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After Forbes released the list of top-10 YouTube earners last week, Lilly Singh wondered in a tweet why there were no female YouTubers present. This, of course, led popular personality PewDiePie, known for his sexist takes, to call her an “idiot” and a “crybaby.”
2 years ago it was almost even between male & female, last year it was just me and this year there are no females at all. Something I predicted in my instagram caption last year. I'm concerned the digital space is going to repeat the mistakes of ancient industries. Hope I'm wrong https://t.co/VmoTMjywGK— Lilly Singh (@IISuperwomanII) December 5, 2018
Singh, who said last month she was taking a break from the platform to work on her mental health, explained further in her tweets: “My concern wasn’t ME not being on the list. I likely don’t deserve to be on the list this year tbh. I’ve had a tough year. I know that. My concern was NO female representation. And by pointing out that concern, I am not attacking the men on the list. They should be proud of their accomplishments. Even the few who may not be fond of me. Secure your bag my friend. Nor am I attacking Forbes or YouTube. I am simply pointing out a concerning cultural pattern/trend that I see within the industry. And as woman and honestly, just as a human being, I feel it’s important to be concerned about patterns like this.”
PewDiePie, who recently attacked Singh for her mental health video, took umbrage at Singh for her tweet. He jabbed her for almost immediately starting a merchandising campaign after she declared she was leaving the platform, and he blasted her for implying that men are being paid more than women on YouTube based on their gender, which is not exactly what she was saying.
“Adsense pays the same way. If people want to subscribe to you, they generally do it because they enjoy your videos, not because of your gender,” PewDiePie said in his video. “That’s just ridiculous.”
PewDiePie continued by saying, “If you start complaining about this, you literally sound like a crybaby and an idiot—which you are, Lilly Singh, in case you weren’t sure.”
After PewDiePie’s video was released on Sunday, Singh had this to say on Twitter.
“I want you to know that what makes me most proud of #TeamSuper isn’t how many views you give me, how much merch you buy or how many RTs I get. What will make me most proud is how you treat other people. The internet can be so dark. Be the light,” she wrote. “If you have a mean thought, you don’t have to say it. Even if you don’t like the person, you don’t have to say it. You don’t need to put that energy into the world. Be selective with your battles. Reserve your energy for the real fights.”
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.