It’s simple PewDiePie, just don’t say the n-word…

By now, most of you will be familiar with the latest controversy involving the most famous gamer on the planet. If not, I thank you for crawling out from under your rock to read this article. Basically, during a live stream of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg used a racial slur. And the internet lost its mind.

To Felix’s credit, it didn’t take him long to issue an apology video. And he even seemed to come across as genuinely regretful… at first.

“I’m not going to make any excuses,” Felix said. “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.” Felix continued: “It’s not like I think I can say or do whatever I want and get away with it, that’s not it at all — I’m just an idiot. But that doesn’t make what I said or how I said it OK. I’m really sorry if I offended, hurt or disappointed anyone with all of this. Being in the position I am, I should know better.”

Nothing wrong with that.

“Whenever I go online and I hear other players use the same kind of language that I did,” Felix said. “I always find it extremely immature and stupid, and I hate how I now, personally, fed into that part of gaming as well. 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.”

“It was just the heat of the moment.”

See that right there. That’s the problem.

Despite insisting that he’s not going to make any excuses for his actions, Pewdiepie is more than happy to throw one at us at the start of his video. Felix claims that this was something that just slipped out in the “heat of the moment.”

You see, what Pewdiepie will have you believe is that playing video games can create enough stress that he couldn’t control what came out of his mouth.

I don’t buy it.

So… stressful. Must… be… racist! – Source Playerunknown’s Battleground

I don’t buy this excuse of getting caught in the heat of the moment. I don’t buy the mainstream caricature of a man-child gamer, barely in control of their emotions, that Pewdiepie’s actions seem to confirm. I don’t buy that this is truly why Felix decided to utter that hateful word.

Then, why did he?

To understand the reason, let’s look at the fallout

Well, it appears Twitter is abuzz with activity. Why don’t we check in and see what people are saying about this?

 

Ok, that wasn’t great. Maybe the response will be different from people working in the industry.

Seems fair enough. If a developer doesn’t want Felix playing their game because of his image, they’re well within their legal right.

People are going to freak out about this, aren’t they?

Yes, yes they will.

Damn… Maybe we are that immature

If anything, the effort to bend over backwards to explain away Felix’s actions displays how toxic the gaming community still is. What’s even worse is that how weak these arguments hold up to any scrutiny.

No, not everybody has said this word. I haven’t said it. And it’s pretty telling that there are gamers certain that everybody around them has used the n-word at least once.

I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that I don’t think Felix is a racist. But if we look at the intent and context, he is using the n-word to blow off steam. That’s pretty much the furthest thing for an acceptable context to use that word.

Oh, this one’s easy!

First of all, Australia doesn’t have free speech (yay us?), but even in America, that argument only applies to government censorship. YouTube and other developers are well within their right to drop him.

And now, that thing with Firewatch

Casual racism might be the worst of it, but it is by no means where this story ends.

The last wrinkle relates to the developers of Firewatch, Campo Santo. As a result of Pewdiepie’s actions, the developer issued a copyright takedown of any of his playthroughs of their products.

And despite what a large part of the internet believes, this is totally fine.

How could such a pretty game hate freedom? – Souce Firewatch

The entire Let’s Play industry exists as an informal agreement between developers and streamers. Streamers get to play and monetise the developers’ content, while the game company gets to take advantage of the free advertisement. Ultimately, the game still belongs to the publishers and they have the final say on who gets to stream and monetise their games.

And while there is definitely another argument to be had about overzealous publishers that issue DMCA takedowns at the whiff of any foul play, this is not one of those situations.

tl;dnr:

Pewdiepie said the n-word, developers took down his stream of their game and a section of the gaming community lost their mind.

Living proof that playing video games and watching cartoons all day can get you places. Specifically, places where you'll be writing about video games and cartoons all day.