“I’m just a guy making jokes on the internet,”
September 14, 2017 7:58 AM   Subscribe

PewDiePie Posts Apology Video After Using Racial Slur by Julia Alexander [Polygon] “Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg has posted an apology video [YouTube] for using a racial slur during a recent livestream [YouTube] almost two days after the initial video was posted. “I’m disappointed in myself because it seems like I’ve learned nothing from all these past controversies,” Kjellberg said. “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. “I can’t keep messing up like this.” Kjellberg’s comments resulted in backlash from the streaming community and game developers. Sean Vanaman, developer on Firewatch and co-founder of Campo Santo, tweeted that he would be filing copyright issue takedowns of any video Kjellberg posted playing through the studio’s present and future games.” [Previously.]

• There is no 'heat of the moment' in video games by Owen S. Good [Polygon]
“It isn’t fair to lay the entirety of toxic gamer culture at PewDiePie’s feet. Thousands go to the DefCon 1 of racial hatred in a multiplayer shooter, and those moments often pass unremarked-upon. But this collective is not an easily portable, easily documented, easily proven example of all the stereotypes about gamer culture. PewDiePie is. Need an adult who isn’t in charge of his feelings to parody gamers? Check. A guy shrieking racial invective as he guns down someone in the latest hit shooter? Check. Someone with a ninth grader’s zest for casual anti-Semitism telling Jew jokes he found online? Check. In addition to the heat-of-the-moment cop-out, PewDiePie’s defense also rests on a bullshit excuse retailed for years in forum posts. It depends upon those who glibly say that no one can rightly be offended by the casual use of a hateful word. But the word is loaded, and it’s being used as an insult here. In his own words, it’s the worst insult he could think of. He’s using a hateful term with a hateful past to try to hurt someone else in a game of make-believe.”
• There Is Absolutely A ‘Heat Of The Moment’ In Video Games by Jelani James [Attack of the Fanboy]
“Here’s the bottom line as far as I’m concerned: there is absolutely a “heat of the moment” in video games, but the issue is that of all the things that PewDiePie could have said on stream in front of millions, he chose to say the n-word. Before I continue, I need to say definitively that I’m not defending PewDiePie. I’m not personally offended by the word — despite me being black — but there’s no escaping the fact that what he did was wrong in essentially every way imaginable and potentially showed his true colors as a human being. With that out of the way, allow me to continue. As stated before, there is absolutely a “heat of the moment” in video games. These are the times when we do things that are sometimes unlike ourselves, often due to the presence of a strong emotion. For example, surely you could attribute assaulting someone after they crash into your car or even murdering someone after finding out they’re having a relationship with your significant other (an extreme example, I admit) as a result that came in the “heat of the moment.” But why are video games exempt? Yes, video games are meant to be played for our enjoyment, but it would be simply fallacious to believe that playing them can’t give rise to various negative emotions and the actions that come soon after depending on the situation.”
• We Need To Talk About PewDiePie by Javy Gwaltney [Game Informer]
“Gaming's problem with toxicity is not a secret. Anytime you load up Counter-Strike, Overwatch, DOTA 2, PUBG, Call of Duty, you're opening yourself up to the possibility you will hear insults, racial slurs, and other bigoted remarks. Gaming should, by its nature, be an inclusive experience where people feel safe to experience the richness of this medium, whatever form it takes, without having their ethnicity attacked. This is a problem in our backyard, one that we've cultivated over two decades by letting trash talk fester into something toxic. It's a multipronged failure. A failure on the part of developers to create sturdy systems that punish harmful players for their remarks. It's a failure on the part of gamers to step up during multiplayer matches, in forums, in public places when someone screams racial slurs because they're angry or having "a heated moment." And it is also, let's be very clear about this, a failure on the part of major outlets like ourselves to work toward making video games a place where everyone feels welcome. [...] The reason Kjellberg saying that slur is news when your average Call of Duty player saying it isn't, is because Kjellberg wields an influence that most people do not have. You may find yourself balking at the idea that a YouTuber gets to shape culture, but that's how reinforcement of ideas happen, especially when you cater to an audience that large, undoubtedly comprised of young people. Kjellberg's slur is news because it reinforces gaming's toxicity problem in a big way.”
• Can Copyright Law Bring Down PewDiePie? by Justin Charity [The Ringer]
“It’s an instantly controversial strategy — and also one of the first that could feasibly shake up the whole games-streaming economy, beyond PewDiePie and his outrageous ilk. If a major games publisher such as Microsoft Studios (which publishes PUBG) or Activision pressured Google to pull their content from PewDiePie’s YouTube channel, it’d be a remarkable blow to his $15 million per year business. But even a broader coalition of much smaller video game studios might work to disrupt PewDiePie’s livelihood with a wave of content takedowns. As much as that might intimidate PewDiePie, it might also go a long way to discourage similar behavior among streamers and the fans who obsessively follow them. That seems to be Vanaman’s aim, at least — leaning on copyright law to ameliorate gamer racism, of all problems. [...] If Vanaman has his way, a coalition of games publishers might do more to undermine PewDiePie’s influence than even Disney ever could. The thought of PewDiePie’s critics mounting a real, coordinated punishment of his repugnant conduct is an unexpected relief with potentially widespread ramifications if publishers subsequently apply these standards to other games streamers. Against all commercial odds, PewDiePie has defied several outrage cycles at this point. But Vanaman is playing a new game.”
• Sean Vanaman's @vanaman (Co-founder of Campo Santo - a video game company). His series of tweets on the subject of PewDiePie's racist commentary:
⁃ “We're filing a DMCA takedown of PewDiePie's Firewatch content and any future Campo Santo games.”
⁃ “There is a bit of leeway you have to have with the internet when u wake up every day and make video games. There's also a breaking point.”
⁃ “I am sick of this child getting more and more chances to make money off of what we make.”
⁃ “He's worse than a closeted racist: he's a propagator of despicable garbage that does real damage to the culture around this industry.”
⁃ “I'd urge other developers & will be reaching out to folks much larger than us to cut him off from the content that has made him a milionaire”
⁃ “Furthermore, we're complicit: I'm sure we've made money off of the 5.7M views that video has and that's something for us to think about.”
⁃ “Lastly: I love streamers. I watch them daily and we sent out over 3000 keys to professional and amateur streamers of FW”
• Why was it so easy to weaponize copyright against PewDiePie? by Adi Robertson [The Verge]
“Live streams or prerecorded “Let’s Play” videos are hugely popular and often lucrative, but they rest on a shaky legal foundation. Almost by definition, gameplay videos are full of game developers’ copyright-protected art. So without a studio’s permission, these videos are only legal if they count as fair use — a DMCA exception that protects criticism, parody, and other creative repurposing of a copyrighted work. Fair use is a broad standard decided on a case-by-case basis, but artists and entertainers in some fields can look at past legal decisions for a sense of what’s acceptable. For Let’s Play videos, these cases are almost nonexistent. Kendra Albert, a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center who works on video games and intellectual property, says that’s because there’s a largely symbiotic relationship between studios and video creators. “Most game companies understand that it's often in their economic interest to allow streamers to stream the game and send it out to a broader audience, and so there hasn't been a ton of litigation over it,” says Albert. Some studios, including Campo Santo, offer explicit permission for streams and Let’s Plays. Most video makers don’t want an adversarial relationship with developers, either — especially if they cover one big game, like Overwatch or League of Legends, full-time.”
• Here’s what the law says about PewDiePie’s fight with Campo Santo by Timothy B. Lee [ArsTechnica]
“Copyright law provides copyright holders with an expedited way to get material removed without filing a lawsuit. This process, called a DMCA takedown notice, is what Campo Santo vowed to use against PewDiePie. It works like this: a copyright holder can send an online service like YouTube a formal notice that user-submitted content violates copyright law. The law doesn't require service providers to take down the material, but it grants providers immunity from copyright lawsuits if they do so. That's such a valuable benefit that most service providers automatically take down material in response to copyright complaints, creating an obvious potential for abuse. The law theoretically imposes penalties for frivolous or bogus takedown notices, and these have proven extraordinarily difficult to enforce in practice. What the target of the takedown (in this case, PewDiePie) can do, however, is issue a counter-notice stating that the content isn't actually infringing. The service provider (YouTube) is required to pass this notice back to the copyright holder (Campo Santo). The copyright holder has two options at that point: file a lawsuit in court or allow the content to go back online. Only if the copyright holder chooses to file a lawsuit will a court ever rule on whether the file actually violated copyright law.”
posted by Fizz (168 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 


Waypoint had good related content-- the most recent Waypoint radio (word is said in full several times by Austin Walker), and an article by Patrick Klepek (where the word is printed in full several times; Walker said that he edited the article: "(And yes, I chose where we used the word.)").
posted by supercres at 8:08 AM on September 14 [5 favorites]


Note on supercres's links: Austin Walker is black.
posted by muddgirl at 8:10 AM on September 14 [5 favorites]


Pewdiepie is a racist asshole, but this DMCA takedown is a bad idea.
posted by Pendragon at 8:12 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


Can someone give a definition of a PewDiePie in a sentence or two for the morbidly curious but uninitiated? (I hear the name occasionally on, like, Chapo Trap House, but from the context I can't really tell him apart from a Baked Alaska.)
posted by Beardman at 8:12 AM on September 14


Yes, sorry. Meant to include that bit of context.
posted by supercres at 8:12 AM on September 14


Beardman: PewDiePie is probably the most financially successful "Let's Player" on the (english speaking?) Internet; he streams himself playing video games and talking over them to a huge audience and has literally made millions of dollars doing it.
posted by dismas at 8:14 AM on September 14 [7 favorites]


He has repeatedly stepped in it with regards to race and ableist slurs, among other things.
posted by dismas at 8:15 AM on September 14 [4 favorites]


Thanks for sharing that Waypoint article supercres. It's worth reading.
posted by Fizz at 8:15 AM on September 14


@Beardman

Pewdiepie is one of the most prominent and successful Youtubers whose shtick is to play video games and overreact for a young (teenish) audience. He has also had a long history of showing his true (bigoted) colors.
posted by coolname at 8:15 AM on September 14 [8 favorites]


The first I heard of him was Retsupurae's crowdsourced Adults React to Pewdiepie (this is the one with a lot less profanity and screaming about rape), which was bad enough.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:15 AM on September 14 [3 favorites]


OK, got it! Thank you.

I feel like my life is already richer...
posted by Beardman at 8:19 AM on September 14 [6 favorites]


Imagine you had a generation of kids who are told that certain things are taboo, but are raised in the midst of lots of South Park content that uses those taboos for comic shock effect. So the message you get is that this stuff is wrong, and adults hate it, but there's an entire subset of kids who think the lowest common denominator of funny is saying stuff that pisses off your parents, or adults in general.

So you have these creatively bankrupt idiots just playing video games while making goofy Cartman-from-South Park voices and screaming racial epithets and stuff about raping things. Because their audience has no sense of nuance, and they just keep doing what gets them viewers.
posted by mikeh at 8:22 AM on September 14 [45 favorites]


Can someone give a definition of a PewDiePie in a sentence or two

Genetically engineered snake-person clone designed to babble neurolinguistic programming nonsense at just the right tone and pitch to attract and program preteen and teenaged boys. It escaped from the SCP warehouses about 5 years ago and assumed the form and identity of some random YouTuber.

If you know of the geographical location of this clone entity please contact the SCP Foundation by dialling 1-800-GOT-WEIRD. They will send a containment crew immediately.
posted by loquacious at 8:23 AM on September 14 [74 favorites]


1. I don't believe PewDiePie's apology for a second. This isn't his first cross with displaying overt racism, and the last time it happened his viewership actually *rose*. Contrary to the defense, though, it just isn't normal for someone to shout racist epithets in general, let alone specifically in multiplayer gaming, unless that's something they already consider appropriate -- and if they do find that appropriate, well then that's your racism right there.

