Felix Kjellberg, otherwise known as PewDiePie on YouTube, has recently found his way into the news once more for his latest controversy.
The Wall Street Journal proposed the idea that Kjellberg was an anti-semite, and that he was making it very apparent in his videos that he put out for the general public.
This isn’t the first time this idea has come to light, but this has most recently become an issue because of a video he recently put forth, where he had wanted to conduct a social experiment. There was a group of people who said that for five dollars, they would write whatever down on a sign and present it to the world.
Kjellberg paid these people to hold up the sign “Death to all Jews,” not thinking that the group would go through with it. When they did, he filmed and posted his reaction.
Out of context, this, of course, can seem really anti-semitic. A really famous YouTuber asserts themselves into the world with a video that contains “Death to all Jews.” Of course that’s going to draw up a lot of criticism.
However, in context, the video shows that he is shocked and disgusted, and advises against doing anything out of hate. Kjellberg makes it very apparent that he is not okay with the message that was presented, even though he was the one to originally propose it.
In the past, he was accused of being an anti-semite because of his half-assed attempt at jokes, but again always assures his audience to never hate, and never do anything out of hate.
Because of the Wall Street Journal’s story, Kjellberg has been dropped from his contract with Disney, and no longer is working on his series for YouTube Red.
I am normally the first person to stand up in the face of injustice; I’m that friend that educates about marginalized groups, and I promote love and equality. However, after reading the Wall Street Journal’s story, as well as watching Kjellberg’s response video, I’ve firmly made up my mind about where I stand on this.
I know as a creator of media, I am supposed to be completely on the side of the press, as I believe that most journalists do have a sense of integrity, and, largely, do not put forth things they don’t believe in 100 percent.
The article presented by the Wall Street Journal is nothing short of character defamation. I am not a regular watcher of Kjellberg, but admittedly I am a large fan of his girlfriend, Marzia, who posts different sorts of videos. We only see what is put forth by the two, but they largely seem genuine, and neither of their videos have ever had any kind of hateful messages in it.
While he isn’t the most sensitive with his jokes, to take away the very things he wakes up in the morning to do, it’s very disrespectful. While certain opportunities have been ruined for him and those he worked with, he fessed up and apologized if his jokes had offended anyone.
Of course, with his 53 million subscribers, PewDiePie will continue to be a commodity on YouTube; however, with this controversy, people may be reluctant to work with him in the future, leaving him unable to produce some creative content, and leaving those videos and ideas to be unseen by the world.
Regardless of whether you adore Kjellberg, or absolutely despise him, he has made an impact on the world in many, many ways. He has raised a lot of money for various charities, and oftentimes he will use his status to help other people.
It’s unfair to completely disregard the work that he has done just because of a newspaper article that took some of his mannerisms out of context. Always be aware of the bigger picture at hand.