In Defense of PewDiePie | The Epitome of What's Wrong with the Media and Out of Context Journalism



Yesterday on my Google news alerts, I saw PewDiePie mentioned in an article by Kotaku entitled "PewDiePie Has To Explain That His $50,000 Pledge To An Anti-Hate Group Is Legit" (click the link to open the article in a new window).

My first instinct (being the insufferably anti-PC, headline reading libtard oxymoron I am) was to simply get annoyed by yet another absurd implication that anyone should be obligated to "explain" anything they do (as long as it's legal). Especially if that thing is a good deed, as this headline implied. If it's to the point where you're interrogating people over what motivated them to help old ladies across the street, your paranoia has officially gotten out of hand. I mean, how bottom-the-barrel are people going to get in their conspiratorial endeavor to find things to be outraged over?

Anyway, the articles and hoopla around the donation are all fairly boring. Pewds pledged to donate to a anti-hate charity that, while undoubtedly does some good in the world, is also one of the many groups which mistakenly spreads nonsense about PewDiePie being part of the hate himself. The media is going after him for no reason and his fans are conjuring up ridiculous conspiracy theories left and right. It's a hurricane of silliness that'll blow over soon enough. So I'm not going to be talking about that specifically. It's nothing. Honestly.

That being said, the media reaction, comments (particularly the ones I saw on this article), and mentality behind all this further emphasizes a dangerous section of societies cognitive malfunctions in regards to both conspiratorial thinking and the overly PC movements going on today. And how the so-called "good guys" spouting this stuff are continuing to (ironically) be one of the biggest victimizers of our culture (not dissimilar to the self-righteous religious groups who think they're doing God's work while picketing homosexual funerals and laying waste to abortion clinics). The road to hell is paved with good intentions. And, in this case, the person being victimized is Felix Kjellberg, a.k.a., PewDiePie. A guy in a room, making silly jokes in front of a camera (scary, I know).

"Oh, boo-hoo," I hear you scoffing. "The poor little rich YouTuber is getting picked on." To which I respond: Yes. "Boo-hoo". A human being is being repeatedly slandered, having his name dragged through the mud, having his career interfered with, and is constantly being targeted for social ostracization on a global scale by people who refer to themselves as the news. The victim of such treatment doesn't need to be poverty-stricken for us to realize this is a highly unethical problem that should be addressed. Being rich and famous doesn't make a person open season for victimization.

After mulling my frustration over a bit, I felt motivated to pull out the ol' keyboard and blab about some thoughts I had over the situation. Not the current PewDiePie "scandal" itself, exactly (which will undoubtedly be forgotten before the week is over), but by the mentality in which this article represents, an explanation of PewDiePie's various past scandals, and how much of a problem there is within today's media.

PewDiePie's favorite picture
First of all, I should probably preface this for anyone not aware of who PewDiePie is (I'm looking at you, WSJ).

PewDiePie, a.k.a. Felix Kjellberg, is the most subscribed-to individual video creator on the second biggest website on the internet, YouTube. With over 100 million subscribers to his name, he started his channel off with simple gaming videos and, over the years, has since become more of a comedic personality and social commentator. His content now includes such things as reading and reacting to popular memes and trending news (particularly YouTube related news) and basically just putting on a funny show, acting silly, watching funny videos, laughing at things, and making off-the-cuff jokes.

Yes. That's it. That's public enemy #1. Tosh.0 without the scripting.

Like many from his generation (and like many comedians as a whole, for that matter), his humor is often on the edgy and ironic side. And, just as so many other comedians have experienced in recent years, he's gotten in a lot of trouble due to it.

Why so much trouble, you ask? No one could say, for certain. But perhaps it boils down to something as simple as his popularity. Being the biggest part of the biggest website on the planet is no small potatoes, after all, and, as Michael Jackson once aptly put it, "The bigger the star, the bigger the target."

But what exactly is the worst of the accusations against PewDiePie?
.

Scandal #01: Using the "N-Word" 


An article screencap of PewDiePie's first scandal
What Happened?