2. The DMCA takedown of his videos is on very shaky footing, and I don't think it will survive a challenge. The studio encourages people to post LetsPlay videos of their games, and even to monetize them. Even if they didn't, there's a strong case for those videos counting as fair use (as long as the subject didn't sign some release, such as when getting a beta/review copy). Further, if the studio takes down *his* videos but not *other people's* videos, they may even further extend themselves into troubling territory.
posted by mystyk at 8:23 AM on September 14 [9 favorites]


I mean, South Park is not the only source of this stuff, but it's the easiest reference point. There's also the entire history of YouTube celebrities that seem completely brainless to me, but I have a lot more cultural points of reference as an adult so repeatedly screaming about nothing seems pretty boring.
posted by mikeh at 8:24 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


Everyone hates racist duck, the fucking racist, who had a milkshake again.
posted by Artw at 8:25 AM on September 14 [31 favorites]


I'm so tired of these all-or-nothing things. Like, the dude has this massive audience, massive influence, massive reach. Why does it have to be either "he's fine," or "he's awful, eradicate him?"

Why can't dudes who find themselves in this situation ever find the strength to take the middle path:

"I've realized that to some degree, I'm a fuckup, but I want to make it better. I've reached out to people and in the coming weeks, I'll be working on a video series where we can learn to be better people together. I can't promise I'll be perfect, learning is a process, but I'm gonna try more. Meanwhile, I'll be setting aside 20% of my profit to donate to charities that fight racism and bigotry. I want to be part of the solution, rather than the problem."

Dude doesn't have to go full SJW, but is it so hard to say, "I have the means and ability to at least not be part of the problem"?
posted by explosion at 8:26 AM on September 14 [16 favorites]


loquacious: if this doesn't already have an entry on the SCP site, I suspect it will soon.
posted by mystyk at 8:27 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


“I can’t keep messing up like this.”

It seems like you can.
posted by tillermo at 8:28 AM on September 14 [20 favorites]


They will send a containment crew

Specifically, Mobile Task Force Theta-7 ("Troll Hunters").
posted by Iridic at 8:29 AM on September 14 [8 favorites]


I find it encouraging that not all of his YouTube and IRL friends are defending him. For example, there's CinnamonToastKen's response.
posted by Mouse Army at 8:29 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


“I’m just a guy making jokes on the internet"

No, you're a guy with 50 million+ mostly very young followers who is making jokes on the internet, and as a result you have a huge responsibilty to use your influence wisely.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 8:30 AM on September 14 [21 favorites]


“I can’t keep messing up like this.”

It seems like you can.

Yep, it's super easy to use a word you commonly use when you're not streaming when you forget you're streaming. All this incident did for me is show me he must be very fucking used to dropping that word with anger and hate in his normal, everyday life outside of his streams. He said it in that way I say "god damn it" or "motherfucker" without even thinking, just kneejerk cusses.
posted by deadaluspark at 8:32 AM on September 14 [34 favorites]


Imagine you had a generation of kids who are told that certain things are taboo, but are raised in the midst of lots of South Park content that uses those taboos for comic shock effect.

It's not hard to imagine. My generation grew up with Andrew Dice Clay and 2LiveCrew and Blazing Saddles, among others, after all.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:33 AM on September 14 [6 favorites]


Additionally, the "heat of the moment" defense makes no sense. Your adrenaline's pumping, your inhibitions are down, your brain reaches out for the words that are most accessible, and you blurt it out with the fewest inhibitions.

Why, then, would his most accessible words be slurs, instead of "motherfucker" or "son of a biscuit"? It's hard to imagine that someone's capable of belting out slurs in the heat of the moment unless they've internalized them.

I absolutely believe in "heat of the moment," but I believe it's evidence that he *is* a racist.
posted by explosion at 8:35 AM on September 14 [50 favorites]


Genetically engineered snake-person clone designed to babble neurolinguistic programming nonsense at just the right tone and pitch to attract and program preteen and teenaged boys.

Maybe I'm behind the times, but isn't he huge with girls too? I thought that was one of the things that set him apart, back when he was starting out.

Anyway, some people need to stop being so sensitive and resist the urge to flip out whenever something that's clearly racist gets called out as such. Kjellberg was fine after YouTube cancelled his show and he'll be fine after this. He doesn't need people bombarding Firewatch with negative reviews or acting like idiots on Twitter on his behalf. I hope he's sincere in his apology and that he tries to get better, but I'm not holding my breath.

Not a huge fan of Campo Santo using the DMCA takedown here, but I'm sympathetic to their reasoning.
posted by ODiV at 8:36 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


I'm ignorant of Let's Plays... do people just upload them without editing them? Are they broadcast live or something? It's very strange that someone would upload content without making sure that they endorse that content.
posted by Jpfed at 8:36 AM on September 14


What an odd world we live in.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 8:36 AM on September 14 [7 favorites]


The DMCA takedown of his videos is on very shaky footing, and I don't think it will survive a challenge. The studio encourages people to post LetsPlay videos of their games, and even to monetize them. Even if they didn't, there's a strong case for those videos counting as fair use (as long as the subject didn't sign some release, such as when getting a beta/review copy).

What would that case be? In the Adi Robertson piece that's part of this post, it says Fair use is a broad standard decided on a case-by-case basis, but artists and entertainers in some fields can look at past legal decisions for a sense of what’s acceptable. For Let’s Play videos, these cases are almost nonexistent.

Are you saying that's wrong, and there are past legal cases that involve Let's Play videos? Or that there are cases about other instances of fair use that are on point? Can you cite some of them? Or are you saying there is a strong case that relies on something other than legal precedent? If so, what does it rely on?

Why can't dudes who find themselves in this situation ever find the strength to take the middle path:

I think PewDiePie attempted that gambit the last time he was caught making offensive remarks not so long ago.
posted by layceepee at 8:36 AM on September 14 [3 favorites]


He has tried lying, yes.
posted by Artw at 8:40 AM on September 14 [9 favorites]


explosion: "I absolutely believe in "heat of the moment," but I believe it's evidence that he *is* a racist.
"

This. It's like people who are mean drunks and start cursing you out after like 1 light beer. To me, it proves they're actually jerks all the time, they're just better at hiding it when they're sober.
posted by signal at 8:41 AM on September 14 [46 favorites]


The studio encourages people to post LetsPlay videos of their games, and even to monetize them.

Not really relevant to a copyright claim, unless they specifically authorized him to do this particular one.

Even if they didn't, there's a strong case for those videos counting as fair use (as long as the subject didn't sign some release, such as when getting a beta/review copy).

A release wouldn't change the statutory fair-use analysis, although it might provide a separate contractual right of action against him. And, as a copyright minimalist, I'd say that the case for fair use generally in Let's Plays has some serious weaknesses (especially as they do seem to function as market substitutes for some--I've certainly watched LPs for games I don't own and won't buy).

Further, if the studio takes down *his* videos but not *other people's* videos, they may even further extend themselves into troubling territory.

Again, not really relevant to a legal copyright analysis (as against a policy one). You can enforce your rights against those you choose while not enforcing them against others.

Whether or not the takedowns are a good thing for humankind is obviously a question open to anyone, but--saying this gently--if a nonlawyer thinks she understands how copyright law works as a technical matter...she probably doesn't. I have rarely seen an area of human knowledge where more educated people think they actually understand the rules and just don't.
posted by praemunire at 8:41 AM on September 14 [13 favorites]


I'm ignorant of Let's Plays... do people just upload them without editing them?

Often people will livestream gameplay to an audience and then upload the stream after minor or no editing to a video site. That way they can monetize the same #content twice.
posted by ODiV at 8:43 AM on September 14 [3 favorites]


I'm ignorant of Let's Plays... do people just upload them without editing them? Are they broadcast live or something? It's very strange that someone would upload content without making sure that they endorse that content.

Both. YouTube is full of pre-recorded, edited Lets Plays, but with the advent of Twitch and other streaming platforms livestreaming gameplay has gotten a lot easier and more common. One big advantage to the livesteam is that fans can interact (via chat) with the player in realtime. Its like watching sports, but knowing that the player can actually see your comments.
posted by anastasiav at 8:44 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


For some more context and history about PDP's "apologies," I suggest reading MeFite Hermione Granger's story from a previous thread.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:45 AM on September 14 [17 favorites]


You can enforce your rights against those you choose while not enforcing them against others.

Is that really true, though? As a fan of Let's Plays generally (although not PDP or that specific game) I'd be concerned that vigorous use of DCMAs against players that the developers don't like for one reason or another would become something of a slippery slope. My instinct is that once they start taking down some people, there will be increasing pressure from the legal side to take down everyone.
posted by anastasiav at 8:48 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


The studio encourages people to post LetsPlay videos of their games, and even to monetize them.
They also have the right to rescind that permission as they see fit - that's the whole point of copyright. Which is what they're doing in this case.

Even if they didn't, there's a strong case for those videos counting as fair use (as long as the subject didn't sign some release, such as when getting a beta/review copy).
No, there isn't, especially in the case of monetized Let's Plays, which this was. Most of the commentators I've seen have pointed other that the fair use argument is shaky at best, and as such nobody really wants this near a court, because nobody knows what will happen - hence why Jim Sterling called PDP a liability for the whole YouTube industry.

Further, if the studio takes down *his* videos but not *other people's* videos, they may even further extend themselves into troubling territory.
Nope, as pointed out above, they're well within their rights to specifically rescind permission to PDP. Furthermore, for people trying to paint this as developer overreach and chilling speech, this is the "worst case scenario" in terms of that - this is a developer responding to an individual with a long history of racist comments using a particularly offensive slur in a livestream, looking to break ties.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:50 AM on September 14 [7 favorites]


Pressure from what legal side? You mean like within Campo Santo?
posted by ODiV at 8:51 AM on September 14


Also, we're already at the bottom of the DMCA slippery slope -- companies routinely send out robosigned copyright claims against anything that runs afoul of a slapped-together algorithm, even their own posts. They suffer no penalty and the copyright "strike" usually stands. There's no more bad precedent to be set. At least this is being done by an actual human intelligence, for a good purpose.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:55 AM on September 14 [12 favorites]


Further, if the studio takes down *his* videos but not *other people's* videos, they may even further extend themselves into troubling territory.

Why is that, specifically, troubling? I think IP law has a lot of problems, but I don't think this specifically is one of them. The thing about owning property is having the right to determine how other people use your stuff--including not necessarily being forced to sue everybody who borrows your garden hose without asking. You're allowed to say that hey, people who borrow my garden hose but put it back all nicely every time and are generally polite about it? You're cool. That one guy who took it and used it to spray the neighbors for no reason and then left it in a tangled heap in the driveway? You don't get to borrow it anymore.
posted by Sequence at 8:55 AM on September 14 [16 favorites]


If Vanaman has his way, a coalition of games publishers might do more to undermine PewDiePie’s influence than even Disney ever could.

Possibly relatedly, if you have Steam and have owned or played Firewatch, the reviews are currently being bombed by Pewdiepie supporters. An honest review of how you liked the actual game would be really helpful right now - the trolls are out in earnest gunning for Campo Santo.
posted by corb at 8:59 AM on September 14 [8 favorites]


PewDiePie should mow my lawn and pay me a dollar, because he sucks and should be destroyed.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:00 AM on September 14 [3 favorites]


An honest review of how you liked the actual game would be really helpful right now - the trolls are out in earnest gunning for Campo Santo.

Of course one of the better games with a focus on narrative is now getting hounded by fucking maroons.

Ugh can someone bring up Half Life 3 again so they can go trash Valve some more instead?
posted by deadaluspark at 9:02 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


... and so as to not abuse the edit window: one part of this that is fascinating to me is that PewDiePie is Swedish (although I think he now lives in the UK). I guess (in my limited USAian view) I think of Sweden as something of a progressive utopia. I don't want to use the word surprising, exactly, but I do find that this adds another facet to the whole conversation. A lot of people I know online who only see the headlines assume that he's from a more overtly racist social background - US or UK. I don't really know where I'm going with this observation, exactly, except I guess to say that racism is pervasive and, to some degree, catching. English is his second or third language. The slurs he uses he would have largely learned through absorbing internet culture, not on a primary school playground or at his parents knee.
posted by anastasiav at 9:03 AM on September 14 [4 favorites]


I'm all for people using whatever legal weapons they have at their disposal to deprive these MRA Nazi recruitment agents from having an audience, so, yay. But also: why not the platforms? Why the fuck is google (and whoever else) ok with making money off of this shit?
posted by schadenfrau at 9:03 AM on September 14 [3 favorites]


Possibly relatedly, if you have Steam and have owned or played Firewatch, the reviews are currently being bombed by Pewdiepie supporters.

This is what enrages me the most. Someone will say something horrible or do something awful and a legion of trolls will crawl out from under their rocks to defend the behavior, doubling-down on that same awfulness and use their numbers to cause even more trouble. Ugh.
posted by Fizz at 9:07 AM on September 14 [12 favorites]


"PewDiePie is probably the most financially successful "Let's Player" on the (english speaking?) Internet; he streams himself playing video games and talking over them to a huge audience and has literally made millions of dollars doing it."

O brave new world, that has such people in it.
posted by kevinbelt at 9:08 AM on September 14 [7 favorites]


O brave new world, that has such people in it.

Honestly, this is no different than NBC broadcasting a tennis match live, except for the very important consideration that the players themselves have control over the content that is being broadcast. A "Let's Player" is not only the player, but serves as producer, editor, and publicist for their own content.

We've watched live sports for years. This is just a different kind of sports entertainment, is all.
posted by anastasiav at 9:13 AM on September 14 [7 favorites]


“I’m disappointed in myself because it seems like I’ve learned nothing from all these past controversies,” Kjellberg said. “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. “I can’t keep messing up like this.”

Worst insincere sack of shit white boy apology ever or worstest insincere sack of shit white boy apology ever?
posted by Squeak Attack at 9:13 AM on September 14 [19 favorites]


The nation of Sweden may be progressive but the nation of Games is alt-right racist crapzone as fuck.
posted by Artw at 9:15 AM on September 14 [33 favorites]


If you're like me, you're maybe asking yourself:
“What can I do in these situations as a human who is not a piece of shit and dislikes this toxic gaming culture?!”
I'm trying to think of ways to fight back against these trolls because this shit is unacceptable and I've been silent for too long. I love video-games but this kind of toxic gaming is ruining it for me.

I generally turn off voice/chat in online gaming because its just too much and I'd rather not subject myself to hate/bigotry/homophobia/etc. But this doesn't really help.

I feel like I need to be more vocal in calling people out on their bullshit. But that kind of mental/emotional work is also not something that people should feel obligated to do. It's also not something everyone is in a position to safely do. When you do this, you open yourself up to further harassment/abuse (both online and in real life). Ugh.

We need to be better at battling these trolls but fuck, it's not as easy as just: see something, do something. And they're so many of them. Fuck.
posted by Fizz at 9:21 AM on September 14 [5 favorites]


Whenever I hear Sweden being "progressive" I think back to this thing from five years ago (Guardian, article highlights some other shitty stuff too).

It's easier to come off as not-racist when everything is dismissed as humour and there aren't as many people of colour around to a) trigger your racism or b) call you on your shit.
posted by ODiV at 9:25 AM on September 14 [17 favorites]


Hmm...
• Supporting positive games journalism with clicks and with dollars when you're able to
• Being positive when playing games with friends and strangers
• Lift people up instead of putting them down
• If you feel safe and are willing to put yourself out there, call people out on their shit, let them know its not acceptable
• Talk to your friends/family about your own experience with gaming and gaming culture (both negative and positive)
Feel free to add to this list or help make mine better.

Fuck PewDiePie and gamergate/gaming culture.
posted by Fizz at 9:27 AM on September 14 [3 favorites]


We need to be better at battling these trolls but fuck, it's not as easy as just: see something, do something. And they're so many of them. Fuck

Couldn't you coordinate with your other nonshitty friends to crash their shitty party (server, or whatever) and shame them? Just make your own safer spaces where they are not welcome and they get shouted down?
posted by schadenfrau at 9:30 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


one part of this that is fascinating to me is that PewDiePie is Swedish (although I think he now lives in the UK). I guess (in my limited USAian view) I think of Sweden as something of a progressive utopia. I don't want to use the word surprising, exactly, but I do find that this adds another facet to the whole conversation. A lot of people I know online who only see the headlines assume that he's from a more overtly racist social background - US or UK. I don't really know where I'm going with this observation, exactly, except I guess to say that racism is pervasive and, to some degree, catching. English is his second or third language. The slurs he uses he would have largely learned through absorbing internet culture, not on a primary school playground or at his parents knee.

It's time to put to bed the idea that Sweden is less racist than the average western country. They have a long history of treating Sami as second class citizens. Afrophobia is a growing problem. They are experiencing a rise in anti-semetic, anti-immigrant political parties such as the Sweden Democrats . I think it's just too damn easy to look at "progressive" cultures and assume they're on the right side in every sense. I also think it gives other cultures the opportunity to say "well, we're not as racist as you" which is particularly unhelpful to the groups being discriminated against in those countries. I also find it entirely believable that PDP is exposed to ideas and slurs that wouldn't be out of place in many parts of Europe, including Scandinavia.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:45 AM on September 14 [23 favorites]


Me: "Well maybe this PewDiePie guy just made some tasteless decisions and pushed the envelope a little too far. I'm gonna give him the benefit of the doubt and hope he learns from his mistakes."

PDP: *straight up n-word, yelled loud and clear*

Me: "Welp."
posted by FakeFreyja at 9:49 AM on September 14 [6 favorites]



Additionally, the "heat of the moment" defense makes no sense. Your adrenaline's pumping, your inhibitions are down, your brain reaches out for the words that are most accessible, and you blurt it out with the fewest inhibitions.

Why, then, would his most accessible words be slurs, instead of "motherfucker" or "son of a biscuit"? It's hard to imagine that someone's capable of belting out slurs in the heat of the moment unless they've internalized them.
Isn't this kinda definitionally coprolalia? The brain clearly has a place for transgressive words, is it surprising that n***** is lumped in with every other slur and swear?

If we believe that there exists a bucket of transgressive words in the brain, and when in the "heat of the moment" people grab randomly from that bucket -- possibly with an additional conscious filtering step -- is it impossible that the filtering step is just skipped? Clearly we all know these words, and clearly we all know they're Not To Be Said.. I've certainly seen documentaries of people with Tourette's saying them, however.

Granted, this is PewDiePie. I'm not trying to excuse him or his history. I'm just vaguely curious why "heat of the moment" wouldn't be *exactly* the explanation for this.
posted by DoubtingThomas at 9:56 AM on September 14 [3 favorites]


Because almost all of us experience "heat of the moment" moments, often in much more serious situations than videogames, and we somehow manage to avoid slurs.
posted by yellowbinder at 10:06 AM on September 14 [24 favorites]


Yeah, but that's begging the question. I'm not a neurologist. I know only enough to get myself in trouble. Is it really as binary as either "you have coprolalia", or "you never exhibit symptoms of coprolalia"? I don't think a heated game is an excuse, but I wouldn't be surprised by the idea that there exist moments where all social filters are bypassed.
posted by DoubtingThomas at 10:16 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


Times in my life that I've gotten upset and accidentally blurted out the n-world: 0
posted by octothorpe at 10:19 AM on September 14 [51 favorites]


A Speznaz veteran once said "Under pressure, nobody rises to the occasion; people sink to the lowest level of their preparation."

Once is accident.
Twice is coincidence.
Three times is dyed-in-the-wool racist who is good at passing for a decent human being most of the time the cameras are on, or when in mixed company.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:19 AM on September 14 [16 favorites]



A Speznaz veteran once said "Under pressure, nobody rises to the occasion; people sink to the lowest level of their preparation."
Once is accident.
Twice is coincidence.
Three times is dyed-in-the-wool racist who is good at passing for a decent human being most of the time the cameras are on, or when in mixed company.
.. I can get behind this. It's the "once" I'm curious about. I'm off before I get called an apologist.
posted by DoubtingThomas at 10:22 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


My default state is "curse like a sailor" and when I stub my toe or someone almost kills me in traffic I will let fly with those "heat of the moment" words. Words such as "Fuck!" "Asshole!" "Shit!" do come flying out in a way that my workplace or my-kid-is-with-me filter would normally stop. They're tip-of-the-tongue when shit is going down because I really do have a potty mouth and I'm fully aware. When I'm just with my husband relaxing at home, I use "fuck" as every part of speech with impunity.

Moral of the story: shit that you never say in casual company does not magically come flying out of your mouth during moments of lowered inhibitions. Shit you ALWAYS say in casual company does. That's kind of the definition.
posted by soren_lorensen at 10:23 AM on September 14 [34 favorites]


Because almost all of us experience "heat of the moment" moments, often in much more serious situations than videogames, and we somehow manage to avoid slurs.

Yeah, this. I mean, when my guard is down I curse HORRIBLY, in this mangled Nica-New York accent that is atrocious. And yet I cannot even conceive of a situation in which this could happen, even if I was drunk out of my skull, because that's just not a word I ever fucking have cause to reach for.

This is more the case of "I didn't mean to say it on the live stream."
posted by corb at 10:29 AM on September 14 [6 favorites]


Is it really as binary as either "you have coprolalia", or "you never exhibit symptoms of coprolalia"?

You can't just use the word "coprolalia" to mean anything you want it to mean--it means a specific neurological problem that leads to vocal tics. PewDiePie's past history includes ludicrously antisemitic behavior that was completely planned and executed... what neurological disorder are we going to blame that on? Even most people with Tourette's don't have coprolalia according to its actual definition; it is quite rare and is not, as that page you linked clearly states, inclusive of "contextual swearing".
posted by Sequence at 10:34 AM on September 14 [17 favorites]


I'm still trying to get my mind around the fact that you can make so much [any] money streaming yourself playing video games over the internet.
posted by gottabefunky at 10:35 AM on September 14 [5 favorites]


The interesting thing about "heat of the moment" is there's words we say all the time, and words that we have set to one side for use only in "the heat of the moment". These are the words we will frequently let loose when enraged or surprised. Beyond that are words we know exist, and might have said at some point, but just don't exercise enough for them to come spilling out in the heat of any moments. It's not like all expletives that you have ever heard have an equal chance of being spat out in a fit of rage - you'll spit out the ones you're used to saying in those conditions.

Like, when I'm sitting here playing Nethack while my daughter is watching something on YouTube, and I have Yet Another Stupid Death, I might blurt out a blue word that I sure wouldn't want her hearing, but it came out anyway. What I won't be blurting out are racial epithets, because I just don't use these words in any context.

So that, coupled with PDP's past behavior, just for me brings to mind that old Quebecois saying, "Don't be sorry; be careful". He wouldn't have to keep making these hollow apologies if he could keep from, you know, acting like a racist shitbag.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 10:40 AM on September 14 [12 favorites]


Extent to which I buy any excuse on this: 0
posted by Artw at 10:46 AM on September 14 [24 favorites]


Believe me, if anything comes out of my mouth in the heat of the moment, Jesus Christ is probably sick of hearing my voice all the time.

Dude's a racist shitbag. He got caught AGAIN, is all.
posted by Kitteh at 10:47 AM on September 14 [8 favorites]


Severely bipolar, virtually no emotional control before finding the right meds, and in my late teens/early twenties good enough at FPS games to have made a few hundred bucks in large tournaments (competitive but not pro), with the thousands of hours of playing required to reach that point. I have said a lot of terrible, terrible shit to people in games during moments of white hot, clawing-bloody-gouges-into-my-forearms rage. I have been so angry I have fractured bones in my hands.

