About six months after getting in trouble for anti-Semitic “jokes” and pro-Hitler comments that were apparently totally cool if taken “in context” with the rest of his horrible sense of humor, excessively wealthy and excessively popular YouTuber PewDiePie is once again in trouble for saying something racist. As reported by Game Informer, PewDiePie—whose real name is Felix Kjellberg—was playing a game of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds recently on his YouTube channel when he dropped the n-word.
As seen in this clip, he does it quickly and casually, replacing it shortly after with the word “asshole,” which kind of gives the impression that it’s a word he’s said before. Of course, that short video probably leaves off the all-important context, which is the magic that makes every racist joke excusable, but he still clearly said the word. This latest dip into racism comes less than a month after PewDiePie decided to swear off Nazi jokes, calling them a “dead meme,” but now it seems like that was less about him learning to be a decent person and more about him simply protecting his brand.
Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg ( SHEL-burg, Swedish: [ˈfeːlɪks ²ɕɛlːˌbærj]; born on 24 October 1989), better known by his online pseudonym PewDiePie ( PEW-dee-py), is a Swedish web-based comedian and video producer. He is known for his Let’s Play commentaries and vlogs on YouTube.
Born in Gothenburg, Sweden, PewDiePie originally pursued a degree in industrial economics and technology management at Chalmers University of Technology. In 2010, during his time at the university, he registered a YouTube account under the name PewDiePie. The following year, he dropped out of Chalmers after growing bored with his degree field, much to the dismay of his parents. After failing to earn an apprenticeship with an advertising agency in Scandinavia, he then decided to focus on creating content for his YouTube channel. In order to fund his videos, PewDiePie began selling prints of his Photoshop art projects and working at a hot dog stand. PewDiePie soon gathered a rapidly increasing online following, and in July 2012, his channel surpassed one million subscribers.
Early on, PewDiePie was signed under the multi-channel network Machinima. After dissatisfaction with the network, he signed with Maker Studios, having his channel under Maker’s sub-networks Polaris, and later, Revelmode. Throughout his time on YouTube, PewDiePie has produced content that has been praised as genuine and unfiltered, but also been received as abrasive, and in some cases, met with controversy. As a result of an early 2017 controversy regarding allegations of anti-Semitism in several of PewDiePie’s videos, the Disney-operated Maker Studios ended their partnership with him, dropping him from their network. While he criticised the coverage of the situation and defended his content as jokes that were taken out of context, he conceded its offensiveness.
Since 15 August 2013, PewDiePie has been the most subscribed user on YouTube, being surpassed for a total of 46 days in late 2013 by YouTube Spotlight channel. Holding the position since 22 December 2013, the channel has over 57 million subscribers as of September 2017. From 29 December 2014 to 14 February 2017, PewDiePie’s channel held the distinction of being the most viewed of all time, and as of September 2017, the channel has received over 16 billion video views.
PewDiePie refers to his fanbase as the “Bro Army”, and individual fans as “bros”. Through his Bro Army fanbase, PewDiePie has raised money for charities. Due to his popularity, PewDiePie’s coverage of indie games has created an Oprah effect, boosting sales for titles he plays. In 2016, Time named him one of “The World’s 100 Most Influential People”. PewDiePie lives in Brighton with his girlfriend, Italian YouTube personality Marzia Bisognin.
PewDiePie did something racist again, indie developer decides to cut him off
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This latest racist incident is already causing problems on that front, though, as indie game developer Sean Vanaman (one of the people behind Firewatch) has decided to filed a DMCA takedown of any PewDiePie videos that feature content from Firewatch or any other games from its studio, Camp Santo. On Twitter, Vanaman said, “I am sick of this child getting more and more chances to make money off of what we make,” arguing that PewDiePie’s propensity for racism—regardless of whether or not he’s racist—hurts the entire video game industry.
At this point, PewDiePie hasn’t released a half-hearted apology video yet, but it’s probably in the works.