Who's Really To Blame For PewDiePie's Downfall?
It came out this week that the most subscribed content creator on Youtube, PewDiePie, had been dropped from his brand deal with Disney’s Maker Studios, as well as being dropped from some of the major projects he had been doing with YouTube.
This came after several incidents where PewDiePie produced anti-semitic content, which included a video where he paid two Indian men to hold up a sign that read, “Death To All Jews”.
Kjellberg has since posted a video in response to the all of the press he received over the last couple of days, and in the video he goes on to talk about the problem of the media, and how during the entire time he has been on YouTube, all the media cared about was how much money he made.
PewDiePie creator, Felix Kjellberg, has been nothing short of torn apart by the media. Nearly every media outlet that has reported on it has used every name in the book to speak about the incident: Nazi. Anti-semitic. White Supremacist. Racist.
But if you really get down to the nitty gritty, is it really justified to completely hang Kjellberg out to dry? Is it really fair to just follow whatever the mainstream media is saying about him?
More surprising than PewDiePie’s sudden fall from grace is the fact that it took this long for the brands he works with to become fed up with his gamer-culture brand of humor. To anyone not familiar with gaming circles and their online culture, the hate-speech and I’m-just-joking dialogue is extremely common. Online-gaming communities are usually synonymous with anonymous, often-offensive platforms like 4chan and Reddit.
This is far the first instance of Kjellberg posting controversial content. In fact, that is a lot of what his brand is. Posting controversial content to show his large audience the hypocrisy that is the modern media. His whole brand was about pushing the envelope, seeing how far he can go. Last year he was even briefly suspended from Twitter for joking about joining ISIS.
Disney and Maker Studios surely knew the kind of content that Kjellberg produced when they approached him for a deal back in 2014, yet they decided to move ahead with the partnership anyway.
Should he really be penalized for continuing the behavior that essentially got him the deal with Disney and Maker Studios to begin with? If the Wall Street Journal didn’t push them into a corner and force a reaction out of them, would we even be talking about this right now?
Now do I agree with some of the things Kjellberg has done? Absolutely not. I firmly believe that it doesn’t matter the intent of the message; what matters is how someone feels about the message, but this is one instance where that doesn’t exactly work. Kjellberg knew that in order to get his message across, he needed to push the envelope. He knew he needed to make controversy to pull the curtain back on the media to his large audience.
Another factor that needs to be put into question is the media. Kjellberg makes a valid point when he says that the media loves to take what he says out of context.
Just a quick Google search brings up articles upon articles talking about all of the controversial content he has posted, completely taking things he had done out of context. The media knows exactly what it is doing. They know that he is a huge influencer, and anything involving his name is going to get a lot of traffic. It doesn’t matter what the article is about or if any of it is true, just as long as it gets traffic.
So who is really to the blame for PewDiePie’s current situation? Kjellberg may have gone over the line, but should Disney, Maker Studios or Youtube really be surprised? They created this monster. One thing is for sure, there’s plenty of blame to go around. I will be surprised if he loses any of his followers.
Everyone loves a comeback story, and Kjellberg is in probably one of the best positions he could hope for at this moment. It’s only a matter of time before he’s cast on Dancing With Stars and begins his inevitable comeback tour.