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PewDiePie promotes YouTube account that features anti-Semitism, Nazi imagery
Does PewDiePie deserve the benefit of the doubt?
While PewDiePie was calling Lilly Singh an “idiot” and a “crybaby” for questioning why there were no women on the Forbes list of top YouTube earners in one of his latest videos, he also mentioned a few smaller YouTube channels he enjoys watching.
One of which was a channel that spews out anti-Semitic, sexist, and homophobic language in some of its vlogs, according to the Verge.
YouTuber EsemicolonR, aka E;R, has made videos with Nazi propaganda and has used racist language, as noted by Twitter user Hasan Piker.
yesterday pewdiepie ended #Subscribetopewdiepie in a video where he promoted some of his favorite channels. one of them was straight up a neo-nazi's yt page where he makes video essays on children's cartoons with added nazi propoganda https://t.co/KBIfpVdfXi
— Hasan Piker (@hasanthehun) December 10, 2018
In his video, PewDiePie said “E;R does great video essays. He did one on [Manga series] Death Note, which I really, really enjoyed.” The shoutout lasted a total of eight seconds. But in the few days since PewDiePie mentioned the channel, E;R added more than 22,000 subscribers, according to Social Blade. The YouTube account, as of this writing, has close to 220,000 subscribers.
The Verge wrote, “E;R’s videos are disturbing. They often use the guise of film, anime, or cartoon criticism to convey anti-Semitic and hateful thoughts or imagery.” In one video, E;R used footage of the Charlottesville rally that left a protester named Heather Heyer dead. E;R then joked about Heyer. According to the Verge, PewDiePie gave a thumbs-up to that video and left a comment on it. In another video, E;R used sexist and anti-Semitic language and showed a lengthy clip of a Hitler speech.
YouTube has begun to take action, taking down one of E;R’s controversial videos and issuing a strike.
So it begins. The SU video–at around 2 million views, I think?–has been removed and I'm on my first strike. Let's see where this goes. pic.twitter.com/jkheXDWYWl
— E;R (@EsemicolonR) December 10, 2018
The case of @EsemicolonR *proves* media pressure is involved in YouTube censorship.
Regarding: "Steven Rapeyverse, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love to Fuse"
IT WAS **APPROVED** BY YOUTUBE IN JUNE 2018
It's only NOW after media pressure, that YouTube issued a strike. pic.twitter.com/mKoCojpI5B
— St. Nick Monroe (@nickmon1112) December 10, 2018
Now is it fair to blast YouTube’s most popular channel for not knowing everything that happens on the YouTube channels he promotes? Maybe not. But PewDiePie also won’t get—nor does he deserve—the benefit of the doubt in this situation. As BuzzFeed reporter Joe Bernstein flagged, PewDiePie frequently engages with anti-Semitic gamers online.
Following on the news that @pewdiepie endorsed an antisemitic YouTuber, here’s a screenshot from a recent video in which PewDiePie played a shooting game with and laughed at a fan named “RabbiShekel” whose avatar is the famous anti-Jew “Le Happy Merchant” https://t.co/8m7XZ9PV7D pic.twitter.com/b8Qt0hyOyT
— Joe Bernstein (@Bernstein) December 11, 2018
He’s since disavowed his actions in those videos, but he continues to feud with female streamers and YouTubers and, at times, uses misogynistic language when referring to them.
PewDiePie—who just passed the 76 million subscriber barrier—has not commented on the matter through social media.
But nobody should be surprised that, despite his massive subscriber base, YouTube has backed away from promoting PewDiePie in its year-end rewind videos. Because even when he’s trying to promote other people’s channels, he can’t stop himself from creating controversy and toxicity.
Update 3:19pm CT: As Dexerto notes, PewDiePie has edited his video to take out his reference to E;R. In a newly released video, PewDiePie said didn’t know about E;R’s Nazi imagery. He also mocked the idea that he was shepherding young fans to Naziism, as some critics have claimed.
In the video, PewDiePie said, “Obviously, if I noticed that, I wouldn’t have referenced him in the shoutout. Not because I have a problem with Nazi references being offensive in themselves, but because I said publicly a year and a half ago that I was going to distance myself from Nazi jokes and that kind of stuff because I want nothing to do with it.
“The irony here is that I’m supposed to be the Nazi, but I don’t know any of these goddamn references.”
H/T the Verge
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.