And yet despite being raised deeply conservative I have never once used the n-word in jest or in anger. Whether he's genuinely racist or just catering to his fanbase is immaterial. This behavior must not be tolerated.
posted by Ryvar at 10:49 AM on September 14 [26 favorites]


I'm still trying to get my mind around the fact that you can make so much [any] money streaming yourself playing video games over the internet.

Not only did he do that, he's in the process of throwing it all away because he loves saying and doing awful shit more than he loves the millions of dollars he's making (and could conceivably make for the foreseeable future) for playing video games poorly and yelling at the screen. It's kind of astounding. How do you stumble on what is essentially a dream career for countless lazy teenagers and continually sabotage it with your unrelated racism, misogyny, and antisemitism? What kind of awful shithead do you have to be to decide a partnership with Disney and enough money to satisfy every material desire you've ever had in your life is less valuable to you than being publicly racist and having to do a makeshift apology tour every 6 months?

I mean, I know he's going to be fine because none of these assholes ever go away or are more than temporarily hurt by being loudly and proudly bigoted, but I can't really understand the mentality that getting to be The Racist Gamer Pariah is better than being uncontroversial and showered with millions of dollars in perpetuity for possibly the lowest amount of effort in human history.
posted by Copronymus at 10:57 AM on September 14 [21 favorites]


In a related note: Blizzard's Jeff Kaplan says toxic behaviour is slowing Overwatch development [Eurogamer]
“Dealing with toxic behaviour is slowing Overwatch development, Blizzard's Jeff Kaplan has said.

In the latest Overwatch developer update video, called Play Nice, Play Fair, Kaplan addressed an issue which has been plaguing the Overwatch community for some time - "the rising tide of toxicity or bad behaviour in the game versus what are we Blizzard going to do about it and what are we as a community together going to do about it".

It is no secret Blizzard has been fighting a battle with toxic Overwatch players and, as a result, is toughening its stance on bad behaviour. Last month, in an Overwatch forum thread, Kaplan laid out a roadmap for tackling unsavoury behaviour in-game. Blizzard also introduced a much-needed report feature to consoles in the game's latest patch.”
posted by Fizz at 11:04 AM on September 14 [17 favorites]


Trolls are actually hindering development of the games they love to troll. The sad irony of this and the fact that it hurts everyone who loves gaming and video-games in general. Fuck.
posted by Fizz at 11:05 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


I am impressed with Blizzards priorities there.
posted by Artw at 11:11 AM on September 14


The problem is twofold - developers don't realize that toxicity needs to be planned for from the start, and the tech industry as a whole needs to realize that not every user is worth keeping.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:21 AM on September 14 [7 favorites]


I play Overwatch; in Kaplan's video he also a) Admits to bad behavior e.g. saying mean things on his part in the past, and b) Tells his audience that pointing out that toxicity has cost Overwatch development is not meant to be a guilt trip tactic.

So I was really impressed by Kaplan's openness and nuanced attitude in these regards. In that video he also contrasted/compared internet rage vs road rage, e.g. some notions about driver psychology, and for example the need for appropriate structures/environments conducive to community building and aspirational game playing. On the other hand, in the same video he never questions the tension between his/Blizzard's notion of "community" and also explicitly saying c) They simply don't want people who cause toxic behavior "We just don't want these people here", which in the video is an explicitly, "draw line in the sand" moment in saying that the way they're going to deal with this is punishment and exclusion if necessary. So what's interesting to think about but omitted in his outlook is how corporations do things in relation to what are fundamentally social and political issues, etc.
posted by polymodus at 11:22 AM on September 14 [3 favorites]


In general, bad actors are a huge tax on game developers' time and attention. My spouse works on a game that nixed the whole idea of maintaining in-game chat features because they didn't want to be liable for policing it, and they have a huge subteam devoted entirely to abuse. These are people who'd rather be working on making games fun and instead are stuck fighting bots. Whenever fans complain about how slowly games roll out new features, keep in mind that a huge percentage of multiplayer game dev time is spent on limiting the damage that bad gamers do to games. Gamers truly are their own worst enemies in SO MANY WAYS. Games would be so much cooler if game developers didn't have to waste time and energy on mitigating abuse and toxicity.
posted by potrzebie at 11:31 AM on September 14 [7 favorites]


Blizzard also introduced a much-needed report feature to consoles in the game's latest patch

the report feature seems useful but i guess it lacks a way to know if your report actually DID anything? which i realize is not something that they could feasibly implement with 30 million players or whatever. you do receive a little alert message that your report was received/processed/in some way noted, which is good at least. but it would be nice to hear that the player who was on the mic screaming violent racist invective had a blizzard employee go to their home and slap them across the face with a cactus. or was banned, whatever.

really the best part of it is how each possible category for your report has specific guidelines about what a reportable offense is, and is not, in that category. you can practically hear the exhaustion in their tone when they're like "being very good at playing a hero is not actually considered cheating".
posted by poffin boffin at 11:32 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


>How do you stumble on what is essentially a dream career for countless lazy teenagers and continually sabotage it with your unrelated racism, misogyny, and antisemitism?

I'm skeptical that this hurts him in any way. No deal with Disney, maybe, but he's already made enough money to retire comfortably for several lifetimes. Anybody who was going to not like him because of his "slips" already doesn't like him. He's building an audience of people who don't care about, or approve of, this kind of shit, and the present fuss is helping him do it; no such thing as bad publicity.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 11:35 AM on September 14 [3 favorites]


"I’m really sorry if I offended, hurt or disappointed anyone with all of this."

How about, "I'm really sorry THAT I offended, hurt, and disappointed many people"

"As stated before, there is absolutely a “heat of the moment” in video games. These are the times when we do things that are sometimes unlike ourselves, often due to the presence of a strong emotion. For example, surely you could attribute assaulting someone after they crash into your car or even murdering someone after finding out they’re having a relationship with your significant other (an extreme example, I admit) as a result that came in the “heat of the moment.” But why are video games exempt? Yes, video games are meant to be played for our enjoyment, but it would be simply fallacious to believe that playing them can’t give rise to various negative emotions and the actions that come soon after depending on the situation.”"


Okay I have never been tempted to assault someone who hit my car but DUDE, video games are FICTIONAL. I don't come out of a really stressful movie and start punching people in the face. I don't read a book full of misogyny and start kicking random dudes in the balls. I don't even throw it across the room! If playing a game makes you so upset you literally lose control of your emotions and language (not just some "gaaaah! I got shot again!" "Argh, this stupid controller!" kind of stuff), you probably need to stop playing the game. I mean, yes, games engage you emotionally because they're competitive or fun or challenging, but if you are literally suffering a loss of control from it, you need to stop and find a way to engage with games that doesn't overwhelm your ability to control yourself, or find another hobby that is not putting you at risk for an aneurysm.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:36 AM on September 14 [30 favorites]


Eyebrows McGee, you took the words right out of my mouth (and, alas, ruined my chance at making a "don't call me Shirley joke).
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 12:04 PM on September 14


Fuck him and fuck his "apology."
posted by tzikeh at 12:19 PM on September 14 [9 favorites]


So, the LAST racist thing he did was a 'joke' - that's the defense there. THIS racist thing was a serious 'heated gaming moment'.

We can't give him a pass for either. You can't have it both ways, or either way. There's no defense for his behavior, and it's strikingly absurd to me that the defenses for each of these things are opposites.
posted by destructive cactus at 12:30 PM on September 14 [4 favorites]


Here's Kaplan responding to a complaint of unfair banning in an Overwatch forum thread entitled "lol I just game banned for a week on my main in quickplay":
We checked the IP address of the account you posted from and found a suspended account.

That account has a total of 2247 complaints filed against it -- making it one of the worst offending accounts we've seen. The account has also been silenced for a total of 9216 hours. There are 3 gameplay suspensions on the account as well as 7 silences against this account (these are for abusive chat and/or spam). There is also a manual GM account suspension for "massive griefing" levied.

So I'm not sure if that's the account you're referring to or not, but someone from your IP has been a less-than-ideal OW citizen.

If that's not your account, please let us know what the BattleTag is and I'm happy to look into it further. The last thing we want is good, upstanding members of the community being punished unfairly.
There are a few notable things about this. First of all, Kaplan's responding personally, so yeah, if he's doing this, then there's something else that's losing attention. Secondly, those are some big fucking numbers! How do you even act like a shithead that much? Finally, the player in question still wasn't permanently banned (as of this post anyway, maybe they got banned later on?), they're just on a one week "time out". Surely the game is better off without someone this toxic taking part.
posted by ODiV at 12:38 PM on September 14 [15 favorites]


I'm still trying to get my mind around the fact that you can make so much [any] money streaming yourself playing video games over the internet.


O tempora, o mores.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:42 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]


this is the age old "what i do/what i am" issue. people want to say, "i DID bad things but i AM a good person."
sorry, i wish it were that way, but what you do and what you am is the same thing. :/
posted by wibari at 12:55 PM on September 14 [7 favorites]


"i DID bad things but i AM a good person."

They want the "hate the sin, love the sinner" dichotomy that the Catholic church espouses, but without the emphasis on repentance.
posted by explosion at 12:59 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


In my younger days, and the early days of the Internet as we now know it (the 90s), I was a bit of a troll. Scratch that, a definite dick of a troll. I wasn't racist or anti-semitic or misogynistic -- explicitly so, at least -- but I liked to push the boundaries of what was "acceptable", looked to be as outre as I could. Some of that was a particular sort of masculine immaturity that exists in American culture -- the desire to be outrageous for its own sake, the spouting of transgressive words for shock and attention. But part of it, I had to realize to my own deep shame and guilt, came from deeply buried ideas that I'd absorbed throughout my life -- from the media, from my parents, from my friends, etc. etc. I didn't consciously think that any one race was inferior to any other, but I did think it was funny to play on racial stereotypes, because, I guess, on some level part of me "believed" them -- the deep structures in the unconscious that were formed through living in this particular culture, at this particular moment. Similarly, I didn't consciously think anything negative towards women, or gay people, or etc. etc. But I sure did get a kick of out saying some borderline shit -- hell, I probably crossed the borderline more times than I'd like to admit.

It didn't take long for me to mature out of my troll phase -- it was done before I finished college -- but it did take me a long time to understand -- or to admit to myself, maybe -- the seriously problematic nature of my past behavior, even if that behavior was pretty much exclusively limited to online. It took me a long time to realize how my actions may have -- or did -- affect others. Hell, I still think about that. It took me a long time to admit to myself that there were things within me that I didn't like, that in many ways were anathema to the "I" that I want to be, but yet were still part of "me," so I couldn't just ignore them anymore. And it also took me a while to realize that I could -- not exactly forgive myself, because only the people whom I may have/did hurt have the right to grant forgiveness -- but that I could at least not beat myself up about it so much because I know that shit didn't start with me, that I didn't put these thoughts in my own unconscious, they came from elsewhere -- and so I could get rid of them. Now, I don't know if they'll ever be totally "gone" -- not to be too glib or general, but I think it's true that "we're all a bit racist" and "we're all a bit sexist" and "we're all a bit homophobic" etc. etc., not because such poses are "natural" but because we've internalized without realizing all the shit around us, because the world we live in has been set up along racist, sexist, homophobic principles. And so, not to defend PDP -- fuck this dude, he's an assclown, take all his money and give it to the poor -- but, I think that the approach of those developers and the like who are looking at him and this situation as not a lone individual, a single "bad apple", but the product of a massively toxic world culture, and the massively toxic gamer culture within it, is a promising step in the right direction. PDP is totally responsible for his behavior and deserves to faces the consequences of it, just as I was/am responsible for the stupid, petty, mean shit I did. But, at the same time, there's a measure of collective responsibility as well.