On January 5th, 2017, PewDiePie posted a video called "I WON AN AWARD" (video below) where he reacted to winning the number 18 spot on someone's "100 Most Handsome Faces" list on YouTube. During his joke celebration at not being ugly, he exaggeratedly cheered "Ooh! 18! 18! 18 nigga!" The entire, traumatizing ordeal lasted all but 4 seconds. And as you can see from the screenshot above (see the full article here), the internet was outraged.

The Clip (the horror starts at the 01:50 mark")

My Thoughts

He said "nigga" in a funny way in which you've heard people in TV, movies, and music say it numerous times before. And he clearly did so in a joking manner as part of his mock celebration (as this is a funny way we've heard many people excitedly react). As usual, though, when someone uses the n-word in any manner, sides remain divided as to what's "okay" or not.

Regardless of anyone's individual feelings on this word as a whole, however, the question in this instance should ultimately become: did this particular persons use of the word, in this particular situation, imply a hatred, dislike, or general antipathy toward the African American race? Personally, I find it difficult to believe anyone would assume this.

At most, the only issue here is that PewDiePie, aware of his fame, should have anticipated the number of people out there who would target him for using a word such as this in any context. Again, however, the context in question is obviously a non-racist one. And this use of the word, like it or not, is embedded into the cultural zeitgeist of most millennials growing up in the era; not in an antagonistic or disparaging way, but simply in a lexiconical one. Incidentally, due to the primarily African American music and other media they respect and enjoy.

Scandal #02: Paying Fiverr Users to Say "Death to All Jews" 



This one was a biggie. And, to this day, one that many still use as the primary example of why PewDiePie is truly, unforgivably antisemitic. Brace yourselves, folks.

What Happened?

On January 11, 2017, PewDiePie made a video in which he showcased the website Fiverr, where random people will do a whole assortment of random stuff if you just pay them a couple of dollars. They'll record themselves doing impressions, singing happy birthday for you, put random messages for you on signs, finish your homework, give you Hebrew lessons, and so on and so forth. The possibilities are seemingly limitless in their eclectic absurdity.

PewDiePie, noticing this, thought it was pretty crazy that a website such as this existed and decided to make a video testing those limits, trying to see what weird stuff these people would do for a mere five bucks. He asked one lady to make a graph for him in the shape of a penis, for instance, he asked a guy who dresses like Jesus if he'd say "Subscribe to Jacksepticeye 2",  and he asked someone claiming to do "any bizarre challenge you want" to drink bleach.

You'd think it would be this last one that got PewDiePie in trouble. But no.

What Pewds got himself in hot water over was when he asked some Indian guys (who offer to say your message in the jungle) to say "Death to all Jews". And, to Pewds surprise, they actually did it.

While the video was hilarious, the news nevertheless lost their shit, which eventually lead to PewDiePie removing it. I found this reupload of it that someone put online, however, so check it out below if you want to see what all of the hubbub is about.



My Thoughts

This incident was picked up by pretty much everyone everywhere. In fact, it's the entire reason I even found out who PewDiePie was. Before this, I'd just assumed he was another screaming Let's Player or shallow, Jersey Shore-type online reality show guy, who was popular on YouTube for the same reason any Kardashians was ever popular: because people are dumb and easily entertained by other dummies. So, when I heard about him doing something racist or antisemitic, I just assumed it was true. Why wouldn't I? Everyone was saying it. Why would the news say it if it wasn't true? Plus, this guy is a blonde-haired, blue-eyed Swede who looks like every other Nazi on Schindler's List. He's basically the poster child for white supremacy. The narrative fit so perfectly.

In retrospect, after all my experiences looking into of the whole Michael Jackson fiascos (and this subsequent article I wrote about it when I was even more of a noob writer than I am today) I admittedly should have known better than to so hastily accept rumors and headline accusations of white supremacy as truth. But I'm only human. And humans don't have time to personally look into every detail of every headline story that's thrown at us. If the narrative they're spewing seems surface-level reasonable, we tend to buy into it. It's the news's responsibility to be careful about what they say and to get things right before saying it (especially when they're so recklessly toying with a person's reputation). But, as sadly usual, they again failed at this, due to their increasingly problematic habit of siding with exciting, scandalous, clickbaity rumors and accusations, and demonizing headlines, rather than the more drab and non-eye-catching reality of situations or — even worse — actually withholding comment when there are no hard facts to support their reports. This, of course, being the crux of the PewDiePie problem and many other problems in our culture, as a whole.

