I decide for once in my life to follow through on one of my New Year’s resolutions and vow to stop writing about PewDiePie, and instead this shit happens.
A few days ago, the Disney-owned content network Maker Studios revoked their partnership with the Internet’s main protagonist Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg, after his most recent videos were shown to be a little too meaninglessly offensive even for him, containing “ironic” anti-Semitism and one or two “Heil Hitler” salutes. This has also resulted in YouTube (the company, not the users) distancing themselves from their #1 superstar, cancelling his planned YouTube Red show, and the rest of the World Wide Web to mobilize to his defence.
Fanboys, fangirls, and social media commentators – including but not limited to shoe0nhead, Chris Ray Gun, Sargon (with guests) and h3h3productions – have already said their fair share about how slanderous/unprofessional the journalists covering this story are, how the actual context of the Nazi comedy is disregarded completely, and what a violation this is to freedom of speech. At least this is true for the social commentators and rant vloggers; the fanboys and fangirls spend most of their time blubbering on Twitter while blindly creating “Support PewDiePie” movements without looking at any data.
And you know me; I tend to defend people’s rights to joke about all sorts of horrible shit since that, in my opinion, desensitizes a lot of people from the effects of the horrible shit in question. Thus I assume you’re expecting me to set my differences with Pewd-ster aside for a while and campaign alongside you all for every YouTuber’s right to freedom of expression. Good guess, guys, but there’s one tiny problem:
YouTube and Disney disavowing you is proof that free speech works!
I agree, you guys. You’re technically allowed to joke about whatever you want – even when you’re PewDiePie and don’t always tell “jokes” so much as you make noises with your mouth until words come out. Similarly, companies are allowed to associate with whomever they want. And if they don’t want to work with or run ads on the videos of someone who makes jokes of a kind that they don’t want to work with, well guess what?
They have the freedom not to do it!
At this point, it doesn’t matter what the context of the comedy was or who you were really trying to make fun of (Keemstar, apparently). When a company has decided that they don’t want to work with you, that’s that. This isn’t a question of YouTube installing a flimsy system that automatically detects shit that MIGHT not be advertiser-friendly (which I still suspect is what the clusterfuck from last year was all about); this is a question of companies actively making clear that they don’t want jack shit to do with you. Considering everything I’ve said so far, and also the sort of money this guy’s making to begin with, maybe you Bros out there will want to take a minute to stop complaining and grow up – especially seeing as you dipshits give fuck-all about the free speech of anyone criticizing your favorite game-player?
Another YouTube content creator to come to Pewds’ rescue, albeit briefly, was Maddox, who published this on Twitter as his own personal two cents:
I wrote about Maddox’s recent downfall and the way he has treated friends and business associates a couple of weeks ago. It’s weird that he would send a lynch mob after his former Biggest Problem in the Universe co-host for a few out-of-context rape comments whilst defending the free speech of someone whose punchlines often amount to “I will now pretend to rape this video game character”. That’s mildly hypocritical, but I also can’t get over the feeling that PewDiePie is the type of obnoxiously overhyped entertainer that the Maddox we all knew and loved wouldn’t have been shy to shit all over back in the day. It goes back to what I said about him playing it nice and kissing ass lately. Some say that Maddox officially lost his edge when he attempted to obliterate people who use the word “cuck” in one of his videos but instead made it worse; others say it was when he moved from written articles to YouTube content; some even say it started early on during the Biggest Problem podcast. For me, it was when he had the audacity to call PewDiePie charismatic.
I guess it’s true that “old media fears new media”, being as that’s a tale as old as media, but I don’t know if that’s the only reason why a company that makes family films would distance themselves from “Death to the Jews” type comedy (that totally isn’t resonating with white supremacist viewers, another group vehemently defending Pewds as we speak, since it’s such clear and biting satire and nobody thinks the person telling the joke is a Nazi sympathizer). Who knows? Maybe they’ll change their mind if they learn what the context of it all was? Until then, complain less or complain funnier, as the Dickheads say.