Where Pewdiepie Went Wrong
HWM Singapore|April 2017

The Backlash From Youtube Star Pewdiepie’s Antisemitic Jokes Was Fast and Furious. But It Helped Nobody, and Achieved Nothing, While Pewdiepie’s Response Only Served to Deepen Existing Divisions Between the Media and a New Generation of Online Influencers. 
 

Koh Wanzi

PewDiePie was wrong, but not because he’s a Nazi

This past February, there was a furious sideshow going on against the backdrop of Donald Trump’s flailing administration. Felix Kjellberg, better known by his YouTube handle PewDiePie, found himself in the middle of a furore of his own making.

The YouTube star, who boasts over 50 million subscribers on his channel, was the focus of a Wall Street Journal article that singled out nine instances over a six month period where he referenced anti-Semitic humor.

The resulting outcry ended with Disney severing ties with Kjellberg, the cancellation of the YouTube Red series Scare PewDiePie, and the loss of his “Google Preferred” status at YouTube.

Ultimately, Kjellberg’s fall from grace forces us to think about the consequences that technology and the rise of open platforms for expression, like YouTube, have on the way we negotiate a convoluted information landscape and respond to it.

With great power comes great responsibility

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