Well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, said the ten or so righteous people on the internet this week, when YouTube celebrity PewDiePie released a lifestream over the weekend of himself screaming the n-word at a video game opponent. PewDiePie, alias Felix Kjellberg, has the most subscribers of any YouTube user (which is salient because subscriber numbers correlates to payment,) with over 57 million subscribers and counting.
To a thinking person, or at least a scrolling person, the YouTube star’s outburst could not have come as a surprise. The 27 year-old Swede has the smoldering look of a fine-boned, sapphire-eyed white supremacist because he is one, a fact he made clear millions of subscribers ago. Kjellberg is a fan, vagueley, of “edgy humor” which for him has notably included paying two men to film themselves holding up a sign reading “Death To All Jews.” You know, the kind of envelope-pushing comedy that moves culture forward.
Kjellberg was dropped from deals with Disney, as well as YouTube’s in-house production company after this instance, which he said was “a joke” intended to shed light on “how crazy the modern world is.” The death of all Jews is more of a longstanding historical joke, one might argue, but who can quibble with a man who gained followers after releasing this video? Nazis, he said later in a video defending both comedy and freedom of speech, are “a dead meme.” If only saying it would make it so, Pewdiepie! But even a professional Swedish video game player who made sixteen million dollars last year does not have that kind of power.
In the aftermath of the n-word video, which has since been deleted, Kjellberg released a one minute and thirty-six second response video, titled “My Response.”
“It just sorta slipped out,” he says, looking hungrily into the camera with a smize that would make Tyra Banks proud.
After the “death to all Jews” incident, Kjellberg accused the media of trying to destroy his career out of fear of “such a large voice.” After the “death to Jews” incident, Kjellberg accused the media of trying to destroy his career out of fear of “such a large voice.” But as of today, the PewDiePie channel is trailed by its second place competition, a Chilean comedian whose channel is called “Hola Soy German” by just about 25 million subscribers. Felix Kjellberg, cutting-edge comedian, free speech hero, enemy of the fearful media, has nothing to worry about.
Jenny Singer is a writer for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny