Felix Kjellberg, aka Pewdiepie and still somehow the most watched YouTuber, has reigned at the top of the YouTube pile for years now by doing… whatever it is he does. But it seems like 2020 may be the year someone else will rise to the top because he’s going on a hiatus due to “burn out.”
While Pewdiepie’s many fans despaired over the news, I welcome his break with open arms because it finally means we’ll be rid of him and his hate-spewing nonsense for at least a little while.
Pewdiepie has racked up quite the list of problematic comments ever since he first opened his YouTube channel in 2010, and boy is his history of vile comments depressing to retread.
Things took a turn for the anti-Semitic in 2017 when Pewdiepie thought Nazi imagery was a good place to mine for material and paid people to hold up a sign that read “Death to all Jews.” After being stripped of a number of deals and supposedly apologising for his idiocy, the YouTuber was soon back at it when he dropped a racial slur while live-streaming a video game.
Just to complete the trifecta of hate, 2018 saw Pewdiepie then dipped his toes into the sexism pool when he called a Twitch broadcaster a “Twitch thot” before posting a meme mocking Demi Lovato during her 2018 overdose.
Pewdiepie has repeatedly used the “it’s just a joke, bro” excuse whenever he’s done something wrong, but actions have consequences, especially when you’re constantly flirting with alt-right beliefs for the sake of “content.”
All this rhetoric soon came back to bite Pewdiepie in the arse when the Christchurch mosque shootings went down and the perpetrator said “subscribe to Pewdiepie.” While he personally condemned the shooter for using his name, this incident shows what happens when a constant stream of hate comments get taken too far.
There’s no denying that being a popular YouTube content creator is a one-way road to burn out. Constantly churning out videos takes a toll and credit to Pewdiepie for taking care of himself first.
But it’s incredibly hard to be sympathetic since Pewdiepie has literally made millions from his vile comments, has shown no sign of growth or regret, and has no self-awareness of how his “content” may influence his massive fanbase. He repeatedly says he’s “learned” from all his “oopsies” but then he keeps saying dumb sh*t over and over again, which suggests he’s learned all of “jack” and “squat.”
Not only does this pattern let him off the hook time and time again, it just normalises the hateful crap he’s spewed over the years, and it doesn’t help that people are framing his hiatus as “exhaustion” while not holding him accountable for the hatestorm he has help stirred up.
Is it possible for someone like Pewdiepie to genuinely grow and learn from their past mistakes? Sure but only if we hold them accountable and they show actual understanding of what they’re doing is wrong. But based on what we’ve seen so far, it seems like Pewdiepie is a bit of a lost cause.
Pewdiepie will unfortunately be back on YouTube at some point – he’s got too much going on there to permanently leave – so let’s just enjoy the hate-free silence of his hiatus while it lasts.
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