The thing is: he isn't.
If you're not familiar with who PewDiePie is and/or what's going on, here's everything you need to know:
- PewDiePie makes YouTube videos featuring commentary on popular culture and video games. He makes a lot of money doing so.
- PewDiePie is a pseudonym. His real name is Felix Kjellberg.
- As of writing this, PewDiePie is the #1 most subscribed user on YouTube (and has been since the December of 2013). He posts videos on a daily basis and they usually receive about 4-8 million views each.
- Recently, another YouTube user — T-Series, a music production company based in India — has been coming close to overtaking PewDiePie's #1 ranking.
- In light of T-Series getting so close to surpassing PewDiePie's subscriber count, PewDiePie's fans have largely taken it upon themselves to keep PewDiePie at the top of the rankings, going so far as renting billboards (and even the biggest billboard in Times Square), hacking printers, and posting signs urging people to subscribe to PewDiePie, among other things.
- In one of his latest videos, PewDiePie decided to shout out 28 smaller YouTubers that he felt were underrated. As it turns out, one of the YouTubers he shouted out (E;R) has ties to neo-Nazism. PewDiePie was unaware of this, and only recommended the user based on one or more of his recent videos. He has since removed the recommendation from the video and said that he will be more careful about who he shouts out in the future.
- In the past, PewDiePie has made sexist, racist, Nazi, and other taboo jokes — none of which were meant to be taken seriously and some of which blew up in his face. He's made public apologies for the worse of them, and has vowed to avoid them in the future, because he no longer wants to deal with the repercussions of them going wrong.
PewDiePie is not a Nazi, not a racist, and not any other kind of extremist that these media outlets are making him out to be.
Let's briefly dive into why:
PewDiePie has a strong, loyal, dedicated, and to top it off: young and impressionable following. Even the media outlets can agree on this:
PewDiePie’s 76 million followers tend to skew young, with the majority of his subscribers younger than 24 and 11 percent of them younger than 17. And they are not passive fans; rather, they [are] known for their aggressive loyalty to PewDiePie…
— Vox Media
Since Kjellberg’s shoutout, E;R has amassed an approximate additional 15,000 subscribers. That’s 15,000 more viewers, some of whom may be extremely young, tuning into anti-Semitic and hateful content.
— Vox Media
… but to say that he's encouraging them to consume anti-Semitic content is bullshit.
The young people that watch and are influenced by PewDiePie aren't mindless journalists — when PewDiePie makes taboo jokes, they know he's kidding.*
How can we be sure they know he's kidding?
Just look at all of the negative comments from those young, loyal PewDiePie followers on the articles the media outlets released slandering him (and all the likes that the comments received). Here's some of the top ones:
They all basically say:
"This is ridiculous, you guys are taking PewDiePie out of context."
"This is ridiculous, there's nothing wrong with killing Jews."
The only people that buy into these articles are the people that don't follow PewDiePie, don't understand his work, and that aren't influenced by him.
… so the only thing these articles are achieving is turning young kids that enjoy PewDiePie and older generations that don't against each other.
Vox has released many great articles and videos. I've read and watched plenty of them and I thought they were great — they were well researched and overall enjoyable.
… so I'm disappointed to see them spreading false and biased news.
I can't speak for the other outlets. I don't follow them nor do I recall reading any of their work before researching this post.
But enough talk about media outlets…
Let's look at just a few reasons why PewDiePie is actually a good influence for his young, impressionable audience:
1. His jokes make kids better people.
When PewDiePie makes jokes about racism, fascism, oppression, and whatever else, that's exactly what he's doing: joking.
PewDiePie is a comedian, and a lot of his work is satire.
The use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.
— Oxford University Press
Satire is a great way to teach young people good from bad.
It exposes them to things that are bad: racism, sexism, antisemitism, etc. while making it clear that those things are bad.
And as PewDiePie's fans have made clear on numerous occasions, they know that he's not being serious when he says (for example) racist things.*
PewDiePie does not support racism/sexism/Nazism/hate/oppression/etc., he ridicules it.
TV shows like Family Guy have been doing this since their inception:
2. He has a great relationship with his fiancé.
And since we're talking about PewDiePie's influence on kids… him and Marzia are great role models.
Someone would really have to reach to try to find something wrong with the way Felix and Marzia treat each other on the (rather rare) occasions that they make public appearances together:
- they have undeniable chemistry,
- they don't exaggerate their happiness, and
- they respect each other's professional lives.
Way to go Marzia and Felix. 👏 #couplegoals
3. He owns up to his mistakes.
Nobody's perfect. Most people are lucky, because when they make mistakes: they don't have much attention as PewDiePie on them.
As I've mentioned, PewDiePie has made public apologies for the things he's regretted saying/doing. Even as recently as the aforementioned incident where he unknowingly shouted out a YouTube channel with ties to neo-Nazism.
PewDiePie is a guy that's willing to admit when he's wrong — and it wouldn't hurt to have more people like that in this world.
4. He doesn't tolerate hate.
Also recently, Felix noticed that things were getting out of hand with his "battle" against T-Series.
Some of his fans posted blatantly hateful comments directed towards the Indian people and their culture. Felix addressed these comments immediately and directly. He outright told his fans "no more" and redirected the energy into supporting a charity that promotes children's rights in India (the fundraiser ended up raising $246,000).
That's great, but does it actually affect the young people that watch him?
Well, I'm a young person, and spoke volumes to me. Someone I look up to showed me how to handle a sticky situation with class. Felix made it clear that blatantly making fun of another culture is not okay, but at the same time he did not shame his fans for doing so, and he even spun the whole thing into supporting a charitable cause.
Bravo Felix. Bravo. 👏
5. He helps more charitable causes than most.
Speaking of charitable causes, what these media outlets often conveniently fail to mention are the numerous charitable movements PewDiePie has supported and the millions (yes, millions) of dollars that he has helped raise over the years for them.
Here's just some of them that I could find.
CauseDateAmount RaisedLink to CampaignWWF~ February 2012$7,500Announcement on YouTubecharity: waterSeptember 2013$446,462charity: waterSave the ChildrenMay 2014$342,828Indiegogocharity: waterFebruary 2016$152,239charity: waterCrisis Text LineJuly 2016?Announcement on YouTube(RED)December 2016$1,300,000Livestream on YouTubeChild Rights and YouDecember 2018$246,000GoFundMe
Please note that this is by no means a complete list (feel free to reach out to me if you can help me complete it), and it doesn't take into account all of Felix's private donations.
If you want more information regarding some of PewDiePie's support for charities, check out this great video.
6. He's just doing what he loves.
Felix is a humble guy. On the few occasions where he talks seriously about his journey to fame, you can tell that he is grateful for what he has.
And despite all the attention he gets, he manages to remain humble.
Again: it wouldn't hurt to have more people like Felix in the world.
The bottom line
Felix isn't a Nazi, racist, or anything else like that. If anything, he positively influences more youths than the media outlets that spread fake news about him (because unlike those media outlets: he knows how to reach youths and speak to them in their language).
Thanks for reading my post! Check out PewDiePie on YouTube and have a wonderful day! You look fantastic 😉.
*Excluding, of course, one-off/minority cases. There will always be extremists that misunderstand and/or take anything the people they look up to say too seriously.