YouTuber PewDiePie apologized hours after posting a meme making light of Demi Lovato’s recent heroin overdose.
The meme is a webcomic with a character asking “mom can you give me money for burger” and the final panel showing the character actually buying heroin, “like a boss.” PewDiePie posted that meme, replacing the child character with Demi Lovato’s face.
Lovato was hospitalized on July 24 of an apparent drug overdose. She is currently in stable condition. She has openly struggled with drug abuse for years, though in March she said she was celebrating 6 years of sobriety.
A new single, “Sober,” released in June, appeared to admit that she’d relapsed, though she didn’t specify on what.
PewDiePie didn’t create the meme himself, and let’s be clear, he’s hardly the only person out there to be making light of Lovato’s overdose. There are many other similar memes being shared online. However many think that PewDiePie, with his audience as massive as it is, should set a better example.
Codey Humphrey wrote: “Addiction is something to be solved not laughed at so I think that influencers as big as pewdiepie should think before they speak especially when they have such young viewers”
Influencers online took him to task as well.
Jimmy Wong wrote: “come on bro, this is making light of something that a lot of humanity struggles with day in and day out, and countless families have been torn apart by it. Offensive humor for the sake of offensiveness isn’t edgy, it’s just lazy and destructive.” Many on Twitter were using the hashtag #PewDiePieIsOverParty to express their displeasure.
So, only a few hours after posting the meme, PewDiePie deleted the meme and apologized. He wrote: “Deleted meme. I didn’t mean anything with it and I didn’t fully know about the situation. I realize now it was insensitive, sorry!”
Look, I believe him that he didn’t mean to offend people with it, but that’s kind of the problem, isn’t it? If you know someone’s suffered with addiction and recently had a drug overdose, and you know people are very sensitive about that issue, shouldn’t you know better than to openly mock her?
Of course, it’s mostly a question of who his audience was for the tweet.
His regular audience on YouTube probably doesn’t find the meme very offensive at all. But posting it on Twitter, where many other creators follow him, is likely to expose it to an audience he might not have thought would see it.
Noobface makes this point well. He tweets:
Nobody tweeting #PewdiepieIsOverParty actually watched him beforehand so this drama will leave him untouched. Not one of his viewers actually gives a single shit, nothing is over lol
— Gnoob (@Noobface) July 26, 2018
Sure enough, PewDiePie’s subscriber count looks healthy as ever, and Felix Kjellberg does break down the facade from time to time in his videos. On July 24, the same day as Lovato’s overdose, he posted a video about the pressures of being a creator on YouTube, and how the drive to get more and more views can be a kind of addiction in itself.
So, with his understanding of that kind of pressure and the need to always do more, he might be in a unique position to understand addiction and not make light of it, to his own detriment, in the future.
What do you guys think? Do you accept PewDiePie’s apology? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.