The Obvious Hate and Double Standards Regarding PewDiePie
It was announced that Felix Kjellberg, better known by his nom de guerre of PewDiePie, has signed a deal to make YouTube the exclusive platform for his live-streams. A deal that makes sense for both parties given their shared interest and history. PewDiePie has the largest subscribers of any individual person on YouTube (it’s his home after all). Thus it’s in YouTube best interest to keep him on their platform and not take his 100 million subscribers to a competitor.
Yet that was not how most media outlets and commentators reported on the deal. Besides listing the facts, it became just another excuse to bash PewDiePie. It seems no matter what he does, every article about him has to dedicate a majority of the story to a few trivial controversies. The YouTube deal is no exception when it comes to their hate for PewDiePie. Most articles (like this or this) I stubble upon had a paragraph or two dedicated to the announcement while the majority was hyper focused on his past controversies. Some have even gone out of their way to brand him a white supremacists hero.
Two Sides of a Legacy
Let’s be clear about one thing, Kjellberg is no saint nor is he infallible. He has made mistakes and regrettable comments in the past. What he said and did were not acceptable and can’t be defended. Most infamous was when he once uttered the n-word during a stream and another time when he posted a few distasteful videos. These actions didn’t go unnoticed and it has cost him opportunities. He has never tried to excuse or justify his mistakes, he has owned up to it and apologized. It was a one time incident and he has learned his lesson while his fans have forgiven him.
But there is another side to his legacy that his critics always ignore.
For many indie developers, PewDiePie has been able to boost sales of their work. Any time he live streams their game, they have seen a boost in sales. Many indie studios don’t have a marketing budget and have to do the best with what they got. So when PewDiePie streams their work, it’s the marketing moment they need. Just for streaming for a few hours, he has given indie developers the attention they have worked hard to earn.
Outside the world of gaming, Kjellberg is known for his humanitarian work. He is well known for his charitable work and has partnered with numerous NGO’s. As of January 2020, he has raised $630,000 for Save the Children, $1.3 million for (RED) and $30,000 for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) just to name a few examples. Even during his competition with T-Series, he turned it into an opportunity to raise funds for Children Rights and You (CRY).
The Double Standards in Morality
Yet many of his critics act like Kjellberg is a Grand Wizard of the KKK who murders puppies for giggles. No matter what he does, it always becomes an excuse to bash on him. Even an article covering his wedding became an excuse to depict him as a white supremacist.
At first glance, this hate for PewDiePie seems to come from a moral high ground. Yes, saying racial slurs in the open public has been shunned by polite society. However, if you read other articles from the same news outlets about other commentators and streamers, you notice a double standard. The same media outlets that bash Kjellberg for any reason also seem to go above and beyond to defend those who have a toxic history. These are individuals who have a history of that includes sexual assault and animal abuse.
Take for example this article about Logan Paul selling his couch and notice the absence of his past controversies. Among those controversies are his infamous video in the Aokigahara Forest of Japan, when he used a racial slur during a Twitch Stream, or the “Taser Video” (you could learn more from this Watch Mojo video). The same could be said about this article about Jake Paul marriage with his past controversies also omitted. Controversies such as when Hannah Forcier claimed she was sexually harassed at his mansion or his “The Financial Freedom Movement” (which has been dubbed questionable) and the numerous times he has used racial slurs.
Finally lets look at the crowning achievement in this double standards, when Buzzfeed defended animal abuse and bashed PewDiePie. Let’s go back to when Natalia “Alinity” Mogollon was accused of abusing her cat during a Twitch stream. While many were calling for the platform to remove her, this article portrayed the backlash as as “anti-gamer girl” movement and shoehorned in a section dedicated to attacking PewDiePie.
A Toxic Outlook
Now I’m no sociologist but I’m 100% sure that a pattern of harmful and toxic behavior makes saying a racial slur one time five years ago look very trivial.
Obviously there is a double standard when it comes to depicting PewDiePie. This unhealthy hatred only harms the credibility and integrity of the media outlet. When an article is clear that it has a hate for an individual (for petty reasons) I have to question their integrity or ethical practices. Everyone has an opinion or bias, but it belongs in an OpEd and not a news story.
This is not to say the media should ignore his bad behavior (far from it). The media have an obligation to hold him accountable and other public figures accountable. Consistently shoehorning in several paragraphs of controversy that happen five years ago (when it’s not relevant) is a petty vendetta. Also undermining the media outlets credibility is when they give a pass to those who have done worse.
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