I can't tell you what part of these PewDiePie rumors sparked my curiosity enough to finally cause me to look into matters more closely myself. But I eventually did. And, just as I was with the Michael Jackson accusations, I was shocked at how immorally blown out of proportion the news media had played this situation up as being. At how callously they'd smear a person's name. Being seriously classified as a bigot (especially if you're famous) is no light matter, you know? The potential public ostracization and effects on your career can have an extremely harmful effect on your psyche, your ability to make a living, your relationships, and how people treat you in life.

And, in fact, the media backlash did result in PewDiePie's business ties with Disney being cut and a misconception that he's antisemitic that lingers on to this day. Even on YouTubes recent Tweet, congratulating PewDiePie on his marriage and 100 million subscribers, one of the first comments you see is from PZ Myers (who you know darn well knows nothing about PewDiePie, other than what's presented in the media), calling him a racist.



If you watched the video posted above, it should be apparent that there was nothing antisemitic, racist, or at all nefarious in PewDiePie's intentions with this video. It was merely a funny idea, on par to daring your friend to do something crazy just to see if they would. Being upset by the classlessness or insensitivity of it is one thing, I suppose, but to blow it so out of proportion as to actively promote the idea that this man is a bigot? That's just going too far. And it results in a far more direct and obvious harm to a person than PewDiePie's joke even came close to. Because while it's debatable whether a joke such as this could potentially snowball into something that could hurt someone, what's not debatable is the fact that these accusations of bigotry have hurt PewDiePie. Sure, he's still rich and famous. No matter how well off someone is, however, that doesn't make it okay to taint their reputations or affect their careers.

There's a reason why, in court, we don't convict potential suspects "just in case". It's because we don't want to punish a potentially innocent person, without solid evidence that we're correct in doing so. In the court of public opinion, though, we're more than free to do this. But does that make it any more ethical?

For a better understanding of this situation, I'd recommend checking out PewDiePie's own explanation of the incident and on-point criticisms of how the media behaves (the meat of it begins at the 05:30 mark, but I'd recommend watching the entire video).


Scandal #03: The Wall Street Journal's claim that PewDiePie used "antisemitic jokes or Nazi imagery" in various separate videos


The above video is from The Wall Street Journal who, while "investigating" Scandal #02, claimed to have found "Nazi messages, images of Adolph Hitler, and explicit antisemitic commentary" in 9 separate videos. While this is technically more of an offshoot of Scandal #02, I decided to give it its own spot due to how well known The Wall Street Journal is and how blatant of a misrepresentation they put together here. Below are descriptions of the videos they referenced in the clip above. Feel free to avoid reading my long-winded descriptions if you want and just click on each video link instead. If you're at all rational, it'll undoubtedly be enough to see that none them promoted any kind of bigotry whatsoever.

September 24, 2016/August 07 2016 PewDiePie videoes
Video: THE YOUTUBE HEROES!
Date: September 24, 2016 (this is the date they have on the clip, but the video they show is actually from August 7th, 2016, which you can find here, where PewDiePie is parodying a news program)
Explanation: On September 20, 2016, YouTube announced a new program entitled YouTube Heroes, along with an accompanying video describing what the program does (such as offering rewards and incentives to users who contribute to the site by providing subtitles to videos, moderating comments and reporting videos for violating the site's Terms of Service). The program received instant backlash by YouTube creators, some dubbing it "Censorship: The Game", due to a fear that rewarding users for mass flagging videos would promote censorship and lead to false strikes against videos and channel take-downs. Four days later, PewDiePie uploaded his own "preview" of the YouTube Heroes program, in which he wore a Make America Great Again cap, engaged in a spoof hero training program which consisted of Nazi propaganda videos, did a "hero video chat" with the fuhrer and other YouTube employees, and got exclusive access to YouTubes newest features (such as a bomb). If you haven't guessed, his video was meant to be a satirical take on how bad of an idea the program appeared to be. And, seeing as though the criticism made various comparisons between YouTube and the Nazi's, it's was also showing Nazism in a negative light as well. Literally making this an anti-fascist clip.

