PewDiePie has now edited the original offending video to remove his recommendation of the E;R YouTube channel and has commented on his recent video stating that he has removed E;R from the video, he would not have put that page in his recommendations if he knew about the bigoted content and will be more careful with his recommendations in the future.
PewDiePie is unfathomably popular, that much is undeniable. Felix Kjellberg has made an incredible amount of money by entertaining millions of people with his videos, so much so that even recently when T-Series (an Indian music label) was surpassing him in subscribers, his dedicated fans went out and literally campaigned for him. This has helped him retain his top spot on Youtube's subscriber list - for now.
The problem comes with what PewDiePie actually stands for and what he promotes to an undeniably large audience of young people. An issue comes with the fact that even a very small percentage of his audience may be influenced by his statements or what he endorses. This much has been proven in the past from other Youtube-related incidents in the past, such as TmarTn (Trevor Martin) and Syndicate (Tom Cassell) who lured underage and susceptible people into gambling.
Let me clear up a few things first. My opinion of PewDiePie is low. I've openly said that "I find him as amusing as a colonic irrigation" and other similar statements. My opinion of large YouTubers, in general, is low. Evidently, I'm the outlier here, he's incredibly popular and a lot of people advocate for him - as they have in the recent T-Series subscriber battle(?). Again, for disclosure, the only YouTubers I actively follow are Jim Sterling, Yong Yea and Sidalpha.
My aim here is simple - cover the recent news and also potentially offer a bit of advice to anybody who can think about recommending something to a wide audience if they happen to have one. This advice is simple - actually look at what you are bloody recommending. Seems obvious, doesn't it?
PewDiePie's New Controversy
The issue now comes from a video released two days ago (9th of December), where PewDiePie recommends a YouTube channel that goes by the name E;R. E;R is a channel that is quite abysmally anti-semitic, amongst other things, from anybody who is unfortunate to have seen some of their videos. This includes a terribly anti-semitic video here as well as a homophobic video here. Other videos, including a removed 'review' of Get Out, are just a collection of bigoted crap.
Strangely, from the footage shown in his video, it appears that Felix hasn't even viewed the videos he recommends (video essay on Death Note, which he "really, really, enjoyed"). I can actually believe that as well, as the second part of the Death Note videos begins by stating:
Now guess which race the majority of Death Wish's producers are responsible for the race bending are.
No, not what you're thinking you f-ing N-words.
He isn't stupid enough to recommend this after actually watching that, is he? Maybe so, considering he has certainly viewed videos, or at least clips from the channel in the past despite actually stating he was against the video's content and message.
Yo, an edit of mine got into a Pewdiepie video. I think he liked it. pic.twitter.com/lN8w2aVguM
— E;R (@EsemicolonR) January 6, 2018
We don't honestly know if PewDiePie watches this channel, though his endorsement and former clip may indicate he watches some of it. In that case, recommending it brings about a more troubling issue.
Annoyingly, following his recommendation subscribers to that channel have increased significantly. Over 22.5 thousand subscribers in the previous three days, which sadly links into the fact that PewDiePie is a person with segments of his audience that are easily influenced. As such, recommending places like this is undoubtedly a terrible thing to do.
A Link to the Past
I stated at the start of this piece about one problem being "what PewDiePie actually stands for". This recommended channel is buried in a list of others, but it's undeniably bigoted and links into problems with PewDiePie's past.
Notably last year, Felix saw ties being cut by major companies like Disney and Google following the Wall Street Journal asking questions related to a collection of racist or anti-semitic comments (or jokes, as he claims) made in his videos. The most notorious of these was a video in which he had paid two people to hold up a sign stating "Death to all Jews" as well as paying somebody who portrays Jesus to say "Hitler did nothing wrong". All of this was, he stated at the time, to show how far you could push the boundaries using sites like Fiverr.
He also said of Fiverr after the site temporarily blocked the account of the Jesus portrayer "Isn’t it ironic that Jews found another way to f— Jesus over?"
One of the more recent controversies came from late last year where he used a racial pejorative (N-er) on a live stream. In that situation, I can genuinely believe it a misguided slip at a time of anger and frustration, though the worst word possible. My word in situations of anger during a game begins with C. It isn't Cabbage or Carrot. Of course, he apologised.
Earlier this year he also apologised for tweeting an image regarding Demi Lovato and buying heroin shortly after her reported overdose. These tweets, including the apology, have since been removed.
With this current controversy, though, it's hard to imagine a simple apology being enough. It's yet another in what is now a long string of issues from him and context is key. An explanation of how somebody with the history he has, recommending such a channel, is essential. How he can and will explain it is another matter altogether.