Unless you have been living under a rock, and that rock doesn’t have a good wifi signal, you will most likely know the incident involving the Swedish YouTuber.
A few days ago, in the middle of a live-stream of PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds, Felix aka Pewdiepie blurted out the N word when insulting someone else in the match. Quickly he then tried to cover it up and briefly apologized in the same video. This is the second controversy that Pewds has been through in the past year. Earlier this year, he used the website Fiverr and paid two men 5 bucks to hold a s sign that said “Death To All Jews”.
So needless to say, the YouTube star has been on a fucking roll in 2017. Honestly people are vastly divided in how they want to react to the recent slip up, the clear path through this whole situation is unknown and murky at best. A majority of people, the knee jerk reacting folks, are quick to bash him, call him a racist and worst of all, some game developers (Campo Santo of Firewatch) are calling for copyright strikes. As of this writing Campo Santo have in fact pushed it through and removed Pewds Firewatch play through from his channel.
The Other half are those who defend him, long term fans of the Let’s Player and just some random writers online all believe that it was a ‘heat of the moment’ slip up and that he shouldn’t be demonized for what he may or may not have said. Others have defended him by simply saying “It’s just Pewdiepie being Pewdiepie, which is kind of the worst way to defend someone in a situation like this, but hell who am I to judge.
Where Do I Stand?
To be clear, I do not condone the use of racial slurs by anyone, no matter race, gender, nationality. I generally shy the hell away from people who use these words of hatred in everyday life. I wont say it and I don’t intend to be caught slipping up saying it because I can’t bring my self to say any of them without feeling horrible.
That said, I understand heat of the moment slip ups, I know everyone has an “Oh Shit!” word, and in fact I know someone else who has the N word as her OS word and she’s white as porcelain. The difference between her and Pewds is that she is unapologetic about the whole thing, she doesn’t care who hears her and doesn’t care if it offends people, Pewds on the other hand felt some kind of instant remorse when it slipped.
Trick of the Tongue, he messed up and said it. There is no going back from that but getting better or just fading out of the spotlight. Yeah it was in the heat of the moment, I’ll concede that argument, but having that word in your vocabulary at all is a little bit frightening and says something deeper is going on with you and the relationship to said word. Maybe Pewds is a “Closeted Racist” as some people are speculating, even though Campo Santo Dev said he might just be worse. The Anti Semitic video from earlier this year where he “joked” by paying those men to hold the sign, was enough to make you think he just might be.
To break it down, he had time after he came up with the idea, before he started shooting the video, before he wrote out the request to the men, and so on that maybe, just maybe this whole thing is a bad idea, that insulting a race of people like that might just be a bit racist. He had time and he failed to utilize that time to bring himself to a halt when doing the bit.
My takeaway is that he might just be closeted in his racist beliefs and if that’s the case I feel sad for Pewdiepie, but hey who knows, maybe he has just be fueled by the darker side of the internet and gaming where that word is tossed around like a hacky sack during lunch hour and subconsciously he has been ingrained with these words and ideas that he feels he just pushing the envelope and nothing more till the backlash ensues.
Honestly I can’t tell you what it is, and like most people, I can only speculate what he has going on in his head. I can say that maybe, closest racist or not, he and other Youtubers need to be held accountable.
Keeping Them Honest
The wake of both events, the one earlier this year and the one a few days ago, resulted in some pretty big losses to the Pewdiepie channel. After the “Death To All Jews” incident, Disney cut it’s support for him as well as YouTube dropped his show off the premium service, with his N bomb incident Firewatch dev took down his video of their game, as I mentioned above and more possibly looming on the horizon.
But is that really a Bad thing?
I mean, yeah however this ends up turning, it could have been a slip up and Pewds could be a decent human being corrupted by the dark side of things, or he could be as the other half see him and just be an absolute monster, so why don’t we take both roads as far as punishment?
In school, when kids would get into fist fights, no matter who was defending or who attacked first, both kids got in trouble, and worst case scenario they were suspended or expelled. At least that’s how it was in my school, could have been way different in some of yours.
The idea isn’t lost on me though, whether he is a racist or a nitwit, he should get slapped on the wrist, so to say, no matter what. It was a live-stream, he knew the consequences when he was going on, because he’s probably played off camera hundreds of times and if he messed up then he knew he would mess up live. So punish accordingly, in fact all Youtubers should be held accountable for what they do. Sure there are laws and rules of YouTube that I don’t dare dream to understand, and some people are perfectly fine with saying and doing things like this and no one bats an eye.
That’s the problem though, no one gets concerned until someone with more Subscribers than most get involved and people can find a way to spin the story. It’s always worst case scenario when the most popular, and oldest, channels get involved.
The problem is that no one starts reprimanding people from the bottom to the top, they let the low hanging channels get away with stuff because the media isn’t all over it (yet) or they just don’t see them do the ridiculous things they’ve been doing because they aren’t people like Pewdiepie or Markiplier, two of the bigger names in gaming on YouTube. So why don’t we start treating everyone equally and start spanking all of our kids, not just when the oldest acts up.
Maybe if a racial slur is uttered a suspension on their channel for a few days. It may not seem like a lot but for people who monetize their work, a few days can mean losing plenty of money. I’m not saying I’m ok with taking some Youtuber’s livelihood away from them, but there has to be some sort of accountability where things don’t get this out of hand when a bigger channel goofs up.
I don’t have a clear solution, nor do I think anyone else out there might, but maybe it’s time we start thinking about it. Because whether he meant to or not, Pewdiepie has insulted two races now within one year, and has had huge failings with other companies because of it. Maybe it’s time it stop being news because it only gets noticed once in a while. Maybe it’s time to start holding Youtubers to a certain level decency from the get go.
Now I’ll probably get hate from tons of YouTube stars, and I can understand why. I don’t want you to stop making content or stop making your living off of it but I also don’t feel like we should give people any more fuel to bash on not only the YouTube scene but the gaming industry. All I’m asking is holding yourself accountable for what you say and do. You do have tons of influence over your fans, hence the Pewds fans protecting him saying “Pewds gonna Pewds” basically. Just be mindful, maybe someday we wont have to wake up and see another Youtuber in a slam piece by the Wall Street Journal.
P.S.: A friend of mine just released his first (I think) album, it’s House music, but I seem to love it and it helped me break my writers block so I want to support it here. So I’ll post some links to it below!
Please do go give him a listen and maybe pick up the album. I love his work