Given the number of times Hitler Pikachu is used here to talk about people accusing the gaming industry, gamers, and now this one E-Celeb who built his fame on gaming and vlogs, of fascism, racism, and white supremacy… It all seems to be getting a little out of hand.
Before we start: let me clarify that I do not watch Pewdiepie’s, whose real name is Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, content on any regular basis. Videos of his I have seen have only been when he very rarely talks about a topic of interest that I happen to want to listen to people’s opinions on. I just don’t like what he produces, which makes me not his target audience and definitely not a fan. I do not know enough about the man to personally hate him, but I do know enough about the internet to know he isn’t an anti-Semite or a white supremacist.
How is it possible to know this? No one says “Hitler did nothing wrong” or “kill the Jews”, as a one-line statement, in any seriousness. Those who are actually serious follow it up on a very regular basis with an attempt defend their reasons, with some convoluted and bias “logic”, or they try to deflect by talking about even “worse” things. Of course, trying to literally measure various humanitarian crimes against each other as your sole defense usually isn’t a good sign.
In other “twilight zone” news: Youtuber Sargon of Akkad jokes that the Daily Stormer should feature the writers from one of the newspapers falsely accusing Pewdiepie and it actually happens. Also: pol plants fake hate symbol in the form of ‘Trash Dove’ and outraged Facebook users take the bait.
So, by comparison, Pewdiepie is at the very worse the equivalent of a shock jock: at times ending up with a bunch of people offended, as he tries to get reactions, and consequentially subscribers. Was what he did stupid, considering it cost him his partnership deal with Disney? Yes: what Pewdiepie was doing was an incredibly bad idea, especially considering his young viewer base, and was obviously going to lead to people getting mad. We have seen it happen countless times before. Yet, in each situation that someone has said things similar to Pewdiepie, it has always been in jest: something the world should be used to by now considering the amount of faux outrage that happens over it every single time.
Considering how Disney has been accused of blatant racism in their older films, it might seem contradictory for them to be making decisions based on accusations. Go look up “Why is the red man red” or “Zippity Do Da”, even the crows from Dumbo have been identified by film experts in the past as stereotypes. There are arguments on both sides as to if the perceived racism was intentional or if it is a problem of these examples being seen through a modern perspective instead of in their historical context. Either way, even Walt Disney himself had been regularly accused of being anti-Semitic and a racist while he was alive and in death: making for a ridiculous situation all around.
So let’s wrap up this finger-pointing circle by letting a friend of Pewdiepie’s, who happens to also be a Jew, speak on the subject:
The bottom line is that Pewdiepie isn’t an anti-Semite or white supremacist, and these knee jerk reactions are more a part of the identity politics that thrive in the current political culture.