December 08, 2016 PewDiePie video
Video: I'M A RACIST?
Date: December 08, 2016
Explanation: In the clip shown above, the WSJ shows PewDiePie in apparent Nazi regalia (which is actually a British uniform, btw), watching a Hitler video while smiling and nodding. In the actual, full video, that PewDiePie uploaded, it opens with a plug for a charity event and then instantly goes into a deconstruction of various news articles that were slandering his name at the time. "Have they seen any videos coming out of my channel?" he asks, at one point, "Are they so desperate for clickbait that they would literally slander someone else's name in the process?" It's a serious discussion that goes on for over 11 minutes. After which, he thanks his fans for defending him, says goodbye, and the video abruptly fades out. Then the camera cuts back on, showing PewDiePie changing into a uniform and watching a Hitler propaganda film while smiling and nodding. This last a total of 30 seconds and was clearly an attempt at levity to contrast with the last 11 and a half minutes of his serious discussion about how the media slanders his name.

The fact this 30 seconds was taken out of context from a video in which the first 11 and a half minutes was specifically devoted to him talking about how the news takes things out of context is jaw-droppingly audacious behavior from The Wall Street Journal. It's almost as though they purposely did it just to be a-holes. It would be almost comical if it weren't so depressing of an example of how a news organization is capable of conducting itself.

January 17, 2017 PewDiePie video
Video: In my defense..
Date: January 17, 2017
Clip Description: PewDiePie explaining how his death to all jews Fiverr stunt was a joke.
Explanation: The Wall Street Journal actually included a small clip of PewDiePie explaining the difference between what he was doing with his Fiverr stunt and how the media was portraying it. But to counteract that, they then instantly put a caption on the screen (while showing the following video) reading, "Apologies can camouflage messages that may still be received and celebrated by hate groups, the Southern Poverty Law Center says." The use of the word "camouflage" here seems to imply that PewDiePie is making a deliberate attempt to hide a message within his "In my defense" video that the bigots will all understand. What kind of conspiratorial nonsense is this? It's frickin' PewDiePie, not Al Qaeda.

October 15, 2016 PewDiePie video
Video: STOP DOING THIS...
Date: October 15, 2016
Clip Description: Swastica's on screen
Explanation: PewDiePie has a mobile game entitled Tuber Simulator, part of which involved decorating a room. On October 07, 2016, he announced a competition to his fans in which they could showcase their room designs. Fans made their submissions and on October 15th, PewDiePie uploaded this video in which he reviewed and reacted to the various entries. Among the many creative and humorous room designs, which mostly consisted of poop and sex joke layouts, three users uploaded ones where they made the shape of swastikas. PewDiePie reacted to it, gave a light scolding to his fans, and that was it. Then he went on to the next submission of poop jokes. Period. Just silly stuff.

January 22, 2016 PewDiePie video
Video: I'M BANNED..
Date: January 22, 2016
Clip Description: PewDiePie shows a clip of a man from Fiverr, dressed as Jesus Christ, saying that Hitler did nothing wrong. Later, in response to that man being banned by the Israel-based website, PewDiePie makes a joke that the Jews somehow found another way to fuck Jesus over.
Explanation: The WSJ claims that these clips have been deleted and, while I don't know of their state at the time, all these videos (save for the one that caused the most trouble, which I linked a reupload to earlier) currently exist on PewDiePie's account, uploaded on the days in question. The January 22 clips featured in the "I'M BANNED" video was PewDiePie talking about his experience with Fiverr, how they've continuously attempted to block him from the platform and how, as a result of his scandal being so prominent in the news, several Fiverr users have been banned as well, including the Jesus character and the two men who held up the "Death to All Jews" sign. Feeling responsible for these men getting banned, PewDiePie wanted to help them (which I suppose the WSJ didn't like?). As far as getting Jesus to say the Hitler thing, this is just another example of the humor he was exhibiting in the aforementioned "Death to All Jews" clip. So I won't rehash the reasoning behind that. The only other somewhat controversial part of this appears to be Pewds joke about the Jews fucking Jesus over again. Which, as usual, is obviously another joke. In fact, from what I understand, PewDiePie is an agnostic atheist and the Jesus in question wasn't really our Lord and savior.


