If you’ve been playing online video games for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard some screechy, prepubescent voices throwing around racial and/or homophobic slurs at each other. If you’ve scrolled through YouTube’s gaming section for more than five minutes, you’ve probably scrolled past (or clicked on) a video by Felix Kjellberg, AKA “Pewdiepie”. And if you’ve paid attention to any news regarding Pewdiepie over the last few years, then you’re probably familiar with his habit of inserting racist comments and anti-semitic imagery into his videos, and then getting away with it like nothing ever happened.
To put into perspective just the amount of pull Pewdiepie has, he recently lost a partnership with Disney after the Wall Street Journal uncovered nine videos in which he posted anti-Semitic or Nazi-related imagery and videos. Nine fucking videos. This isn’t like, “whoops I scrolled past a fucked up tweet someone else RT’d while I was on stream”, or “whoops I had some random in my Xbox lobby who said some dumb shit on the mic and I don’t support that type of language”, this is Pewdiepie, a one-man brand with nobody else to point blame at, shouting the n-word – live on stream – for the entire world to hear. And what’d he say afterwords? A textbook “Whoops, sorry. I should know better, I’m an idiot, it slipped.” It slipped, my guy? It slipped? Lemme tell you something. The first time I ever said “fuck” in front of my mother, she FLIPPED her shit. When I tried to make the excuse that it “just slipped”, she said to me “If it just slipped, then you either use that language frequently enough that it’s on your mind, or you’re around people who use it too much”. So – which one is it, Pewdiepie? I’d love to know. I don’t know how shit in Sweden goes, but shouting the n-word at someone in the middle of the street like you do online probably won’t go so well, even if you tell the subject of your insult that it “just slipped”.
According to that same WSJ article I linked up above, Pewdiepie paid a group of guys to hold up a sign that said “Death to All Jews”. Okay. Another clip featured a man saying “Hitler did absolutely nothing wrong” while dressed like Jesus. Pewdiepie’s argument for this was that “he wasn’t serious” (cue up its_just_a_prank_bro.wav) and that he was trying to showcase the things people will do for money. Man, people really do say and do some crazy shit for money huh? Like, just to name an example at random:
What if the most popular and widely viewed gaming personality on the largest video platform on the internet repeatedly “slipped” racist, anti-semitic, purposefully offensive content just to get more views, subscribers, clicks, and above all else – ad revenue?
Pewdiepie has made a living off of provocative, loud, often controversial content, and that results in more attention for him. He just doubled up on his view count alone just by issuing (another) apology. Think about that. He’s getting paid to apologize. It doesn’t matter how long the video is, or what he says in it, but every type of engagement on that video – likes, clicks, shares, subscriptions – even negative comments result in more revenue for him.
So, in short – fuck Pewdiepie. I’m not saying every gaming personality has to be a role model, but if you’re in a position like Pewdiepie is, then you automatically are one. Know it or not, you’ve got kids in your comments (and probably an alarming amount of adults) who are attempting to reassure you that “it’s just a word” and that “people need to relax”. (Fuck them too, by the way.) This is a horribly large-scale example of the generation of keyboard warriors and online toxicity that continues to go unchecked in the gaming industry… And it needs to stop. Period.
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