I've started play some multi-player online games on my PS4 again, and I've started trying in my own, small ways to counter gaming toxicity through silliness. So, when I'm playing Titanfall 2, the first thing I tell all the other players is something like, "Hey everyone, I love you all! Let's have fun and be the best of friends! Gooooo team!" I'm overly enthusiastic and earnest and goofy. I do curse like a sailor throughout the game, and I'll say, "Goddamn, that asshole just shot me in the fucking face!" But I never use insults beyond either generic "asshole," "dick," etc., or bizarre, nonsensical ones that I come up with on the spot: "You slimy pencil-eating donkey face!" And I self-denigrate when I fuck up a move, but again in silly ways with nonsensical insults. I also like to sing, sometimes along with whatever I'm listening to, or sometimes I'll make up songs about what I'm doing in the game and how much I love my fellow players -- "Shooting my gun / is so much fun / I'm super good pals / with JoeyRules21." Whenever I see a player on my team do the "teabag" squat after killing someone else, I give them a little lecture: "Hey man, that's just stupid and tacky, and it's not even original. Come on, you're better than that!" And, of course, I pepper my speech with lots of pep-talks: "All right everyone, we're down 100 points, and there's only 3 minutes left, but I know we can do it! You guys and gals are amazing, let's work together and win this thing!" Sure, at least 50% or more of the players don't even have their headphones plugged in, and some respond with the usual bile: "Shut the fuck up you f-- n--! I just got fragged because of you!" But, sometimes it goes quite a ways to amuse the other players and defuse negative emotions, and I've heard on more than one occasion, "Dude, that was the most epic pep-talk ever!" So, you know, it's a drop in the bucket, maybe.
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:11 PM on September 14 [10 favorites]


I am a white lady who was raised in New Orleans. I swear a lot when I play video games. Not once have I ever said the n-word.

What is wrong with this boy.
posted by egypturnash at 1:22 PM on September 14 [12 favorites]


The dude is trash, full stop, and contributes literally nothing to the world. Why any energy is wasted defending his deplorable behavior is beyond me.
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:41 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


Okay I have never been tempted to assault someone who hit my car but DUDE, video games are FICTIONAL.
I'm sure that every single person your message is aimed at would agree with that statement.
posted by dmit at 2:04 PM on September 14


Is that really true, though? As a fan of Let's Plays generally (although not PDP or that specific game) I'd be concerned that vigorous use of DCMAs against players that the developers don't like for one reason or another would become something of a slippery slope. My instinct is that once they start taking down some people, there will be increasing pressure from the legal side to take down everyone.

This racist asshole is using their work to promote his brand and get paid. Many game companies allow streams and LPs because they're a form of promotion, but that also means they're a tacit endorsement of the LP content, and when the association is this toxic it's extremely bad to be associated with it. Don't start trotting out the slippery slope nonsense, don't make this about "don't like for one reason or another" - this is a very clear and specific reason. If your brand is rooted in hate, Campo Santo doesn't want you profiting from their work, and is encouraging other developers to do the same.

You'd think, with all that's going on in the world, a "First they came for the Nazis ..." take would be so self-evidently ludicrous that it wouldn't get aired to begin with.
posted by kafziel at 2:15 PM on September 14 [6 favorites]


When I was a kid, "fag" and "gay" were common slurs that I heard used all the time and which I used as a matter of course. A little bit after high school, I started hearing from people that those slurs were seriously offensive to actual gay people. As a result, I changed my behavior.

But I didn't become perfect instantly. I don't know when the last time I called something "gay" as a dismissive slur was. Maybe it was a decade ago, but it was years and years after I formed the intention to stop using it like that. It's hard to consciously change what words your brain chooses to express a thought and make it work every time.

Another very similar example is misgendering. It's difficult to use correct pronouns in realtime conversation for people who you intuitively perceive as the wrong gender. I've tried hard to do it and I still screw it up occasionally for some people. I beat myself up when I screw it up, too, because my friends have said how painful it is to hear the wrong pronoun, so I know it's important that I get it right. It doesn't mean I can get it right 100% of the time.

So I don't understand why you guys have so little sympathy for PewDiePie. To me, he looks exactly like a person who grew up not understanding that these jokes and slurs were hurtful, learned it in the past year or two, and is now trying hard to improve his behavior. If he screws it up once every few months, sure, tell him he screwed up and needs to fix it -- that's the feedback loop. But don't say that he is an asshole that doesn't give a shit, because this isn't evidence of that.
posted by value of information at 3:10 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


If the "fair use" defense of Let's Plays is ever tested and supported, prepare to hear a thunderous crack as the Mystery Science Theater 3000 folks smack their heads in unison and wail "We could've done Star Wars??"

Not a lawyer, but I don't see it ever happening.
posted by rifflesby at 3:16 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]


There's no way he just learned that the word was hurtful in the past year or two.

With the audience he has and the amount of time he's been at it he's had the motivation and the time to learn to not cross specific lines. It's not as if it's all that much to ask really; there are plenty other epithets available (offensive ones, even!) that wouldn't result in nearly as much of a shitstorm. And if he can't trust himself to not use them, edited video content might be a better outlet for him.
posted by ODiV at 3:18 PM on September 14 [6 favorites]


If he screws it up once every few months, sure, tell him he screwed up and needs to fix it -- that's the feedback loop. But don't say that he is an asshole that doesn't give a shit, because this isn't evidence of that.

I'm not sure, how many times does someone get to literally and virtually dress up as Hitler and talk about exterminating Jews before we can say he's an asshole rather than someone trying to improve their behavior?

I mean, most people manage to make it pretty far in life without doing that, much less doing so repeatedly. (on top of everything else he's done)
posted by CrystalDave at 3:19 PM on September 14 [13 favorites]


Fuck this guy and fuck all the racists defending him.
If you're a completely innocent person, untouched by racism, n****r (I hate this but I don't want to get moderated again, although.. have you ever read my handle out loud?) would just mean "a black person"--- so how do these people using it as an insult claim not to be racist?

Some of the defenses of this asshat that I should've spared myself from reading sound a lot like this: "I'm not a racist. I have a black friend named Bob and I say n****r around him all the time and we laugh and laugh. When he mysteriously dies of hypertension I'll be at his funeral screaming n****r into his casket because he totally gets it. Stop being so sensitive, they're just words."

Ditto the above for pejorative use of "gay" and any slurs related to homosexuality.
posted by yonega at 3:24 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]


So I don't understand why you guys have so little sympathy for PewDiePie.

oh, my heart BLEEDS for the guy who makes a billion dollars filming himself shrieking at video games to amuse children and can't help but occasionally be horrifically racist
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:26 PM on September 14 [29 favorites]


So I don't understand why you guys have so little sympathy for PewDiePie. To me, he looks exactly like a person who grew up not understanding that these jokes and slurs were hurtful, learned it in the past year or two, and is now trying hard to improve his behavior. If he screws it up once every few months, sure, tell him he screwed up and needs to fix it -- that's the feedback loop. But don't say that he is an asshole that doesn't give a shit, because this isn't evidence of that.

I'm sorry, but you actually believe that he grew up not knowing that "Death to all Jews" and "Hitler did nothing wrong" were hurtful? You actually believe that a guy who has been immersed in internet culture, including admitting he knew of the most bigoted places on the internet, only learned that the n-word was bad in the past year or two? You think that there's no evidence that he doesn't give a shit and that he's "trying hard to improve his behavior," despite the multiple videos where he gives every classic non-apology apology and excuse in the book for said behavior?

What the actual fuck?
posted by zombieflanders at 3:35 PM on September 14 [31 favorites]


I'm sorry, but you actually believe that he grew up not knowing that "Death to all Jews" and "Hitler did nothing wrong" were hurtful? You actually believe that a guy who has been immersed in internet culture, including admitting he knew of the most bigoted places on the internet, only learned that the n-word was bad in the past year or two? You think that there's no evidence that he doesn't give a shit and that he's "trying hard to improve his behavior," despite the multiple videos where he gives every classic non-apology apology and excuse in the book for said behavior?

What the actual fuck?


I absolutely believe these things, because I also grew up like this:

- My friends were a bunch of middle-class white suburban kids, so we had the privilege of not being targeted by much actually offensive or hurtful rhetoric. (On reflection, I'm sure that some people I considered friends were hurt by slurs, especially homosexuality-related ones, but they kept their mouths pretty shut about it.)

- Because of this, it was easy to identify with media and Internet cultures like South Park and Something Awful, where the order of the day was having a thick skin and mocking anyone who had a less thick skin than you.

- I didn't socialize with people outside these cultures, so I didn't understand how many people weren't OK with this and were seriously hurt by and excluded from those cultures.

I literally believe that until a few years ago, PewDiePie thought that none of the people paying attention to his stream would actually be hurt or offended by jokes about Nazis or casual racist slurs, and thought that if you don't like them, you should turn off his stream and probably become less sensitive. It seems likely as not that he has genuinely changed his mind about that after being forced to seriously reflect, probably for the first time, on what he does and says.
posted by value of information at 3:43 PM on September 14


it's OK to expect more of grown-ass adults and not be as generous as humanly possible in finding ways to make excuses for their racist bullshit
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:46 PM on September 14 [22 favorites]


> It seems likely as not that he has genuinely changed his mind about that after being forced to seriously reflect, probably for the first time, on what he does and says

What are you basing this rosy view on?
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:47 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]


- My friends were a bunch of middle-class white suburban kids, so we had the privilege of not being targeted by much actually offensive or hurtful rhetoric. (On reflection, I'm sure that some people I considered friends were hurt by slurs, especially homosexuality-related ones, but they kept their mouths pretty shut about it.)

Ding ding ding ding we have a winner folks.

PDP's apology was not for you. It was for the people who were actually hurt by him. It's up to them to decide whether they want to accept this. You have no standing in this discussion.

Since you're a fan of South Park I would tell you to rewatch "With Apologies to Jesse Jackson".
posted by Talez at 3:50 PM on September 14 [6 favorites]


People are certainly able to grow and mature, to evolve their political/social views and to educate themselves and learn from their past mistakes. No one denies this.

The thing is though, based on PewDiePie's history, there's not any evidence to support that this is what he's doing. He's made similar mistakes in the past (just look at the previously) and yet here we are. This is someone who has not made any actions or gestures towards self-education or healing for the harm he has caused. So why should we give him the benefit of the doubt. Especially when his apologies are so selfish and hollow.
posted by Fizz at 3:53 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


The more cynical part of me has this idea that maybe, maybe he is capable of evolving his views and learning from his mistakes. But that cynical part of me thinks that he would never do this because he makes too much money from his fan-base and he would lose too much (socially and financially) if he pivoted this way publicly. So it is probably easier for him to just go through the motions and keep on keeping on.

I have nothing to base this on, but it's just a gut feeling.
posted by Fizz at 3:56 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


It seems likely as not that he has genuinely changed his mind about that after being forced to seriously reflect, probably for the first time, on what he does and says.

Yeah, no. There's absolutely zero evidence of this. And if you have to tie yourself into logical contortions defending a guy not knowing that the goddamn Holocaust is offensive when he has a worldwide audience that would make the Super Bowl jealous, maybe it's time to start asking yourself some questions. This is not something that happens organically and accidentally, and not when it happens repeatedly with no real remorse shown after each incident, and especially not when he's been aware of how horrible what he said was before he even said it.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:00 PM on September 14 [9 favorites]


I mean, if millions of gamers who grew up in the same environment either 1) don't do it because they know it's bad, or 2) do it because they get a kick out of it, then there's no defense. None.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:02 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


My friends were a bunch of middle-class white suburban kids, so we had the privilege of not being targeted by much actually offensive or hurtful rhetoric.

I didn't socialize with people outside these cultures, so I didn't understand how many people weren't OK with this and were seriously hurt by and excluded from those cultures.

