Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday helped host an online event aimed at encouraging young people to vote that was organized by an activist who said last year that “America deserved 9/11.”
The New York Democrat congresswoman, 31, spoke at the beginning of the virtual event, which was streamed on Twitch, and announced an “amazing lineup” of gamers to play “Among Us,” a newly popular video game.
Hasan Piker, a vlogger who last year came under fire for saying “America deserved 9/11,” organized the event, which featured popular Twitch streamers along with Ocasio-Cortez and fellow congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who herself has made controversial remarks about the September 11 attacks.
During a Twitch livestream in August last year, Piker mocked congressman Dan Crenshaw, a Texas Republican and Navy SEAL who lost his right eye in 2012 while serving in Iraq.
“This guy has the understanding of foreign policy of, like, a 12-year-old,” Piker said of Crenshaw. “What the f—. What the f— is wrong with this dude? Didn’t he go to war and like literally lose his eye because some mujahideen—a brave f—ing soldier—f—ed his eye hole with their d—.”
“America deserved 9/11, dude. F— it, I’m saying it,” Piker said in the video.
The Twitch streamer and former contributor to the Young Turks, a left-wing news and opinion group, later admitted his remark was “inappropriate.” His comments resulted in Twitch suspending Piker’s account.
Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, also faced backlash in March of last year for referring to the September 11 attacks as “some people did something” during a Council on American-Islamic Relations event. Ocasio-Cortez defended her fellow congresswoman at the time, saying the criticism of Omar’s remarks amounted to “an incitement of violence against progressive women of color.”
Last month, Ocasio-Cortez withdrew from an event commemorating the late Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin that took place on Tuesday, the same day as the online gaming event. Her decision not to attend the memorial event came after she was criticized by Palestinian advocacy groups for planning to attend.
Tuesday’s event featuring Ocasio-Cortez became the fifth most-watched individual Twitch stream in the platform’s history.