The Wall Street Journal video ends with a message stating that PewDiePie's videos are celebrated by the hate website, The Daily Stormer. While I don't know squat about that website, I do know a classic ad hominem argument when I see one (thanks, years obsessed with atheism). This one, of course, consisting of an association fallacy, in which PewDiePie is implied to be guilty of bigotry due to a known bigot being a fan of him. Or, at least, a former fan (I did a quick search of the website and found that the editor had unsubbed). To put this into perspective, this rationale would also imply that the Bible should be blamed for pretty much 99% of the crimes in America due to how many fans it has in the country. And tiny little mustaches deserve some credit for the holocaust, of course, as correlation always equals causation. No? Due to the fact that he has 100 million subscribers, it would actually be more statistically surprising if some of his fans weren't despicable people.

Anyway. If you want a much better explanation of events than I could convey, as usual, go to the source itself. Here's PewDiePie's response.



Scandal #04: Saying the N-Word... again

This one's pretty straight forward. And it's the only scandal on this list which even slightly deserves to be a scandal. While doing a live-streamed playthrough of the video game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, PewDiePie, during a moment of age-old video game frustration, blurted out a swear word. But not just any swear word. He blurted out the N-Word. And not the playful, more socially forgivable version from earlier, either. In this clip, he drops the hard R. Check out the clip below.


A bit later on, after the press got their hands on the clip, PewDiePie responded with the following apology video.


My Thoughts

This one is a lot tougher to defend than any of the previously mentioned scandals and, perhaps to some degree, there is no real defense. This wasn't said in a joking or ironic manner, after all, and the clip isn't taken out of context. What you see is what you get.

However. I can't help but wonder how those who are outraged and offended perceive this incident. And how they don't accept the apology as sincere.

Do they assume that PewDiePie is actually racist against black people and that this was simply his true self coming out? Was his nonchalant use of the word, and how easily it slipped out a sign that he uses it on a regular basis? And, if so, does that imply that he's an actual racist?

If I were to guess, I'd assume that this is what many probably do believe. But, for the most part, I doubt people really think about it all that much. They hear about a guy they don't really know anything about saying the word, quickly toss them the label of "racist", and from then on that's just the category the person in question belongs to. It's not like a family member who for one reason or another says such a thing and we give them a pass. We humanize family members. We try to understand, forgive, and contemplate their actions and apply human complexity to when they say such things. Celebrities, on the other hand, are easier to paint in black and white strokes and to chalk off. Especially when the celebrities in question are ones whom we were never really fans of in the first place (which most of the outraged parties, in this case, appear to be).

Personally, I highly doubt PewDiePie is a racist any more than most of the little white kids on GTA Online are who spew out the same — and miles worse — words. Any more than my 40-year-old cousin is, who shouted the word at a man in a fit of rage during a fistfight. You may think he is. But I know him. For him, it was just a red button to press in a moment of anger, no different than most other four-letter exclamatory taboo words so many of use.

I'm sure there's a science to why we exclaim words when our emotions are heavy, and why the taboo ones are the ones we choose. But, as far as I've read, at least, that science appears to be inconclusive. But almost all of us do it (check out literally any Let's Play I've done, for about a million examples). Perhaps, in this instance, the use of the N-word was just another example of this mysterious cognitive human trait, only with a more taboo word than many of us are used to using.

In any case, keeping it in context with anything else PewDiePie-related, that seems to be the more reasonable explanation than simply "he's just racist". It's Occam's razor 101, folks.

