Opinion: We Need to Talk About PewDiePie and Toxicity

pewdiepie

[Credits: YouTube/Felix Kjellberg]

For years, I’ve followed Felix Kjellberg, whom is more-well known as PewDiePie to the YouTube world. He’s a man that has taken the internet by storm and become the biggest star on YouTube to date. However, in the past few months, he’s been at providing us with some of the most provocative content in his career. Content bad enough popular companies such as Disney and Campo Santo (the studio behind the smash-hit title Firewatch) have dropped him all together. The latter of the two having gone as far as to slap Kjellberg with DMCA take-downs of videos containing their content that is associated with him.

If you aren’t caught up with his doings, PewDiePie, has hit the world with his racist remarks in the past. If you are like myself, you found his Anti-Semetic content as repulsive, and even downright appaling when he hired a group of men to write “Death to All Jews” on a piece of cardboard and post it online. Fast forward to the past few days, Kjellberg is up to it once more while slamming another gamer with the N-bomb after having been unable to take the player out during his live stream, and quickly corrected himself by calling the player an “a**hole” instead.

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[Credits: Oddshot.tv/Felix Kjellberg]

This quickly demonstrated the fact that he was well aware of his statement, and that he understands the fact his slurs are being used as a pejorative. If you don’t believe me, head on over to his video here. Just be warned, if you find stuff like this as infuriating as I do, you may just want to take my word for what it is. However, this isn’t the only instance this will ever happen, and it certainly isn’t the last.

Gaming has become a place where toxicity isn’t unknown to anyone within the gaming community. It is a place where competitive players have become accommodated to such things. If you play games such as OverwatchDOTA 2PlayerUnknown’s BattlegroundCall of Duty, or even Paragon, you are opening yourself up to the possibility of you – yourself – becoming the victim of being hit with insults, racial slurs, and other bigoted remarks that fellow gamers may pull from out of their pocket of hate-fulled anonymity.

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[Credits: Valve]

As a gamer, it’s truly a problem that has begun to liter my own backyard and even my career as a professional writer here on Blast Away the Game Review and the other outlets I write for. I, myself, have fallen victim to being struck by the N-Bomb, being called a fag, or even told to just “off myself” as a favor to the world. Gaming, as a hobby, should be safe by nature. It’s a medium where gamers should be able to find the richest displays of art, creativity, and our shared ability to enjoy the games we do.

This ‘toxicity’ issue we have, is one that we’ve cultivated for nearly two decays by letting our own friends, community members, and industry allow us to breed such animosity that should not exist. Because of this, we are seeing a multi-pronged failure hit us, one that developers are working to combat, and even fight back against harmful players. Games such as PUBG and Overwatch have been doing this since their launches were made. Harmful gamers have been seeing themselves getting slammed with things such as ban-hammers and even forced to play with other players within their mindset. Some have been downright removed from the communities they are apart of.

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[Credits: Bluehole]

Even here at Blast Away the Game Review, we have little-to-no tolerance for toxicity. We’ve removed comments that were abusive, we’ve banned people from our social media sites on YouTube for threatening our writers, we’ve had to take take action on Facebook, and even Google+. It’s not something we want to do, we want people to use their freedom of speech, but not in a way that is harmful. There are other ways to express what one wants to say, without being belligerent or even harmful through constructive feedback or even a different use of words.

Here at Blast Away the Game Review we strive to provide a positive area, one where our own readers, our friends, family members, and those within the community can both feel welcome and safe if they need someone to talk to. I, myself, who has a significantly smaller audience than PewDiePie or his colleagues, am not a public figure in comparison to him. He has 57 million subscribers. On a good day, I am lucky to have 50-60 people. Only a fraction of what he has, but it still is a responsibility of mine, whether or not I, or my friends do such actions, I do not condone them, nor will I ever.

Even though I am not a public figure such as Felix, I do not condone actions such as his, no matter how small they are. I am not here to slam him, nor am I looking to do so ever. His display of racism isn’t just a one time deal, it’s two times now, and even two times is one to many. Because Kjellberg is a public figure, just him stating such a single word is big news since he isn’t just your average gamer that plays titles like Battlefield 1PUBG, or Call of Duty. He is a public face that has millions of followers that will either come to his defense or call him on his bigotry.

If you are like myself, you’ve already come to the conclusion that it’s time to move on from him, that his unbridled use of toxicity isn’t just a one time event, and his statement of being “in the heat of the moment” is just an excuse for him to do such a thing again. While he has stated that he “never set out to be a role model,” it doesn’t matter. He is one whether he wanted to be or not. It is what happens when you obtain such a high popularity.

courtesy-reddit

Pro Gamer Terrence Miller Falls Victim to Racism [Credits: Reddit]

However, our community isn’t the only one that has this problem. Riley Cooper, an NFL wide receiver, openly stated during a concert that “I’ll fight every n***** in this place”, and was required to apologize for his statement, which ultimately led to him being fined by his team at the time. Even actors, pro gamers, and YouTuber’s have found themselves in hot water over these occurrences. This fact could even happen here at Blast Away the Game Review, and if it does, we, the team, will uphold our values and require immediate action of our own writers or content creators. It’s unacceptable, and universally, it should be an intolerable act.

If Kjellberg hopes to come back from this, he can’t just apologize for his actions. He must work to influence those around him and create an environment where people of color and other minorities can feel safe. However, if his past actions prove anything, he won’t. He doesn’t care if his past statements stick true.

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At this point, we hope that you, our readers, and those new to us will find a way to help fight toxicity, that you will help forge an immensely different community in the years to come, in comparison to what we have now. We hope that you can help us let younger generations know that toxicity isn’t just harmful to someone mentally. It can ruin an entire experience of gaming, which is not something we want to see, nor should it be something that we see.

Because, in the end? There aren’t excuses for actions like this. There never will be. No amount of apologies can repair the damage dealt. All we can do is use Kjellberg as example of what we should learn to not do and go from there.

As Game Informer said in their articleIn the end, there are no more excuses. This was the last chance for him with game developers now taking action.


About the Writer:

dustin_batgr_prof

Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.

 

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2 thoughts on “Opinion: We Need to Talk About PewDiePie and Toxicity

    • I think his stance is that he never wanted to be a public figure. Because of that stamce, he is getting hit hard for his stance and the freedoms he abuses because of such a mindset.

      Like

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