So unless you’re a 13-18 year old fanboy, you must be one of the rest of us that are fully conscious of how terrible PewDiePie really is. Unless you’re one of the few blissfully unaware of his existence at all. To you, I say I’m sorry, for I’m about to enlighten you…
His real name is Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, and he’s a Swedish video gamer (a shit one, mind you) and Youtuber with over 50 million followers (wtf), who has previously been associated with big brands such as Disney and YouTube before he was dropped for spouting Anti-Semitic remarks during his videos. Many believe these were taken out of context, but he felt he needed to apologise for them afterwards, so…
Regardless, he’s still basically the biggest internet celebrity in existence thanks to this overwhelming popularity with the above mentioned demographic. Unfortunately for him, due a large portion of his videos being live streams, he’s been unable to mask what a flaming arsehole he is at all times, and recently let slip the N-bomb during a live stream of UNKNOWN PLAYER BATTLEGROUNDS, when he found himself suddenly surprised by another player during a gunfight, responding instantaneously with a long line of F-word expletives and the aforementioned no-no term.
‘What a fucking n*****. Oh my god, what the fuck?’ Kjellberg said in the video.
He then added: ‘I don’t mean that in a bad way.’
Nice on, Brah!
Honestly, it’s so painful to watch. He even went for the Hard “R”. Cringe.
As a prolific online gamer myself, I can appreciate the situations in which terms you would otherwise never say can find themselves actualised. You don’t have to play a game for long before you find yourself going back at people out of sheer primal reaction, and providing you’re sticking to a basic set of respectful boundaries and terms, you can be fairly confident you’re never going to be hurting anyone; not really.
But there is a real toxicity in gaming culture, and the majority of it is situated around marginalising minority groups. We see an under-representation of minority groups within mainstream gaming as it is, but it’s no more obvious an issue than it is across an online battlefield. Even games you may think were safe zones such as Rocket League are in fact spawning grounds for the abhorrent, aggressive and assaulting.
Why does it matter that this guy let the N-word go on a live stream when so many others do it on a minute by minute basis across a multitude of platforms and games? Well when we hear some random guy (or gal) across a microphone start slagging off the gay community or making attacking comments (I won’t call them jokes) about paraplegics or cancer or terrorism, or indeed race – it’s bad. It’s not what we want to hear, but we know and expect it from this community. A community hiding behind a barrier of anonymity, and we know that these gutless fucks wouldn’t have the balls to say one thing out in an open forum, and they always remain safe because of it.
PewDiePie is a victim of his own success. The fact of the matter is that he is (or can be) one of these people and yet he’s rewarded for the part he plays in the gaming community. He’s got to be on best behaviour at all times sure, but if even he can’t reign in the racial remarks whilst streaming to a potential 50 million plus impressionable 13-18 year old kids, then when the hell will he? If this is what comes out in his live videos, what the hell is he editing out of his recorded ones? Were he not as successful as he is, would he not be just one more of these poisonous fuckwits polluting the gamewaves with crass Mum jokes and tactless name calling? It’s looking more and more like he would.
He’s got a responsibility to these kids, and he’s fucking useless.
I’m not one to rant about causing offence. I’m very liberal in what I believe to be valid comedy, and I don’t believe causing offence is reason enough to stop doing something brilliant and entertaining. The finest comedians are beautifully offensive. However, these writers, comedians, creators and personalities are intelligent human beings. They’ve explored their subject in detail, and they’ve found a way to joke about it without using it as an attack on those that are vulnerable. And of course, their target demographic is of someone much older, supposedly with the good sense to separate joke from reality, and know when humour is being used for humour’s sake.
PewDiePie is reported to have earned £11 million through YouTube last year alone, so he’s pretty set for life. But it still looks like he’s going to face some significant backlash over this latest screw up with a number of developers such as Sean Vanaman, the co-founder of games developer Campso Santo tweeting that he would be filing a copyright claim in order to force Youtube to remove PewDiePie’s video of Vanaman’s game Firewatch.
Good on you, Sean. Let’s hope we see some more of this. There are so many great streamers and video makers out there, why continue to make this rich prick richer?