The world’s biggest YouTuber, Felix Kjellberg aka PewDie aka PewDiePie messed up again. He was caught using the N-word on a live stream of a video game he was playing and there’s been widespread outrage about his comments.
In the video, PewDiePie becomes irritated by another player in the game and states: “What a F****** N*****!”, after which he attempted to apologize by saying “sorry, I don’t mean it in a bad way,” despite clearly meaning it as a negative.
You can watch the comments below, with a heavy warning on the language (It’s definitely NSFW!).
This morning, he issued an official apology. In the video, titled “My Response”, he said that he’s an “idiot” and that he “should know better” and that he can’t “keep messing up like this”. He becomes a bit more personal after that, stating:
“You probably won’t believe this when I say this, but, whenever I go online and I hear other players use the same kind of language that I did, I always find it extremely immature and stupid, and I hate how I now personally fed into that part of gaming as well.”
And while it took him a few days to explain why he let that word slip, some of his friends have come to his aid. Another YouTuber, who was filming the live stream with PewDiePie blamed his usage of the word on the fact that English is his second language.
With nearly 60 million subscribers, PewDiePie is the biggest entertainer on the platform. Despite that, he’s no longer part of the “preferred advertising platform” on the site because of the backlash he’s received from a series of videos he’s made that people deemed anti-Semitic and racist.
Those videos, especially one in which he hired people on Fiverr.com to hold up signs that read “Death to all Jews” could be explained away as satire — or as he put it, an example that people will do anything for money.
After the controversy surrounding the “Death to All Jews” sign, Pie lost not only a ton of revenue from YouTube but a lot of contracts that he had with sponsors and content creation companies. Disney canceled their lucrative deal following his “joke.”
While he defended the joke and bashed the New York Times for reporting it, he will have a much harder time defending his usage of the N-word. There was no other context behind it. It appeared to be a slip-up that occurred because he was frustrated.
Besides, this latest faux pas makes the “Death to All Jews” sign look more racist than perhaps it seemed before. Kjellberg seems to realize that and also that he needs to make some sort of change in his life. He addressed the sign/”past controversies” in the video as well, essentially stating that it appears that he’s learned “nothing” from them. Stating:
“It was something that I said in the heat of the moment. I said the worst word I could possibly think of, and it just sort of slipped out. I’m not going to make any excuses for why it did, because there are no excuses for it. I’m disappointed in myself, because it seems like I’ve learned nothing from all these past controversies. And it’s not that I think I can say or do whatever I want and get away with it. I’m just an idiot. But that doesn’t make what I said, or how I said it, OK.”
Either way this controversy should bring him a ton of clicks, however, considering the fact that YouTube demonetized a lot of his videos, he won’t make any money off the video. It’ll be interesting to see how things shake out now that he has in fact apologized.
According to his Social Blade results, it looks like there has been some effect from the controversy. Before this began, he was adding about an average of 13,000 subscribers a day. Now he’s down to about 3-4,000 a day.
While I’m sure he’ll bounce back, especially considering that a lot of the people in his audience have said similar things while playing games online, it’s the partnerships that he has with and outside of YouTube that matter and at this point. PewDiePie is persona non grata and it might take him a long time to find new sponsorship. If ever.