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PewDiePie promotes YouTube account that features anti-Semitism, Nazi imagery

PewDiePie/YouTube

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.

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.

The Verge also wrote that E;R plugs its accounts on BitChute and Gab—both of which are social media platforms known to be used by the far right.

YouTube has begun to take action, taking down one of E;R’s controversial videos and issuing a strike.

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.

PewDiePie in 2017 made at least nine videos that featured Nazi imagery and anti-Semitic jokes, and he also casually dropped racist language into one of his gaming videos.

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

Josh Katzowitz

Josh Katzowitz is the Weekend Editor for the Daily Dot and covers the world of YouTube. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. He’s also a longtime sports writer, covering the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.