One of YouTube’s biggest stars is in trouble again for making racist remarks, as PewDiePie uses the n-word in a livestream of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. This is far from the first time that the abrasive and controversial gamer has been called out for racist behavior on the streaming site, either. Earlier this year, PewDiePie came under fire for multiple anti-Semitic videos, including two men holding a sign reading “Death To All Jews”, clips of Hitler and animated swastikas, and a clip of a man claiming “Hitler did nothing wrong”.
The YouTuber later took the offending videos down, and responded to the allegations by saying ” I am in no way supporting any kind of hateful attitudes. … I make videos for my audience”. However, many felt that he was defending himself rather than apologizing and that his behavior wasn’t excusable – including Disney’s YouTube network, Maker Studios, who dropped the star after the controversy, and YouTube, who removed him from their scripted video channel. Now, he’s back in the headlines for another racist slur and it’s turning even more people in the gaming industry against him.
On Sunday, a video surfaced showing PewDiePie playing Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, a livestream Let’s Play video. At one point in the gameplay, PewDiePie is shooting on a bridge, and when another character does something that upsets him, he bursts out with “what a f-ing n-word, jeez, oh my god, what the f-? What a f-ing asshole”. The clip was quickly recorded and posted to multiple channels, where it was seen by game developer Sean Vanaman, who lashed out with a promise to file take-down notices on any videos of PewDiePie playing his games.
We're filing a DMCA takedown of PewDiePie's Firewatch content and any future Campo Santo games.— Sean Vanaman (@vanaman) September 10, 2017
I'd urge other developers & will be reaching out to folks much larger than us to cut him off from the content that has made him a milionaire— Sean Vanaman (@vanaman) September 10, 2017
In the tweet thread, the co-founder of Campo Santo and creator of Firewatch called PewDiePie “a propagator of despicable garbage that does real damage to the culture around this industry”, and urged other game developers and studios to also file take-down notices. Brianna Wu, another game developer, also hit back at PewDiePie for his latest racist behavior, pointing out that it’s entirely possible to get worked up over a video game without using racist slurs.
RT if unlike PewDiePie, you don't start randomly screaming racial slurs while playing videogames.— Brianna Wu (@Spacekatgal) September 10, 2017
Of course, there are plenty of people quick to defend the YouTuber, claiming that he spoke in the heat of the moment and pointing out that emotions run high for most gamers. Ian Miles Chong called Vanaman’s response “a complete abuse of DCMA [copyright takedown]” and scathingly refers to it as “punitive social justice”, as PewDiePie’s videos are original content.
While those in the video game industry may debate the merits (and legality) of live streaming and playthroughs, this latest racial slur is likely to hurt PewDiePie’s career even more. After the controversy over his anti-Semitic videos broke, the gamer made a point of trying to distance himself from the far right and Nazi beliefs, but this latest video is sure to work against that. In other industries, this kind of behavior would often lead to dismissal from the workplace, but when creating online content, there is no-one to ‘fire’ PewDiePie, unless the sites that he uploads to decide to ban him for the use of this language – or if Vanaman has his way and game companies block him from uploading videos of him playing their games. Whether either of those things happens remains to be seen, and in the meantime, we can expect some kind of response from PewDiePie to this latest controversy soon.
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