Tuesday, February 14, 2017

YouTube and Disney Drop Biggest Internet Gamer

PewDiePie (Felix Kjellberg), arguably the biggest name in streaming video games on YouTube, has made a huge misstep that could damage his career. The internet personality is known for being crude but in a childish manner. His demographic skews younger and his content is more potty humor, less R-rated. And even with his recent slew of stunts to try and push people's buttons, they're still pretty tame.

Yesterday, Disney announced they were dropping PewDiePie from their network for anti-Semitic videos (irony!). For those who don't know, Kjellberg's YouTube Network is called Revelmode. Revelmode is owned by Maker Studios, which is a collection of thousands of YouTube channels that produce original content. Disney purchased it in 2014 and Kjellberg has been with the Disney company ever sing. In 2016, they gave PewDiePie free reign with his channel, thinking he would stick to the content that he'd been producing up until then. However since September, he's been pushing the boundaries on what's acceptable content for YouTube and Disney. He's shown clips of Hitler's speeches, posted fan art of swastikas, among other offenses that go against YouTube policy.

Maker Studios has opted to drop the star for going too far with the commentary, though PewDiePie maintains that it was all in jest to see how much people would be willing to spend/donate for him to do stupid stuff. The last video which involved two men dressed in loincloths, holding an anti-Semitic banner while Kjellberg commented on it was the end of the line for Disney.

But Kjellberg's woes are not done. YouTube is removing PewDiePie from YouTube Red. His show 'Scare PewDiePie' was renewed for a second season, and it's argued that it was one of YouTube's highest rated series - YouTube does not provide viewer numbers or advertising sales for this content. Since the announcement of being dropped by Disney, YouTube is stepping away as well. He's also been removed from 'Google Preferred' which is a search-safe verification service for advertisers. 

PewDiePie will still be on YouTube and he can still make money off his videos, but not as much as before. His channel is still active and he posted content as recent as 22 hours ago, as of the posting of this blog article. 

For those who say people are being too sensitive, that's your opinion. YouTube and Disney have content guidelines and allowed Kjellberg to get away with a lot because of his earning status. But that doesn't make him immune to the rules. Saying "death to all Jews" or even inferring it is not funny. It's scary. And we live in a jacked up world right now where what you say matters, even in jest. Kjellberg can claim that he's doing it for laughs and doesn't really mean it, but when you do it repeatedly, it's difficult to maintain that position. Antisemitism is not funny. Ever. Anything that involves harming or the threatening of death to another living creature is not, and will never be humorous. That's not being sensitive: that's being a human being.

We'll update the story as more information becomes available.

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