Stand-up comedian Hannibal Burress has created a stir among his left-leaning fan base with his public denouncements of Bernie Sanders’ call for national rent control. The squabble corresponded with his recent disparaging comments about Bernie Sanders on Instagram and his endorsement of entrepreneur and democratic candidate Andrew Yang. The confluence of events was enough to instigate a Twitter war.
Buress became famous for his involvement on popular millennial TV shows like Broad City and The Eric Andre Show, both known for their off-beat, boundary-pushing comedy. He was also credited with inadvertently instigating the watershed investigations of Bill Cosby through allusions to Cosby’s misconduct in his stand-up routine. Although shows likes Broad City and the Eric Andre show have demonstrated liberal sympathies, such as Broad City’s special episode starring Hillary Clinton or a famous Eric Andre Show bit where Andre trolled the RNC, Buress has never given indication that he shares the ideas of more leftist candidates like Bernie Sanders. Fans tweeted their disappointment that he instead endorsed Andrew Yang, and a handful of self-identified socialists began to criticize Buressfor owning property in Chicago. Some Twitter users were particularly upset to find out about a podcast where Buress admits to evicting all the tenants from his newly acquired building so that he could put the units on Airbnb, as recounted in an article on Complex. Here is where things got especially strange for Buress:
no lie pic.twitter.com/e1UHrWZOZN
— toyotathon but sexy (@JoywaveFan3) October 25, 2019
Similar to Bret Stephen’s bed bug break-down, by direct messaging users with low follower counts and little clout, Buress escalated an issue that otherwise would have stayed relatively niche. He created fodder for his critics to dig into, and then doubled-down, replying to angry messages publicly and tweeting links to donate to landlord associations.
The small-scale Twitter feud illuminates the escalation of tensions between landlords, property owners and renters. Years-long complaints about rising rents in renter-heavy cities like New York are now generating tangible legislation that bristles the cities’ brokers and investors and yet still doesn’t seem far enough for many tenants. Now in the election cycle, these concerns are reaching the national stage through candidates like Sanders.
Buress has recently released a video in response to a controversy that has since spiraled out of control. Buress casually addresses fans from his desk, interspersed with occasional clips of music. He admits that the public feuding with fans was, as some suspected, part of a publicity stunt before his soon to be released Miami Nights special. He denies being a landlord, on the basis that the open units (excluding the one occupied Buress himself) are being let as Airbnb’s, not as rentals, but he also maintains, “I don’t think being a landlord is completely evil, and you m*********rs that keep sending me pictures of Maoare crazy.”
Buress also asks his mostly-white critics to be more aware of race, especially in the shadow of the United States’ ugly history of stunting black wealth, and white race riots that obstructed black property ownership for decades, tweeting out links that explain the issue in depth. “I’m being made to feel like an a*****e by like 20-something white kids for trying to secure my financial future as a black man, when it was your great-great-grandfathers and whatnot that have put these systems in place to cripple the black dollar overtime, and you should look into that and different practices like block busting and all types of just terrible banking that have been done over years to make the real estate situation for blacks terrible especially in cities like Chicago,” Buress says in his video. “So yeah just do some do some real research and looking to who really is running to the real estate s**t, and who’s truly destroying s**t, because it surely a the m**********r that just started making money six years ago that got a 3-unit apartment building Chicago. It ain’t me.”