesperson told Dexerto on November 14. “We can confirm the Midnight Mini Cookies were in development for two years. This process included many rounds of testing and ingredient changes.” Though the ingredients are different, the concept is the same—and when Toatzy’s snacks are $10 for a single, 14-ounce bag, and Myna’s are $28 for 16 ounces of cookies, the price difference will certainly raise eyebrows.
Pokimane responded to the feedback during her November 18 livestream, calling out “broke boys” who can’t afford her healthy snack.
“I gotta say this one last time,” she said after inhaling deeply. “It makes my brain kaboom when people are like, ‘Oh my god, $28 for cookies.’ It’s four bags. That’s $7 a bag. I know, I know math is hard when you’re an idiot, but like, if you’re a broke boy just say so. Anyways, moving on. Moving on, moving on. If you wanna pay $8 for Twitter Blue, for some pixels, that’s OK! That’s fine. You spend your money how you want, I’ll spend mine how I want, and everyone else will spend theirs how they want. That’s the beauty of [having money].”
Pokimane tweeted on November 19 that her comment was “100% intended to be a joke.” “[I] also understand the current price of the cookies may be expensive for some, and promise we’ll continue to consider pricing to keep [Myna] as affordable as possible,” she continued.
She later followed up with another post clarifying that her statement was specifically directed toward “one rude chatter” and not meant to be a blanket statement aimed at her community. As you might imagine, not everyone was thrilled about anything Pokimane has said about this. That said, there are a handful of content creators defending her and her cookies, including socialist streamer Hasanabi, Call of Duty player Nadia, and some others for taking a joke too seriously and not getting upset when other creators—like MrBeast—sell snacks, too.
Kotaku reached out to Creation Foods and Pokimane for comment.
The controversy Pokimane’s courting isn’t too dissimilar from what Jimmy “MrBeast” Donaldson faced with his own chocolate food company Feastables, which essentially employed free labor to clean up shelves in brick-and-mortars earlier this year after the creator solicited some help from his fans. The problem isn’t necessarily that streamers are embarking on new business ventures. Diversifying your revenue stream is never a bad idea in the volatile creator industry. However, when your product could possibly price out your community, that’s when things might be problematic to say the least.