Scandal #05: PewDiePie promoted the YouTube channel E;R, which supposedly promotes white nationalist and anti-Semitic content

In the video above, PewDiePie discusses how his "Subscribe to PewDiePie" campaign has gotten out of hand, with fans performing stunts all over the world in order to get him more subscribers. Thus, he decides to direct his viewers to simmer down a bit and ends things off by promoting a list of 28 various smaller YouTubers channels for his fans to subscribe to instead.

In the original version of this video (which PewDiePie has since edited, due to the following controversy), the list included a YouTuber by the name E;R, who had been accused of posting white nationalist and anti-Semitic content within his anime reviews.

My Take

I went ahead and gave this E;R, fellas channel a gander and, from what I can see, it's no more of a white nationalist/antisemitic/hate speech channel than PewDiePie's is. Which is to say, not at all. His jokes appear to be a bit more edgy of course but, again... they're just jokes.

When I Googled E;R, I found this article, on TheHeavy.com, which scrapes the bottom of the barrel in its attempts to find references of hate speech on the guy's channel. Those findings appear to be slim, to say the least. So, assuming there's nothing more outrageous on there that slipped their radar, I'm going to go ahead and assume the gist of E;R's "hate" is no more than some non-PC jokes that people are blowing out of proportion. Personally, I don't even see a reason for PewDiePie to have had to edit his video. Although, I suppose it's possible he was just trying to appease the lynch mob.

With that being said, E;R's content is a moot point when it comes to PewDiePie's recommendation of him in his video. With over 20 channels recommended, each including numerous videos from people PewDiePie never met, it's a tad unreasonable to assume he'd have done a deep dive into each channel's content, scouring every video for any jokes which could potentially be perceived as of a hateful nature. Even if E;R had explicitely said he hates so-and-so race and all his viewers should hate them too, it's understandable that PewDiePie would have missed it.

Also, if he were going to go out of his way to promote channels which espouse hate, why would he pick one that only does so in such a vague and hidden way while reviewing anime? What's the sense in this? Wouldn't it be more effective to direct his viewers to a channel that's directly aimed at such things? Like the Wall Street Journals implication that PewDiePie was sneaking secret hate messages into his apology videos, the idea that he's attempting to subconsciously mind control his viewers is about as outlandish as those rumors that Led Zeppelin was trying to brainwash us into worshipping Satan while singing songs about Lord of the Rings. This type of conspiratorial thinking, by the way, is merely an offshoot of our brains' natural tendency to actively try and find patterns in order to validate narratives and opinions which we already believe and/or want to be true. I write more about this here. It's something in which we're all, as a species, susceptible to.

Again, let's use Occam's razor. Isn't it more reasonable to assume that if a famous YouTuber randomly picks out 20+ channels to recommend, at least one of them could potentially contain something offensive within it? Is that not statistically likely?

Enough of my jibber-jabber, though. Here's what PewDiePie had to say over the matter.



Scandal #06: The Christchurch mosque shootings

On March 14, 2019, two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, were attacked by a gunman who live-streamed the event on Facebook. Not long before turning his camera on he said, "Remember lads, subscribe to PewDiePie".

Suffice it to say, this doesn't look good on Pewds and, in fact, seemingly supports the narrative that he is somehow an alt-right, white supremacist, motivating his millions of followers to move in that direction as well.

But we've already seen his previous scandals and watched the most supposedly offensive of his videos within this article. Did any of that look that extreme to you?

It turns out that the shooter, according to reports on his manifesto, was heavily into "internet culture" and referencing memes, video games, and the like. And PewDiePie, the most subscribed to individual on the biggest website on the internet, is the epitome of internet culture. Or modern popular culture itself, for that matter. And his "Subscribe to PewDiePie" campaign was a pretty big event, as silly as it may seem.

