PewDiePie, the world’s most popular YouTube broadcaster with over 57 million subscribers, is back once again making racist comments.
The broadcaster, real name Felix Kjellberg, lost a lucrative contract with Disney earlier this year after posting anti-Semitic content and making repeated references to Nazis in videos.
This time around Kjellberg, who is known for being the best-paid YouTube star, used the word n*gger during a live-stream video playing of Player Unknown Battlegrounds. The clip below — warning: contains many expletives — captures the moment.
Kjellberg later remembered he was live-streaming. His co-broadcaster played down his “weird filter” as a result of him being foreign — in other words a person who doesn’t speak English as a first language.
There’s no excuse for racism.
There’s also no language barrier here, as anyone who has listened to previous PewDiePie broadcasts will know. In fact, Sweden — where Kjellberg is from — is famous for the highest level of fluency for English as a second language worldwide.
Kjellberg has a history of making racial statements, which is massively concerning given his audience includes viewers who are young and impressionable.
Back in February, Disney withdrew its contract for the star while YouTube dropped him from its subscription-base Red service in response to nine videos containing anti-Semitic clips or Nazi-related images.
They included one skit in which Kjellberg paid a Sri Lanka-based group of men to hold up a sign that read “Death to All Jews,” while another featured a clip of a man dressed as Jesus saying that “Hitler did absolutely nothing wrong.” Kjellberg used freelance job finding site Fiverr for both clips. He argued that he wasn’t serious with either and instead wanted to show the things people will do for money.
As I wrote earlier in the year, this all may be a joke to Kjellberg but responsibility comes with his influence.
While Kjellberg argues that his content is apolitical, his huge audience, the largest of any channel of YouTube, brings with it a certain level of responsibility on content and messages. That’s particularly true given the large number of children and young people who watch YouTube, and in particular his channel, and may lack the kind of historical context and understanding that Kjellberg assumes them to have.
If there were excuses for the Nazi clips, there really are none for using the word n*gger. And already the internet community is fighting back.
Sean Vanaman, whose Campo Santo studio develops popular game Firewatch, said he intends to file DMCA reports to remove all videos and streams of Kjellberg playing his company’s title.
Vanaman, who said PewDiePie streams of Firewatch gaming had generated 5.7 million views, urged others in the industry to take similar action.
“He’s worse than a closeted racist: he’s a propagator of despicable garbage that does real damage to the culture around this industry,” he wrote in a series of tweets.