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The Pokimane Cookie Controversy Is So Dumb

Please, I'm begging you all, touch grass

10:00 AM EST on November 21, 2023

Myna Snacks

Cookie math. That’s what finally pushed me over the edge into blogging about the latest, dumbest Twitch controversy – which has been unfolding for days, needlessly, because hardly any of its ringleaders give a shit or have any skin in the game. Cookie math. Cookie. Math. Let me explain, in spite of myself.

Last week, Imane “Pokimane” Anys – the long-reigning queen of Twitch until she, like many others, burnt out and decided to stream less – launched an ostensibly healthy snack line called Myna. It debuted with a single centerpiece item: “Midnight Cookies.” This, unto itself, was far from unprecedented. In the past few years, numerous content creators have branched into the world of questionably branded junk food – most notoriously YouTube superstar Jimmy “Mr Beast” Donaldson, who familiarized the world with the term “ghost kitchen” via his terrible burgers and conscripted his audience into cleaning up Walmarts across the nation for the sake of his not-quite-as-bad chocolate bars. Perhaps even more unmissable is Prime, the energy drink fronted by Logan Paul and KSI, who buried the hatchet of their definitely real boxing rivalry so deep in the earth that it sprouted leaves and grew into a $1.2 billion brand partnership. It stands to reason, then, that any influencer worth their salt would be looking to board this gravy train.

But Anys is not just any influencer. She is a) a woman with b) a meticulously crafted image, a hybrid of person and product whose spellbinding illusion of accessibility has made her a lightning rod for controversy any time she slips up (and even when she doesn’t). These controversies rarely hit a fever pitch because anybody directly involved actually cares. Rather, it is simply the nature of the modern content cycle: If there is drama, it behooves any creator past a certain level of popularity to talk about it – and, most crucially, to don a guise of caring so, so much when they do. Views then flow like wine, or whatever energy drink that influencer is hawking.

That’s pretty much what happened here: First internet sleuths accused Anys’ company of stealing a recipe from a preexisting product sold at Costco. This argument would have been more compelling if the product wasn’t made by Creation Foods, the manufacturer Anys’ company worked with to create Midnight Cookies. Anys went on to say that, on top of that, her recipe is unique in ingredient sourcing and proportions relative to the cookie that served as its foundation. Also – and she did not say this, I did – it’s a fucking cookie. Who gives a shit?

Then detractors moved on to Midnight Cookies’ price: $28 for a four-pack, which comes out to $7 per bag of cookies. That’s not cheap, but this is a supposedly healthy product from a glamorous famous person. These things always come at a premium. That’s the whole point! Nonetheless, people pretended to be surprised, a problem made worse by Anys’ decision to joke about it on stream by ribbing a chatter for being a “broke boy.” Her tone was clearly facetious, but this moment served as red meat to sites like Dexerto – who decided she had “called out” all of her “broke” viewers for not being able to buy her cookies – and a stream of content creators who followed in their wake.

Like clockwork, big names like Charlie “MoistCr1TiKaL” White and Félix “xQc” Lengyel began weighing in with opinions about how Anys is “out of touch” and no longer understands the plight of the common man – which is rich, because all of these people are hilariously wealthy. It’s been half a decade since the last time any of them understood the day-to-day concerns of regular people. Pretending that they do only stands to make them richer. (These days, Lengyel is so rich that he's largely stopped pretending, except when it helps him win drive-by slap fights over cookies.)

And as news kingpin Hasan Piker pointed out, they’re all friends! "Here's the thing: Charlie knows Pokimane,” he said during a recent stream. “Charlie's met Pokimane. What do you think? You think, really, she's anti-poor? Like that's what's going on? Come on, dog." It's just a remix of every other online drama cycle to date: reality TV playing out across countless channels and platforms – now with at least one literal reality TV star joining the fray, because why not make things even more on the nose? Only this time it’s about fucking cookies. 

You could make the argument, perhaps, that tempers are flaring due to the inherent tension between Anys’ status as an outrageously wealthy person and her chill gamer friend persona, or concerns around creators pushing actual scam products, like Rachell “Valkyrae” Hofstetter’s ill-advised blue light skincare line from 2021. But nobody is making that argument, at least among content creators. Instead, it’s just plainly disingenuous drama-of-the-week nonsense.

And yet, here we are, with various creators’ fans and foes toiling away under the delusion that they’re taking part in something larger than them, arguing it out in Twitter community notes over the precise per-cent value of individual cookies. “‘30% cheaper’ is misleading,” a real human being wrote, credulously. “The original tweet shows in the 2nd image that Myna bags have 4 servings of 7 cookies for $7 per bag, where Costco [has] 14 servings of 7 cookies for $9. The Costco bags cost ($9 / 98 cookies) = $0.09 per cookie, vs Myna's 7/28 = $0.25 per cookie.”

Cookie math. To win an online argument. Nothing has ever mattered less. I weep for whichever childhood memory all of this stole from me.

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