Sounds like the best option then would be to preemptively ban people matching this description from these platforms, if they're so isolated from the world and unable to perceive the impact & harms of their actions. /s

Much like the not-uncommon line I've seen about how "men are unable to control their impulses" clearly meaning that, were that the case, we should preemptively lock up people able to cause so much harm without the ability to control themselves, you seem to be portraying a much more dire view of these groups than the people opposing their unchecked beshittery.

Look, "not making Nazi jokes" is a pretty low bar for being a part of society, much less being an entertainer and role-model to children. If he needed to go to remedial "Don't be a Nazi" school, he probably should've done that before stepping into this public of a role. He's an adult, he's had years to learn to meet the minimum threshold of decency.
posted by CrystalDave at 4:17 PM on September 14 [15 favorites]


This makes me feel kind of old. I'm trying to think of an equivalent figure to PewDiePie from the 90s, when I was a young teen soaking up media mindlessly. How long would Letterman have lasted he'd made a habit of joking about Nazi sympathies? If Frank Gifford used rape as a colorful metaphor for losing a game? If an MTV VJ had gone nuclear on racial slurs on a live broadcast "in heat of the moment"? They'd have been sacked within the hour, and never see the lens of a camera again.

I don't know what's in the guy's heart, but I know if I spoke like that in the course of MY work, I'd probably have to move cities to find another job in my industry, and my job isn't public facing. Buddy needs to find a new line of work.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 5:05 PM on September 14 [7 favorites]


There seem to be a significant number of white people looking at this and thinking, "I could have done something like this because I was raised like that, and I say awful things by accident sometimes myself, or at least I have these thoughts and I could imagine something slipping out." If you sometimes say or think awful things yourself, you are maybe, yes, a little bit awful and you need to work on that. It isn't appropriate to ask everyone else to treat bigots with kid gloves until such time as you feel completely comfortable that group doesn't include you.

Now is not the time to ask people to reassure you that we really don't mean white people like you are really racists, that you aren't part of the problem, that it's okay to sometimes say awful stuff as long as you aren't doing something you personally think of as "hurting anyone". If this situation makes you uncomfortable, ask why that is, and ask just how hard you've really been trying to be better than this. Neither you nor PewDiePie need to be comforted and reassured in order to actually do self-reflection. If you can only self-reflect while nobody is making you uncomfortable, you're not actually becoming a better person.
posted by Sequence at 6:01 PM on September 14 [18 favorites]


I didn't socialize with people outside these cultures, so I didn't understand how many people weren't OK with this and were seriously hurt by and excluded from those cultures.

I am both old and extremely white. I have known for my entire life that the n-word is a hurtful, nasty racial slur that only racists use. In the 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s and 10s. If you're telling me that there are white enclaves out there where people legit do not know this... I kind of don't know what to do with that. I'm willing to accept that people know but don't care--see above re: racists. But, like, you have to know. The entire power of saying that word to piss off your parents derives from the fact that literally everyone knows that it's a hurtful, nasty racial slur and your parents would probably like to believe they did not raise a child who uses language in that way. Going ahead and doing it anyway means they were wrong about that, so points scored against The Man and bully for you, but that does not in any way erase the knowledge that it is a hurtful, nasty racial slur. In fact, it kind of relies on it.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:45 PM on September 14 [22 favorites]


The comparison made earlier in the thread between the gaming world and sports was spot-on in the sense that as the pot of money to be divided got larger the news stories got tawdrier and more depressing.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:31 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


I can believe there's a "heat of the moment" in video games--but what you say in the heat of the moment can be a revealing indicator of what's going on inside you. The n-word isn't going to jump to white person's lips unless it's something they've used in the past.

Of course, one doesn't even need to argue about what does or does not get said when one's temper is up--PDP has such a long history of racist bullshit that it is hilarious for anyone to argue he's anything but exactly that he reveals himself to be.
posted by schroedinger at 8:26 PM on September 14 [5 favorites]


"So I don't understand why you guys have so little sympathy for PewDiePie."

I don't have any sympathy for him because he doesn't deserve or need any. He's had many chances to play the amazing hand he has been dealt without being a prick, and he doesn't seem to be able to do it. Next.
posted by tillermo at 11:37 PM on September 14 [11 favorites]


I've learned here that my knowledge/understanding of Fair Use Doctrine and general copyright enforcement principles had several significant gaps. Thanks for the education; I won't make that particular mistake again.
posted by mystyk at 3:23 AM on September 15


So I don't understand why you guys have so little sympathy for PewDiePie.

I'm not white, so maybe I missed something, but it has never in my entire life been acceptable to use the n-word if you are not yourself black. I am older than PewDiePie.
posted by corb at 6:42 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


So I don't understand why you guys have so little sympathy for PewDiePie.

For me, it's because he's not a random guy in a random town just trying to be a better person and shake off crummy local habits from childhood. He's an international star on a global stage. He has a much higher level of impact when he says these things, and he's not showing any signs of trying to exercise more care or responsibility when he steps onto that stage.
posted by cadge at 7:03 AM on September 15 [3 favorites]


He's a racist prick, he's always been a racist prick, he's going to continue to be a racist prick without appreciable consequence for being a racist prick?
posted by Artw at 7:09 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


Update: YouTube accepts Campo Santo’s copyright strike against PewDiePie, could lead to bigger issues [Polygon]
“YouTube has accepted the copyright takedown request submitted by Campo Santo against Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg for his two hour stream of its game, Firewatch.

In a new video, Kjellberg addressed the copyright takedown request, confirming that the strike had gone through. Campo Santo founder Sean Vanaman first tweeted that Campo Santo would be issuing the request on Sunday, following one of Kjellberg’s livestreams where the YouTuber was caught using a racist term.

Kjelleberg said when he saw Vanaman’s tweets, he privatized the video out of respect for the developer and Campo Santo. Despite that, Kjellberg said YouTube accepted the strike anyway. As Kjellberg points out in the video, Campo Santo’s DMCA takedown strike could become much more problematic in the future.

“It’s a pretty big deal,” Kjellberg said. “If I get more than three of them, my channel will shut down.””
posted by Fizz at 7:26 AM on September 15 [3 favorites]


Yeah, so seeing as most of his content is infringing then two more strikes could happen pretty damn quick.

But it could also happen very quickly to every other LPer out there, which is why the DMCA takedown system makes me a bit uneasy. Still, the state of copyright law and Google's way of dealing with it aren't Campo Santo's fault.
posted by ODiV at 8:18 AM on September 15


This makes me feel kind of old. I'm trying to think of an equivalent figure to PewDiePie from the 90s, when I was a young teen soaking up media mindlessly. How long would Letterman have lasted he'd made a habit of joking about Nazi sympathies? If Frank Gifford used rape as a colorful metaphor for losing a game? If an MTV VJ had gone nuclear on racial slurs on a live broadcast "in heat of the moment"? They'd have been sacked within the hour, and never see the lens of a camera again.

Now that you mention it, the closest relative that PewDiePie has in '90s media is Eric Cartman. He's literally a cartoon sociopath made flesh.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:22 AM on September 15 [3 favorites]


The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

(Luke 6:45, English Standard Version)
posted by Spathe Cadet at 8:25 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


I don't really feel like doing a bunch of research right now, but I'm sure there's no shortage of 90's era fuckups whose transgressions were ignored because of who they were or who they were working with.

90's era? Yikes.
posted by ODiV at 8:26 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


Now that you mention it, the closest relative that PewDiePie has in '90s media is Eric Cartman. He's literally a cartoon sociopath made flesh.

Which is probably why South Park did an entire episode about and starring PewDiePie.

But it could also happen very quickly to every other LPer out there, which is why the DMCA takedown system makes me a bit uneasy. Still, the state of copyright law and Google's way of dealing with it aren't Campo Santo's fault.

LPers and developers largely exist in a mutually beneficial arrangement. Devs tolerate them because it is in their net benefit to do so. Nazi LPers change that equation, and if the DMCA system has a a chilling effect on them, that's a good thing.
posted by kafziel at 9:31 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


When we say Nazi LPers we're talking about, what, 60-80% of them?
posted by Artw at 9:34 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


> I'm trying to think of an equivalent figure to PewDiePie from the 90s, when I was a young teen soaking up media mindlessly. How long would Letterman have lasted he'd made a habit of joking about Nazi sympathies? If Frank Gifford used rape as a colorful metaphor for losing a game?

Howard Stern.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:49 AM on September 15 [4 favorites]


- Because of this, it was easy to identify with media and Internet cultures like South Park and Something Awful, where the order of the day was having a thick skin and mocking anyone who had a less thick skin than you.

- I didn't socialize with people outside these cultures, so I didn't understand how many people weren't OK with this and were seriously hurt by and excluded from those cultures.


These two claims seem mutually exclusive to me.

If you don't understand that racist and anti-Semitic comments are generally hurtful, you wouldn't understand the message that the people who are offended by them need to have a thicker skin. You have to get that people are offended by something before it makes sense to ridicule them as being overly-sensitive because they've taken offense.
posted by layceepee at 9:49 AM on September 15 [8 favorites]


> We need to be better at battling these trolls but fuck, it's not as easy as just: see something, do something. And they're so many of them. Fuck

Couldn't you coordinate with your other nonshitty friends to crash their shitty party (server, or whatever) and shame them? Just make your own safer spaces where they are not welcome and they get shouted down?


Like Fizz said, it's not as easy as that. Like, logistically: the tools are simply not there to proactively get out in the video game streets. A player who thinks that someone's racist/homophobic/whatever bullshit is a problem generally has little if any recourse beyond muting that player or (if they're lucky!) reporting the player via an ingame reporting tool.

Now, if you privately administer a server, great: you can kick shitty randos off at will, and that's a good solution for those limited cases. But most multiplayer gaming happens on "public" servers, which is to say servers owned by the game's publisher and provided as a gratis playing field for the players of the game. You hop into a matchmaking lobby, you get sent to a given server, and you're playing with whoever you're playing with. And then someone starts shouting slurs and you as another rando on a pub server have essentially no tools available to respond in a direct-action sort of way.

It sucks. It's not a situation where companies (yet, at least?) have a clear cash incentive to build out player reporting or game moderation resources to the degree that would be required to move from spotty, passive, slow-reaction banning that exists now (which is still better than what used to exist) to the kind of quick-response, fine-tuned no-fucking-around moderation attentiveness that would route this shit out definitively. Most multiplayer games that haven't failed are operating on margins that won't incline a publisher to spend a bunch of extra money on making people play nice, so even when some of the bigs (see Overwatch stuff above) are making an effort, it's a porous thing.

As far as just not being quiet about it, anyone willing to spend time and energy just shouting at racists on public voicechat in a game I say more power to you but I've done my share of that and it is literally the least productive engagement I've ever had with racist/sexist/homophobic dumbfuckery in my life, because the people doing it there are doing it specifically to be transgressive in a forum where they know they can get away with it. No one is gonna slow their roll and say "gosh, I guess that WAS hurtful" when you call 'em out in a video game lobby for shouting a slur repeatedly. They're just gonna laugh and shout it louder.

The solution is to kick them the fuck off. And the toolset's not there for players to accomplish it; it's down to the game publishers, and whether they are willing to pay to build out the systems and the staffing to accomplish it. Progress hasn't been zero but it's been slow.

So playing with non-shitty friends on private servers or in private no-contact-with-other-dinguses groups on public servers is the most reliable way to avoid participating with the fuckos, but it doesn't solve the problem and isn't workable for all people (lots of folks don't have a reliable group of gaming friends) or all games (getting four folks together to play WoW as a group is one thing, getting 100 friends together to play plunkbat is another entirely). It's still what a lot of non-toxic players will do so we can just actually enjoy the games we love, and on the flip side it's something where a lot of players just stop being players of some games or even genres of games because the ongoing exposure to toxicity is a dealbreaker.
posted by cortex at 9:51 AM on September 15 [5 favorites]


Nazi LPers change that equation, and if the DMCA system has a a chilling effect on them, that's a good thing.

