Felix Kjellberg, also known as PewDiePie, has recently received a lot of criticism for his usage of the ‘N’ word on his YouTube stream earlier this week. While playing the new hit game #PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, the Youtube sensation was having trouble killing an opponent and was becoming visibly frustrated. After the opposing player managed to kill Kjellberg’s partner in the game, Kjellberg voiced his anger through the use of the ‘N’ #Word, surprising all his viewers with the abrupt usage. The tone was clear; #Pewdiepie was angry and so he used a vulgar term in order to voice his emotions. The issue is not that Kjellberg was angry on a live stream.

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The issue was and still is, the word chosen by one of the biggest names on the internet.

Now, Kjellberg may be facing suspension from YouTube and a hit in a number of followers he had amassed throughout the years. For someone who makes his living off of the number of viewers he manages to attract, this type of bad publicity could have major negative repercussions. PewDiePie recently created an apology #Video in order to address the issue where he states he used the word “in the heat of the moment.” He goes on to say the term is one of “the worst ones [he] can think of.” Although he seems apologetic, one cannot help but consider his intentions. Is his apology genuine or is he simply making an attempt at keeping all of his followers?

The purpose of the apology video

When PewDiePie used the ‘N’ word, there was no question that his intention was to hurt the individual who had been frustrating him at the time.

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Clearly, Kjellberg meant to use the word with malicious intent to hurt the other person. Considering the usage of the word is important when attempting to understand the YouTube star’s point of view in his apology video. His goal seems to be that of portraying his profanity as an innocent mistake, one that everyone makes every once in awhile. This word is not simply another vulgar word, though. It has a history and using it in the same way Kjellberg decided to means more to his black viewers than he may want to realize. Furthermore, this instance is not the first in which he is being criticized by his online community for making racially insensitive comments. Last time he was under this sort of scrutiny, he was being judged for his anti-Semitic comments and was losing his contract with Disney for it. Now he is making sure to apologize in a quicker fashion.

Reaction to PewDiePie

Many have voiced their opinion in opposition to the comments made by PewDiePie. However, there are also many followers who are advocating for all to forget about the event.

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A popular statement of defense by a commenter is that of using the example of popular Youtuber, iDubbz, and his casual usage of the ‘N’ word. These people believe that it is hypocritical to judge PewDiePie for being racially insensitive when another popular, white Youtube channel is using the same word and receiving no negative attention.

Taking into account the argument posed by these commenters, it is true that the negative publicity given to PewDiePie is unjust when considering others who are able to avoid criticism and even thrive for their use of such vulgar language. This does not excuse the fact that PewDiePie used a term which he knows is hurtful to many. As the individual with so many subscribers on Youtube, Kjellberg must hold himself to a higher standard in order to create an example for others attempting to match his following. As stated by Kjellberg himself in the apology video he posted, usage of such hurtful words is “immature.” PewDiePie has 57 million subscribers. The effect he has on the internet could be generally positive, or catastrophic, depending on how he uses his power of influence.