In February this year, the Walt Disney company who owns Maker Studios severed ties with PewDiePie over a series of anti-Semitic videos. It didn't take long for gaming's most famous YouTuber to do it again, this time with a racial slur during his Player'sUnknown Battlegrounds live stream.
A recording of the incident can be watched here. It is extremely upsetting, so be warned. There can be no excuse, no explanation for PewDiePie's behaviour. He was having trouble killing an opponent and started not only swearing but also using the N word. It is inexcusable behaviour, especially considering his 57,248,044 subscribers and social media clout. His excuse a few seconds after the incident, “I didn't mean that in a …” only adds injury to insult.
One game developer has had enough. “I am sick of this child getting more and more chances to make money off of what we make,” tweeted Firewatch creator, Sean Vanaman. “He's worse than a closeted racist: he's a propagator of despicable garbage that does real damage to the culture around this industry.”
As at the time of writing, PewDiePie hasn't released any statement regarding the incident, but a 60-minute video playthrough of Firewatch has since been removed from his YouTube channel. The video in question received over million views, and as Vanaman states, Campo Sano made money off that; “Furthermore, we're complicit: I'm sure we've made money off of the 5.7M views that video has and that's something for us to think about.”
What weighs more than all those views? Dignity, self-respect, empathy.
Vanaman concludes his eight-message Twitter thread, by stating that Campo Santo endorses PewDiePie by allowing videos of their game on his channel, and they have therefore filed a DMCA takedown of all their content from his YouTube channel. He also urges other developers to do the same; “I'd urge other developers & will be reaching out to folks much larger than us to cut him off from the content that has made him a millionaire.”
I cannot agree more. We've come so far these past few years to make gaming a safer space for all people regardless of their gender, race or sexual preference. To have a gaming celebrity mock those values so openly without any regard is something we shouldn't take lightly. He doesn't deserve support or respect, and there should be consequences for such behaviour.
Yes, freedom of speech is your right, but so is consequences for actions. As I've stated many times before, there should be legal consequence attached to online harassment and racism. It is not okay, and it should never be acceptable to drop racial slurs, no matter who you are.
What is also distributing is some of the reactions to Vanaman's stance on the issue. Some one who states he or she isn't a fan of PewDiePie tweeted that Vanaman was just being childish and not happy that PewDiePie was making money off playing games. “You're acting so childish, people make money off of playing games now, so what, you can't handle that then don't make any more games.” Other's came in defence of PewDiePie saying he isn't racist at all and that it was only a slip because PUBG is that kind of game.
If we want to follow that argument, then whatever you say should always be okay.
We are better than this.
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