Hbomberguy, real name Harry Brewis, has raised over $300,000 for the trans charity Mermaids in a Twitch stream of Donkey Kong 64, with the YouTuber being joined by a variety of supporters throughout the duration of the 57-hour stream. One such supporter was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, with ‘ACO‘ calling into the stream on Sunday in order to discuss trans rights. The end result of Hbomberguy’s efforts was $340,523.01 being generated for Mermaids in total.
Throughout the course of the stream, Hbomberguy was joined by the likes of Ocasio-Cortez, Chelsea Manning, Doom and Wolfenstein creator John Romero, Jim Sterling, and Donkey Kong 64 composer Grant Kirkhope, who even provided listeners with a voice clip of DK saying “trans rights, okay!”
Though a wide range of personalities joined the stream, it’s Ocasio-Cortez’s appearance that has generated the most discussion. Initially, AOC tweeted out her support of Hbomberguy’s efforts to her 2.5 million followers. However, the Democrat would later hop in the stream to add her support, telling viewers: “Trans rights are civil rights are human rights.”
Osasio-Cortez went on to voice her view on trans rights, saying: “What I think we have to reassert is that when we say equal rights for all, we mean equal rights for all, no asterisks, exceptions, fine print, nothing.”
Hbomberguy replied: “This is so fantastic to hear and I’m glad we got you on. I’d love to talk more about trans rights and the tax rate, but I need to ask: do you know how to turn on the power in Frantic Factory in Donkey Kong 64 because I’ve been here for hours and I don’t know to do it.”
Confessing that she wasn’t the best person to ask, AOC replied: “I do not, I’m sorry. Donkey Kong 64 is outside of my wheelhouse. I never owned an N64 though I do think it’s probably the best system out of all of them. I used to go to my cousin’s house all the time and she had Super Mario 64, Pokemon Snap, and probably a handful of other games. And that’s probably all I know how to play.”
When discussing transgender bathrooms, AOC also lamented that it wouldn’t be a controversial talking point if people simply “washed their hands” and “minded their own business.”
— Gene Park ✈️ TWITCHCON (@GenePark) January 20, 2019
Hbomberguy started the stream in response to UK comedy writer Graham Linehan’s pushback against Mermaids, which saw the Father Ted co-creator convince the National Lottery to reevaluate its funding of the charity. Linehan previously took to the forum Mumsnet in order to start a campaign against Mermaids, which saw other forum users bombard the National Lottery with emails criticizing the charity. As a result, the Lottery began the process of reevaluating its funding, with it looking unlikely that the funding will be reinstated amid the controversy.
Despite Linehan having been the unwitting catalyst of Hbomberguy’s charity stream, the writer continued to draw attention to the event on Twitter. When ACO tweeted that her followers support the Twitch stream, Linehan replied: “You really need to do more research on these things.”
In another tweet mocking the stream, Linehan said: “next week: some dude plays Mrs.Pacman for three days to raise money for bone saws.”
Those supporting the stream began tweeting #ThanksGraham in reference to the attention Linehan had brought to the stream, with his dedication to fighting against Mermaids having helped them generate over $300,000 to their cause.
In a video prior to the stream, Hbomberguy addressed Linehan’s efforts to defund Mermaids, saying: “Well done, Graham. You have a massive audience and the power to choose to fight for progress in all the many forms we need in the world right now, and you used it to make sure some children won’t have access to some helpful resources.”
Mermaids provides “family and individual support for gender diverse and transgender children and young people” within the UK. As the stream reached its conclusion on Sunday evening, Mermaids thanked those who had participated and supported the stream.
“We’re overwhelmed by all the love being felt for Mermaids, trans kids and the trans community tonight,” the charity tweeted. “Thank you Hbomberguy for making this happen. You are a hero! #LoveWins.”
Image Credit: Getty Images SAUL LOEB / Contributor