PewDiePie Vs The Media
Earlier this year, the YouTube Community was shaken when Disney cut ties with PewDiePie, the most famous YouTube creator.
PewDiePie, real name Felix Kjellburg, was investigated my American Newspaper The Wall Street Journal. After investigating PewDiePie’s channel and finding anti-Semitic messages were being promoted in his videos, the Wall Street Journal approached Disney to see if they knew anything about it.
Among many other videos which were said to have anti-Semitic messages, the main one that got everyone’s attention was when PewDiePie used a website called ‘Fiverr’. On this website, you pay random people around the world a minimum of $5 to complete a ‘job’ for you.
Kjellberg, in what he says was to “show how crazy the modern world is”, asked two men in India to hold up a sign on video saying “death to all Jews”.
This, among other things, backfired massively for Kjellburg. Disney were forced to cut their ties. This also complicated his relationship with YouTube, who ended up scrapping the second season of his YouTube series ‘Scare PewDiePie’. He has since removed the video that got him into trouble in the first place, but as seen above, many people have reuploaded it. It is seen in the video that he is shocked that this request had been accepted, but the fact that he made the request in the first place is what dropped him in hot water.
Kjellburg has since released a statement to address the matter, as seen below.
The two men who held up the sign also faced repercussions. The men known as ‘Funny Guys’ were fired from the ‘Fiverr’ website for fulfilling Kjellburg’s request. They also released a statement of apology.
The result of this incident caused a split between the Y0uTube community. While the majority of content creators were on Kjellberg’s side, some of the viewers were unimpressed, with many members of the community saying they were offended by his actions.
Yet, there were just as many who jumped to his aid, with the hashtag #IStandWithPewds being born.
Another nail in Kjellberg’s coffin was the people who publicly praised him for his actions, adding fuel to the anti-semitic accusations. Neo-Nazi and White Suprematist organisations had looked through Kjellberg’s video and picked out signs they believed signified him being a Nazi supporter; noting a change of hairstyle and glasses were similar to ones members of the Nazi regime had. This led to them praising Kjellberg for his anti-semitic comments, only making his reputation worse.
Despite how serious the accusations were, a lot has blown over since then. It seems that by not fighting back and not defending himself, Kjellberg managed to clean his reputation by owning what he did and openly admitting he was wrong, but apologising by saying this was never his intention. Also, the support he received from fellow creators helped to get his channel back on track.
This story was interesting because it seemed to escalate out of nowhere. One day PewDiePie was just a creator, the next he was being accused of being a Nazi sympathiser. This is not an accusation that is often heard of, which is why it blew up so much. Regardless of whether people are offended or not, the mistake was resolved and PewDiePie’s channel is still going as strong as it was before. However, it was a wake-up call to creators about how much influence they have over their communities, and how they have a duty as a creator to promote nothing but positivity, even if they felt it was too silly to be considered serious.