Over the years, the internet has cultivated a new society of celebrities that thrive on the fresh landscape of online content. The most popular online streaming website, YouTube, has been at the forefront of promoting the so-called “online celebrities.”
Like all popular media, internet celebrities, especially those who do live streaming to go through the grindstone of public scrutiny even more as anything they say or do is immediately available for viewers to judge. This issue is even more evident in the recent incident involving YouTube’s highest paid streamer, PewDiePie.
Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, or better known online as PewDiePie, is under fire recently for using a racial slur during one of his gaming streams. Felix has become the godfather of the “Let’s Play” video genre in YouTube.
PewDiePie’s YouTube channel currently has more than 57 million subscribers, with videos garnering hundreds of thousands of views on average. The 27-year-old Swede was heard saying the “N-word” while he was playing a game of “Firewatch” in one of his live video streams, the BBC News reported.
The racial slur was blurted out during a frustrating moment in his game, after which he said, “I don’t mean that in a bad way.”
This would not be the first time that Felix is being scrutinized for his remarks, as he had previously defended himself over anti-Semitism allegations. On another occasion, his Islamic State jokes resulted in his Twitter account being suspended.
Back in February, one of his major sponsors, Disney, has cut ties with him as some of his videos were found to contain Nazi references or anti-Semitic imagery.
In a statement, Disney claims that while Kjellberg had a reputation for being provocative and irreverent, some of the videos he made were “inappropriate.” The controversial video was when Kjellberg paid two people through a crowd-sourcing website to hold up a sign that read “Death to all Jews”.
However, PewDiePie rejected the anti-Semitism claims and has further stated that while he admitted that the material was indeed offensive, he did not support “any kind of hateful attitudes”.
He also added that the anti-Semitism claims were “insane” and “unfair,” but apologized by saying, “I am sorry for the words I used as I know they offended people.”
The anti-Semitism claims against him led to YouTube’s cancellation of the release of PewDiePie’s new series, “Scare PewDiePie 2.”
Sean Vanaman, whose Campo Santo studio develops the game “Firewatch,” tweeted that he intends to file DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) reports in an attempt to remove all videos and streams of Felix playing his company’s title.
Other YouTube Celebrities have said their piece regarding PewDiePie’s recent racial slur use, with a majority of them expressing how disappointed they were of what Felix did. Some pointed out the ramifications the issue could have on the entire YouTube community.
There are still others who expressed support for Felix such as “FaZe Banks” who tweeted out that PewDiePie is obviously not a racist.
“Don’t let words run you. Words are words,” Banks added.
PewDiePie has also released a statement regarding his recent racial slur use and expressed his disappointment in himself stating that, “it seems I have learned nothing from these past controversies.”