I’m not saying people shouldn’t be straight, I just don’t need their culture shoved in my face all the time. Lately, I’ve been inundated with some PewDiePie nonsense and I just can’t deal anymore, folks. Apparently PewDiePie, the most highly-subscribed YouTuber, is in the news this week because he might soon be losing that title. Even more hilarious is that PewDiePie might lose his title to an Indian music company called T-Series. To fight back against losing his throne, PewDiePie has started a campaign to keep himself the most highly-subscribed person on YouTube.
If you’ve been delightfully unaware of Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg up until this point, I’m sorry to burst your bubble. His YouTube channel originally gained a lot of success from his comedic videos about gaming. The funny video game genre of YouTube video is wildly popular today among straight nerd fan boys and that is partially because of the mark that PewDiePie has left on the platform.
Unsurprisingly, Kjellberg’s fame and success have not come without controversy — aka racism and Nazi imagery. According to the Wall Street Journal, nine videos between August 2016 and February 2017 had Nazi or anti-Semitic content. In one video, Kjellberg hired people from a freelance site to hold up a sign that said, “Death to all Jews,” so you know, that’s something. Because of these videos, Kjellberg ended up losing a partnership with the Disney-owned Maker Studios. But it didn’t stop there. Later in 2017, Kjellberg got called out for yelling the n-word at an enemy during a stream of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.
But of course, his straight gamer fans immediately came to his defense, claiming that he was just stressed or frustrated. As with most of the content creators in his section of the internet, when they do something offensive, no matter who in the world responds negatively to it, their mostly male audiences will do pretty much nothing.
PewDiePie has always been an interesting symbol for a larger conversation taking place online. Because PewDiePie isn’t owned by a network or a media company, there is kind of nothing to stop him. YouTube has proven time and time again with some of their biggest channels like PewDiePie and Logan Paul that little will be done to punish them when they do something offensive or inappropriate. The only people who can hold him accountable are his fans, and because majority of the people in his community are straight white men, that won’t be happening any time soon.
It would be one thing for PewDiePie to simply exist on YouTube, but he still, after all of this, remains completely supported. And not just by fans, but by other creators in the community. Just in this campaign, gaming YouTubers Jacksepticeye and Markiplier (who also started this really bad clothing brand together) encouraged people to subscribe to PewDiePie. Markiplier specifically had a livestream titled “I Literally Won’t Shut Up Until You Subscribe To PewDiePie” where he — with an admittedly sexy voice — ranted about the battle between these channels for nearly 50 minutes.
Something that I’ll give PewDiePie credit for is that during this campaign, some people were making racist remarks to T-Series, the Indian music channel, and in response, PewDiePie encouraged his fans to donate to Child Rights and You, a non-profit organization fighting against child labor in India.
PewDiePie said that he found these comments to be distasteful and unnecessary, but followed that up with saying “I’ve obviously made Indian jokes and stuff like that, but I do that of all countries and this is not what I’m about.” It’s hard to grasp that people, in 2018, still try to make a fine distinction between racist “jokes” and racist comments. Sorry friend, if you’re making fun of other countries and their people, you kind of have to take responsibility when your audience does the same.
With everything going on in the world, it’s more than slightly upsetting that this is what is taking up space. Like damn, is that what it’s like to not be marginalized? Is this the dumb stuff you get to spend time on? Sign me up. I have to admit, I would be thrilled if PewDiePie, with his racist history, was de-ranked by a bunch of brown people. It would prove that karma was very real and it was time for him to cash in. In short: Go subscribe to T-Series on YouTube.