I don't think the equation has changed at all, actually. This sort of action has always been a possibility. It's not like Google looked at the request and said, "Oh, this strike is against a racist? Sure!" They don't give a fuck. The racism is the reason this particular publisher issued the request, but it's immaterial to the question of whether the content is infringing.

I don't see why, if there's a chilling effect, it would stop at Nazis. LPers aren't necessarily going to be worried about Campo Santo, specifically.
posted by ODiV at 9:56 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


When we say Nazi LPers we're talking about, what, 60-80% of them?

No, that vast majority of people doing twitch-streaming are just random, generally non-toxic people. The vast majority of 'em also have very few viewers. It's a thing lots of people do because they (a) like playing video games and (b) like the idea of Making A Thing in the process of gaming or the idea of having this additional social element to it or both.

Likewise the vast majority of folks in any pub server are just there to play a game, not be provocative transgressive fuckasses.

But it just takes one guy with a megaphone to fuck up the party. And sometimes another guy likes what he's hearing and grabs a megaphone too. And all of a sudden you've got a lot of loud shit-for-brains fuckery going around and nobody else can really hear each other over that.

One of the things that makes me so angry about all this rise of visible vile shittiness in video game culture the last several years is how much it fucks up the perception and culture of what is otherwise possibly the most personally and emotionally meaningful medium in my life. Video games didn't deserve this shit, this miserable association with racists and misogynists and homophobes and loudmouthed dimwits so intent on smearing their shit over a hobby that otherwise brings non-problematic joy to huge numbers of people.
posted by cortex at 9:59 AM on September 15 [8 favorites]


For these two comments:
1. I'm so tired of these all-or-nothing things. Like, the dude has this massive audience, massive influence, massive reach. Why does it have to be either "he's fine," or "he's awful, eradicate him?"

2.
A Speznaz veteran once said "Under pressure, nobody rises to the occasion; people sink to the lowest level of their preparation."
Once is accident.
Twice is coincidence.
Three times is dyed-in-the-wool racist who is good at passing for a decent human being most of the time the cameras are on, or when in mixed company.
.. I can get behind this. It's the "once" I'm curious about. I'm off before I get called an apologist.


How many strikes should a person get? By my count he's already had three:
1. He's done rape jokes multiple times and used "gay", "retard", and "autistic" as insults.
2. An Anti-Semitic "joke" this year.
3. And then this thing, except if you see the Wired article I linked, it's not just this instance where he's said and done racist shit.

How many strikes? How many chances? Baseball is less forgiving. American Football is less forgiving. If you're a Black kid you don't get this many chances.. Fuck, if you're a successful Black woman reporter you don't get that many chances before people start coming for your head.

I think the fact that he's white, and so many of his stanners are white, certainly means he'll get maybe a dozen more. This dude has been doing noxious shit for over 5 years, and yet you seem to want to give him yet another.

People like him are precisely why I avoid Let's Plays. People like him are precisely why I shut off chat and voice in any game I play, block quickly and reject requests from people I do not know in real life. I don't need to be catcalled based on a skin or chroma I use. I don't need to be yelled at and called a f* if I misplay. I don't need to be insulted or harassed repeatedly on the assumption that I'm Asian (correct) or a woman (incorrect) because I'm not talking and playing a certain style. Sure, the vast majority of other gamers might not be awful, as cortex points out. But enough are. Enough are that I'd be less ashamed of admitting to smoking (if I still did) than I am admitting to playing some games.

People like you, who are so insistent on giving him yet another chance, because why not? People like you are why I don't hold out hope that gaming culture will change.
posted by anem0ne at 10:14 AM on September 15 [22 favorites]


A lot of this "maybe he's changed" and push back against those who are pushing back against people like PewDiePie hits so many of the Geek Social Fallacies, particularly the first one.
Geek Social Fallacy #1: Ostracizers Are Evil

GSF1 is one of the most common fallacies, and one of the most deeply held. Many geeks have had horrible, humiliating, and formative experiences with ostracism, and the notion of being on the other side of the transaction is repugnant to them.

In its non-pathological form, GSF1 is benign, and even commendable: it is long past time we all grew up and stopped with the junior high popularity games. However, in its pathological form, GSF1 prevents its carrier from participating in -- or tolerating -- the exclusion of anyone from anything, be it a party, a comic book store, or a web forum, and no matter how obnoxious, offensive, or aromatic the prospective excludee may be.

As a result, nearly every geek social group of significant size has at least one member that 80% of the members hate, and the remaining 20% merely tolerate. If GSF1 exists in sufficient concentration -- and it usually does -- it is impossible to expel a person who actively detracts from every social event. GSF1 protocol permits you not to invite someone you don't like to a given event, but if someone spills the beans and our hypothetical Cat Piss Man invites himself, there is no recourse. You must put up with him, or you will be an Evil Ostracizer and might as well go out for the football team.

This phenomenon has a number of unpleasant consequences. For one thing, it actively hinders the wider acceptance of geek-related activities: I don't know that RPGs and comics would be more popular if there were fewer trolls who smell of cheese hassling the new blood, but I'm sure it couldn't hurt. For another, when nothing smacking of social selectiveness can be discussed in public, people inevitably begin to organize activities in secret. These conspiracies often lead to more problems down the line, and the end result is as juvenile as anything a seventh-grader ever dreamed of.
If you don't call out bad behavior and clearly reject those that do, you end up driving away people who don't want to deal with the bad actors. PewDiePie is a bad actor.
posted by anem0ne at 10:18 AM on September 15 [15 favorites]


Video games didn't deserve this shit, this miserable association with racists and misogynists and homophobes and loudmouthed dimwits so intent on smearing their shit over a hobby that otherwise brings non-problematic joy to huge numbers of people

I have to push back on this a little bit. The reason I never became a gamer, despite several running starts, was because every time I got into it it became obvious that I was not really welcome, at best. Obviously there are women who didn't have that experience, or who carved out a niche anyway, or whatever, but my personal experience is very much at odds with the idea of some otherwise unblemished medium that was invaded by assholes. The assholes have always been there, as far as I can see.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:18 AM on September 15 [9 favorites]


I have to push back on this a little bit. The reason I never became a gamer, despite several running starts, was because every time I got into it it became obvious that I was not really welcome, at best.

Fair, and I didn't mean to paper over that. The stuff in the last few years has been especially tremendously dispiriting but that is absolutely a matter of a change in scale and scope and visibility, not an ex nihilo development. Video game culture has had issues for a good long time, just not with the kind of fervent, high-profile toxicity that's been in play the last few years with the GamerGate fuckos et al. My frustration with how the medium itself, and people's ability to get value out of it, is undercut by the in-crowd cultural bullshit definitely applies going farther back than just the recent bullshit.
posted by cortex at 10:38 AM on September 15 [3 favorites]


For these:
So I don't understand why you guys have so little sympathy for PewDiePie. To me, he looks exactly like a person who grew up not understanding that these jokes and slurs were hurtful, learned it in the past year or two, and is now trying hard to improve his behavior. If he screws it up once every few months, sure, tell him he screwed up and needs to fix it -- that's the feedback loop. But don't say that he is an asshole that doesn't give a shit, because this isn't evidence of that.

...

- My friends were a bunch of middle-class white suburban kids, so we had the privilege of not being targeted by much actually offensive or hurtful rhetoric. (On reflection, I'm sure that some people I considered friends were hurt by slurs, especially homosexuality-related ones, but they kept their mouths pretty shut about it.)

- Because of this, it was easy to identify with media and Internet cultures like South Park and Something Awful, where the order of the day was having a thick skin and mocking anyone who had a less thick skin than you.
You know, I'm not sure why you demand sympathy for PewDiePie here.

You admit, right off the bat, that you never were really targeted by offensive slurs, but you knew them well enough to deploy them and mock people who got offended by them. This most definitely means you knew the charge that those bigoted slurs carried, even though might not understand how they stung.

It's staggering, then, that you're demanding others extend sympathy to someone who I'm going to assume looks quite a bit like you, without really extending sympathy to all those who have been explicitly harmed by his behaviors. You're wanting to center the performative regret of a white dude getting caught on camera saying a slur over all of the Black people who have heard that epithet used against them merely for existing, a word that is so verboten that in polite company you and I know well enough to call it the "n-word".

You rationalize it by saying you were like him once and didn't "get" it. Maybe. Maybe you didn't "get" how the word has been used to denigrate an entire race of people, both here in the US and globally, the history of how that slur came into being, all of its shades of evil and hate. But you certainly "got" how bad using it was, and that should have been more than enough.

So, let's be honest, and let's move past all those rationalizations you gave. Why should we give PewDiePie or anyone else who uses slurs like that sympathy?
posted by anem0ne at 10:43 AM on September 15 [16 favorites]


When I was a kid
[...]
So I don't understand why you guys have so little sympathy for PewDiePie.


He's 27 years old and unfortunately a role model for millions of kids. Just stop.


If he screws it up once every few months, sure, tell him he screwed up and needs to fix it -- that's the feedback loop. But don't say that he is an asshole that doesn't give a shit, because this isn't evidence of that.

It sounds like you have missed every other instance of horrible racism and sexism that he has committed, within months of each other and/or CONSTANTLY.
posted by destructive cactus at 10:54 AM on September 15 [4 favorites]


27

People constantly acting like these fuckers are pre-teens and incapable of knowing better is infuriating.
posted by Artw at 11:06 AM on September 15 [11 favorites]


I'd like to share something that just hapened within a single day of this post. Early on in this thread, Corb made a comment:
“Possibly relatedly, if you have Steam and have owned or played Firewatch, the reviews are currently being bombed by Pewdiepie supporters. An honest review of how you liked the actual game would be really helpful right now - the trolls are out in earnest gunning for Campo Santo.”
I decided to follow through on this recommendation.

I posted the following comment/review on Firewatch's steam page:
“I'm a big fan of this game. It's a walking-simulator with heart and inside of that heart is a compelling story that pulls you in. The voice-acting is great here and it's well worth your time.

Also, to hell with PewDiePie. I'm glad that CampoSanto took a stance against bigotry.”
In the last 24 hours there have been 11 responses to my comment. I've taken a screenshot and uploaded it on imgur where you can view it here.
- cry more you cuck,soon you will forget to care about yourself
- sonicbooming, you ever watch latest pewdiepie vids? if not, you have to go to hell.
- Wow, one dude says one word, lets copyright his content for absolutely no reason because we are SJW's who love to push a retarded agenda WOOO
- you're a fucking idiot
So yeah, it's hard to stay positive in this community. It's not easy to push back on these types of gamers. This is the type of stuff that you're up against. This is how they've infected the industry.

As Cortex commented up above, it often feels like its just not worth the effort, they're just going to laugh and shout louder. So the only thing you can do is to mute your voice chat, avoid public online-gameplay, try to play with friends/family that are decent and respectful humans.

Ugh, it's tiring. This fight, I don't know. I love gaming but I hate the community more and more each day.
posted by Fizz at 11:23 AM on September 15 [13 favorites]


I literally believe that until a few years ago, PewDiePie thought that none of the people paying attention to his stream would actually be hurt or offended by jokes about Nazis or casual racist slurs

So, it's ok as long as people who might be offended don't hear it?

I think you drastically underestimate the effect that hearing a "celebrity" (even an Internet celebrity) using slurs like that normalizes their usage for the audience. So, his being 'casually racist' affects not only those who directly hear him be a dick, but everyone who interacts with people who are hearing him being a dick and think they want to be like him.
posted by hanov3r at 11:27 AM on September 15 [11 favorites]


I am SO TIRED of being asked to find infinite sympathy in my heart for white men whose entire careers are based on having zero sympathy for any humans on the planet who aren’t exactly like them.

You PDP-apologists get that this is his shtick, right? “Saying horrible things” and “encouraging people to laugh at the objects of his ridicule” is his incredibly lucrative career— a career, by the way, which has shown no signs of waning despite his tendency to spew poison.