To put things in context, PewDiePie started his channel on his own, in 2010, playing video games, and slowly grew to become YouTubes most subscribed-to channel in 2013. Several years later, however, the YouTube channel for the Indian record company, T-Series, began to catch up to him. Noticing this, PewDiePie jokingly began to hype up the "competition" on his videos and, not long after, "Subscribe to PewDiePie" became a global meme, with people viewing it as one man (the "true spirit of YouTube") against a major corporation. The support got so big that websites (including the aforementioned Wall Street Journal), social media accounts, over 130,000 printers and 65,000 Google Chromecast dongles were hacked to display Subscribe to PewDiePie messages. And one person even went as far as to buy a billboard in Times Square (no easy feat) displaying "Subscribe to PewDiePie".

The phrase, "Subscribe to PewDiePie" was tossed around like a popular catchphrase all over the internet. On forums, YouTube comments, heck, I believe I actually alluded to it on a blog post a while back. Due to this, it's reasonable to assume that the shooter may have simply been making a joke in reference to all the wild lengths people have gone to in their support of PewDiePie.

Other theories suggest that the shooter was actively trying to cause further drama between the right and the left or that he was capitalizing on PewDiePie's popularity in an attempt to get footage of the shooting to go more viral. Whatever the case, no one knows for certain. But there's absolutely zero evidence that the shooters' mention of PewDiePies name was an indication of PewDiePie himself doing anything wrong. This is just another example of the association fallacies I spoke of earlier, in regards to The Daily Stormer.

Summation

The original article that I started this thing talking about isn't anything too special, if I'm being honest. Especially in contrast to all of the other anti-PewDiePie pieces we've talked about today. But it is yet another swing at this human being who, as far as we can see, has done nothing to deserve such constant backlash. And, frankly, it's depressing that this sort of thing continues to occur without any legal repercussions.

As I alluded to earlier, the entire ordeal is very reminiscent to the Michael Jackson situation. In which a person is targeted, slandered, and defamed due simply to unproven accusations and them being popular enough to consistently be newsworthy. Neither of these two has been found guilty of any wrongdoing, yet they're continuously spoken about as if they have been. Why? Where is the morality in this?

The underlying reason isn't too difficult to comprehend. The demonizing of a famous individual for doing something wrong is simply more interesting and exciting than the boring alternatives that they're either innocent or have simply exhibited a normal human flaw. So, when given the whiff of an accusation, we, as a species, are naturally more inclined to believe the worst.

Unlike many PewDiePie supporters, however, I don't believe there's any conspiracy or evil intentions going on here. In fact, as far as I can see, PewDiePie's detractors seem to be coming from a very well-intentioned place, more often than not, genuinely believing they're doing the right thing by trying to take down a person who they perceive as somehow evil or immoral. This includes the news organizations, as well (we often seem to forget that those are comprised of people too, susceptible to the same cognitive flaws as the rest of us). The problem all falls back to our lack of critical thinking.

Critical thinking and a consciousness of our susceptibility to cognitive errors are things in which we need to somehow normalize within our society. But, if that's not possible, we should at least hold media outlets responsible for their lack of doing so. Just as with the law and in science, there needs to be more safeguards in place against our own biases in that institution as well.

Those who accept that PewDiePie is joking yet still condemn him, often cite him as still being an unintentional instigator of an atmosphere of hate. "Make enough jokes," they say, "and eventually some people will start to take it seriously." While that may be possible, what exactly is the fight against it? No more edgy jokes? Are we going to outlaw video games and violent movies? What about religion? From what I understand, far more people cause violence and bigotry due to their interpretations of scripture than anything else. Hell, someone shot Reagan because they were obsessed with the movie Taxi Driver. Is that Taxi Drivers fault for showing the attempted assassination of a politician? Or is it the fault of an idiot with personal problems? Is it jokes and fiction that we should the kibosh on, due to the people who take them the wrong way? If so, where does that line of thinking end? Let's be reasonable here.

They claim it's irresponsible for someone with as big a platform as PewDiePie to make such jokes. But what about the responsibility of the news and political pundits who people actually look to for information and are meant to take seriously? Shouldn't they remain a bit more conscious about how they behave? Perhaps even more so than a comedian on YouTube?

But, hey. What do I know? I'm just another guy on the internet.

Subscribe to PewDiePie.