Pokimane called a viewer 'broke boy' for complaining about her overpriced snacks, and now the internet is mad about miniature cookies

(Image credit: Pokimane)

Influencer Pokimane recently launched her own line of branded cookies: the Myna cookies (with added vitamin D!) are miniature cookies in bags, which are sold in batches of four bags for $28. If you're thinking "that's a lot of money to spend on biscuits" you're not alone, though of course Pokimane is only one of many influencers who've caught on to the profitability of branded snacks (most notably, MrBeast and his Feastables).

On a November 18 stream one of Pokimane's viewers complained about the price of the cookies, and here's where the drama started. The influencer responded:

"When people are like 'oh my god $28 for cookies,' it’s four bags. That’s $7 per bag. I know, I know, math is hard when you’re an idiot. But, if you’re a broke boy just say so."

Well. An out-of-touch millionaire is one thing, but when your whole brand is being a relatable and non-toxic personality (in a space that let's be fair is full of jerks) then calling one of your viewers an "idiot" and "broke boy" seems a little off-piste. Sure enough the backlash was pretty instant, and kept on rolling after the stream, to the extent that Pokimane subsequently issued an apology.

"While what I said was 100% intended to be a joke, I see why it came off as insensitive and I apologize for that," said Pokimane in a tweet on November 19, adding "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."

The thing with influencers is that nothing is ever just about The Thing itself, because The Thing becomes a pretext for everyone else to jump on-board and get their shots in. The name of the game is relevancy and, if you're not extrapolating wildly about the price of cookies, what are you even doing?

Thus there are the anti-cookie mob, including figures like Adin Ross, making points about Pokimane's wealth coming from the same "broke" audience she's mocking. A big anti-cookie talking point is that the product is largely a re-branding of an existing cookie brand, which is hardly unheard-of. On the other side are the pro-cookie defenders, including figures like Hasanbi, who point out that, regardless of the rights and wrongs of her 'joke', it's just merch: don't buy the cookies. On top of which you get all-comers fulminating over the drama.

Pokimane's fellow influencer and Call of Duty streamer Nadia was one of those who took to the star's defence, listing various other influencers she has a problem with before asserting that the real issue here was online sexism. "When a girl sells cookies that’s when y’all wanna speak out?" wrote Nadia. "The immense hatred towards women on the internet is unhinged."

But wait: roll up, roll up, it's xQC. The Canadian influencer instantly jumped on this, replying to the streamer: "Yes Nadia, it is the hate towards women that gave the cookies their price tag."

All of which just goes to show how absurd the scope has become and how far the internet can take an argument over branded cookies. In all seriousness things will no doubt roll on, cookie-gate will soon be forgotten, and Pokimane will think very carefully about reducing the price of the cookies before not doing so. At least it's not as much of a mess as MrBeast Burger turned out.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."