And yet I’m supposed to be sorry for HIM! Incredible. Truly. White men whose garbage behavior has been pointed out to them in the mildest of ways are the real victims, I guess.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 1:59 PM on September 15 [19 favorites]


I know there are reasons not to do this and all both ethically and legally but some days what I would like to see is some sort of system that blasts an ear-damaging sound into a player's headset whenever they say a slur a la the n word.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 5:07 PM on September 15 [1 favorite]


It only took about a day for him to nearly not 'do better'.
posted by destructive cactus at 5:57 PM on September 15 [3 favorites]


Looks like it was actually the 4th time in a month that he "slipped up." But please, continue to tell us that he "learned it in the past year or two, and is now trying hard to improve his behavior."
posted by zombieflanders at 6:35 PM on September 15 [8 favorites]


i hope that the value of those last two bits of information make it to the eyes of every brand still advertising on his channel.
posted by anem0ne at 7:05 PM on September 15


I'd also like to point out that among those that PewDiePie follows on Twitter:
  • Noted Right-Wing Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones
  • Noted Trumpist and Alt-Right Bigot Lauren Southern
  • Noted MRA Sexist Stefan Molyneux
  • Noted MGTOW Sexist and InfoWars Conspiracist Paul Joseph Watson
  • Noted Bigot who made a game Markus "Notch" Persson
posted by anem0ne at 7:46 PM on September 15 [8 favorites]


In the last 24 hours there have been 11 responses to my comment.

Also a whole bunch of thumbs-down "not helpful" votes. I added one to the sadly-much-smaller thumbs-up total.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:02 PM on September 15 [3 favorites]


Thanks @We had a deal, Kyle

:)
posted by Fizz at 3:41 PM on September 16


Related: How Two Developers Dealt With the Shitty, Racist Parts of Their Community [Waypoint]
“"His name was BigDawg if I remember correctly," said Brenner. BigDawg. BigDawg would say "the nastiest thing you could think of," create multiple accounts to prevent the developers from banning him, and drop all manner of offensive remarks into the game's global chat, the kinds of remarks that even Brenner didn't want to repeat to me.

Trolls who trot out racism and other toxic remarks are nothing new to online games, but what prompted Brenner and his team to take notice was watching their player count going down. "We actually noticed a dip in our retention numbers of new players because of his actions," he said. "And I get it, I mean—You sign in to a new game for the first time and just see a wall of the N-word in global chat."

They soon realized BigDawg was a player who'd been banned from of their other games, and worried his behavior would have a domino effect on Darkfire Galaxies and stunt growth. "After that," said Brenner, "we stopped all development on new features and had to implement chat filtering (which didn't work), IP banning (which just made him use proxy servers), and then creating a mod system for chat. All of these were on the roadmap, but the game was so small we didn't think we would need them right away."

Nothing worked. The solution, apparently, was blocking half of New Zealand.”
posted by Fizz at 4:55 AM on September 17 [3 favorites]


So I don't understand why you guys have so little sympathy for PewDiePie. To me, he looks exactly like a person who grew up not understanding that these jokes and slurs were hurtful, learned it in the past year or two, and is now trying hard to improve his behavior. If he screws it up once every few months, sure, tell him he screwed up and needs to fix it -- that's the feedback loop. But don't say that he is an asshole that doesn't give a shit, because this isn't evidence of that.
Flames

Flames on the side of my face
posted by Hermione Granger at 5:30 PM on September 18 [7 favorites]


There's an old Indian saying that is a troop of monkeys is raiding your garden, you find the biggest monkey in the troop and kill it. Then you impale it on a stake at the edge of the garden. Monkeys are not stupid. And they will fuck off.

So maybe PewDiePie, rather than sympathy, should get MORE hassle, more invective hurled his way, hordes of Juggalos following him, chanting "YOU FUCKED UP! YOU FUCKED UP!" Maybe he needs to be recognized on the street & in restaurants, "Hey, you're that horrible racist shit from the Internet."

Maybe PDP's $million career needs to be hunted down and impaled on a stick and left at the edge of gamerspace as a warning. Hang it like a pirate in a gibbet.

For the good of the garden gamers are trying to cultivate.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:45 AM on September 19 [8 favorites]


The problem, unfortunately, is that these particular monkeys then screech at you about how horrible you are for "censoring" them and that this is an attack on "free speech", and because we fetishize free speech to an uncomfortable degree and are more willing to defend the right of someone to verbally abuse others over the right of people not to be verbally abused, people take them at face value.
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:27 AM on September 20 [1 favorite]


We need to stop selectively defending the "free speech" of Nazis.
posted by Artw at 7:34 AM on September 20 [1 favorite]


We need to stop selectively defending the "free speech" of Nazis.

And the problem there is that we keep getting told that if we don't, then we're on the road to all of us losing our freedom of speech. What's even more infuriating is that the legitimate complaints that people have about hate speech - that it intimidates people and makes them fear for their safety, making them feel (with good reason, as we've seen so many times) that they have to choose between having a voice and being safe - get reduced into the dismissive arguments that opposition is based on dislike, or the unpopularity of hate speech.

Again, the problem is that we fetishize free speech, and as such ignore the real damage it can do when wielded in hate.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:36 AM on September 20


The relevant XKCD tells you all you need to know about Free Speech.

QFT: 'Defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you're saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it's not literally illegal to express.'
posted by signal at 9:07 AM on September 20


the problem there is that we keep getting told that if we don't, then we're on the road to all of us losing our freedom of speech.

The thing is, that's actually true. If we give away our rights because one group of people using those rights are terrible human beings, we are losing deeply.

The answer to people like pewdiepie is not government suppression, but rather to use our own speech and our own voice (and sometimes, our own internet attacks) to shut them out of all decent spaces. When PAX hosts horrible people, we need to put pressure on everyone showing up at PAX, until it becomes more trouble than its' worth to host these kinds of people. Hit them in their pocketbook.
posted by corb at 9:33 AM on September 20


No, sorry. Other countries don't allow hate speech and have functioning democracies. This isn't complicated.

Time was I would have put "also" in that sentence about functioning democracies, but, well...
posted by ODiV at 9:42 AM on September 20 [6 favorites]


The thing is, that's actually true. If we give away our rights because one group of people using those rights are terrible human beings, we are losing deeply.

Nope, not buying that argument. Case in point: this very website, where moderators swiftly show the abusive and hateful the door, and as such we get a much more open environment for free expression because people here don't have to make the choice between speaking out and staying safe.

Or to be blunt, if you're so worried about chilling speech, why aren't you worried about the people whose speech is chilled by abuse?
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:02 AM on September 20 [4 favorites]


This website is great! It also isn't the government, which makes it a model of exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about: private pressure on individuals and organizations are what created the moderation standards we know and love.

There's a strong difference between saying "You can't say that here or you can't come to our private club/website/convention/etc anymore" and saying "You can't say that or we, the state, will jail you."

We are seeing this rise in hate speech right now not because the laws against hate speech changed, but because social and cultural mores became more tolerant of it. Because we had someone speaking from the largest pulpit in America and normalizing it. We can reverse it by not letting them get there next time, and spanking it hard when it does.
posted by corb at 10:15 AM on September 20


We are seeing this rise in hate speech right now not because the laws against hate speech changed, but because social and cultural mores became more tolerant of it. Because we had someone speaking from the largest pulpit in America and normalizing it.

This completely backwards, the "we need to remove regulations on guns because the bad guys have so many of them" of free speech arguments.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:19 AM on September 20 [3 favorites]


No, sorry. Other countries don't allow hate speech and have functioning democracies. This isn't complicated.

Those countries don't have the US's broken Republican party and the US's broken law enforcement agencies and the US's broken court systems and so on. I would not want to hand a law that barred speech against racial, ethnic, or religious groups to Joe Arpaio or Dipshit McCowboyhat from Wisconsin, or to see which hate speech cases McCulloch from St. Louis would choose to prosecute and which ones he would ignore.

[NARRATOR: They would ignore speech against nonwhites and nonchristians and zealously punish speech that they could convince 12 white notionally-christian people was against whites or christians]
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:49 AM on September 20 [1 favorite]


And in a more general sense, this argument that the problem is of Trump's making is "moderate" conservatism's attempt to evade responsibility at both the personal and collective levels for not doing anything to halt the rise of hate groups, and in many cases enabled or even engaged in it. When even these so-called moderates were out there supporting blatant bigotry like voter suppression and "religious liberty" laws that were insanely discriminatory, they were the ones increasing tolerance of hate speech. When they looked at hate groups like Gamergate or the parts of the internet (Reddit in particular) that gave us Dylann Roof and Eliot Rodgers, and kept on coming up with excuses for how "both sides" were responsible, or kept on insisting that they had something important to say rather than being violent terrorists, they were the ones affecting social and cultural mores. When they saw gun-wielding bigots outside mosques and protests by PoC/LGBTQ/women looking to suppress the 1st Amendment, but chose not to speak out lest they impugn their precious 2nd, they were the ones making things worse.

Trump didn't normalize anybody, they normalized him. After all, what I mentioned above happened before Trump ever had access to the Oval Office, much of it before he even got off that escalator in 2015, and had centuries of underpinnings that allowed it to thrive. But of course the ideology that lectures the poor and the under-represented and the oppressed on their alleged lack of "responsibility" will never, ever admit they helped give us these horrors. That would require admitting that they themselves displayed perhaps the largest and worst lack of actual responsibility many of us have seen in our lifetimes, and very few of them have the courage or the moral capacity to do so without coming up with further excuses.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:55 AM on September 20 [2 favorites]


Those countries don't have the US's broken Republican party and the US's broken law enforcement agencies and the US's broken court systems and so on. I would not want to hand a law that barred speech against racial, ethnic, or religious groups to Joe Arpaio or Dipshit McCowboyhat from Wisconsin, or to see which hate speech cases McCulloch from St. Louis would choose to prosecute and which ones he would ignore.

Yeah, laws designed to prevent rising fascism are not advisable when fascists are the ones enforcing the laws. Punch all the Nazis your knuckles can handle, but don't let Jeff Fucking Sessions pick and choose who gets arrested for assaulting "demonstrators" any more than he already does.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:56 AM on September 20 [1 favorite]


[NARRATOR: They would ignore speech against nonwhites and nonchristians and zealously punish speech that they could convince 12 white notionally-christian people was against whites or christians]

are you saying they'd be like facebook?
posted by anem0ne at 11:27 AM on September 20


Those countries don't have the US's broken Republican party and the US's broken law enforcement agencies and the US's broken court systems and so on.

Eh, if these people want to fuck you up they will and already are fucking you up, regardless of what the law says. Like you said, it's broken. I'm not about to revamp the US government and legal systems or anything. I also wasn't saying a hate speech law would be a panacea.

We need to stop selectively defending the "free speech" of Nazis. was the assertion. The attitude needs to shift. Very few people are free speech absolutists when it comes down to it. They recognize limits because of obscenity, threats, incitement, etc. Advocating white supremacy could be there too. "You need to be tolerant of our intolerance," is a long running, very unfunny joke.
posted by ODiV at 11:57 AM on September 20 [4 favorites]


Tolerance is not a moral precept, it is a peace treaty.

In order to reap the benefits of a peace treaty, you must be willing to live in peace and extend the same to the other side.

Nazis & White Supremacists by the very nature of what they espouse & declare are their beliefs are not willing to live in peace.

Tolerance to those who extend tolerance. Peace to those who will live in peace.

Palm-heel smash upside the jaw for Nazis & their ilk. The math is not actually that hard on this one.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 1:03 PM on September 20 [7 favorites]


It's not like you ever catch Nazis accidentally defending non-Nazi "speech", so it's entirely possible to differentiate between the two.
posted by Artw at 2:56 PM on September 20 [1 favorite]


Here's a nicer candid pugb moment. Guy says good night to his cat before realizing his mic isn't muted.
posted by ODiV at 3:37 PM on September 20 [1 favorite]


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