It’s incredible how low the bar is for being the kind of person who thousands of children watch play video games is, and what’s even more incredible is how often certain YouTubers just can’t pass it. Take for example PewDiePie. PewDiePie went from being the YouTubers whose adventures we couldn’t wait to write about, to a guy who first got into trouble for paying people overseas into unsheathing a banner that says “Kill All Jews”, to saying the n-word during a livestream, to this latest controversy that shows PewDiePie might be a little too okay with anti semitism and racism, after he promoted an anti-Semitic YouTube channel at the end of his latest video.
At the end of his “Pew News” video (I know), PewDiePie, real name Felix Kjellberg, did a shout out to a YouTuber named E;R, saying “You also have E;R, who does great video essays. He did one on Death Note, which I really, really enjoyed.” As described on Verge, the Death Note video in question shows the unedited death of Heather Heyer in the Charlottesville attacks to illustrate how a death is handled in Death Note which is uhh… extremely gross! (Besides, in Death Note they die of a heart attack if you don’t write in the cause of death, so the video seems to be celebrating the death of Heather Heyer at the hands of white supremacists. Not something to show one’s mostly young fans).
The Verge article additionally describes a Steve Universe video that includes an unedited four minute speech from Adolf Hitler that had commenters praising E;R for uhh… opening them up to that.
E;R’s channel has grown by 15,000 subscribers since PewDiePie’s shout out. That makes 15,000 people who are either exposed to a white supremacist point of view or who have a place to strengthen their already existing bigoted point of view. The worst part is, this is nothing new for PewDiePie, as described above. What to him is a joke, for others is a reminder of the violent shooting in at the Sacred Heart Synagogue in Philadelphia that resulted in 11 Jewish people dead.
Anti Semitism isn’t a meme, and we can’t continue to treat PewDiePie’s anti semitism like a strange underground force that doesn’t have any consequence. Steve Bannon, the alt right writer turned ex-government official in Donald Trump’s cabinet, is credited with introducing the alt right to the mainstream. It was a hateful mode of thinking that he promoted in the internet’s back ends until it bursts into the mainstream. Snuffing out hatred like this when it’s nascent is key, and YouTube hopefully will do a better job of keeping hate such as this off its platform.
So any fans who are mad PewDiePie was kept out of YouTube’s Rewind… well. Maybe you guys should take care of this first, if this is such a concern for you. PewDiePie once called Nazis a “dead meme”. It is clear that despite what he says next, he has a tolerance for this kind of hate speech that easily crosses over into a promotion of it.
What do you think of PewDiePie’s spreading of an anti-Semitic channel? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.