Pewdiepie versus T-Series is long over and Pewdiepie lost. He was, however, the first independent creator on YouTube to go over 100 million subscribers, and he’s shown that even his most crazy antisemitic followers matter to him.
As you may know, over the years, Felix has had a troubled relationship with the Jewish people. Some of the criticisms of him were fair, and others weren’t. As an example, he got a lot of criticism for a video where he hired two guys on fiverr to say “kill the Jews,” but that’s not antisemitic, it’s just a poorly executed joke about how rich assholes can get people to embarrass themselves by tossing them a few crumbs. On the other hand, he gave a shout-out to a white supremacist’s racist movie review, and that’s legitimate to criticize.
Felix has been trying to distance himself from the antisemitism, and had asked people to stop memeing “subscribe to Pewdiepie” after the Christchurch shooter said it before murdering over 50 people.
So on Wednesday he announced that he was donating $50,000 to the ADL, a Jewish media watchdog group that fights antisemitism. Of course, less that 24 later, he announced he wasn’t making the donation after all, because some of his fans who really hate Jewish people were mad about it.
Now, the ADL is not perfect. In particular, they consider the BDS movement, a valid call for a boycott against Israel because of their morally reprehensible treatment of the Palestinian people, specifically the occupation of Palestinian land by far-right settlers, to be antisemitic. They’re also not all bad, and they spend a lot more time pushing back against actual antisemitism. I’d say that supporting them in this instance is a pretty value-neutral action.
But have a look at Pewdiepie’s fans were saying that caused him to stop his donation.
when the altright absolutely cucks you and your impressionable audience. pic.twitter.com/aokO5U9FOs
— hasanabi (@hasanthehun) September 12, 2019
And he then posted this video where he says he’s not donating to the ADL after all.
There’s such a thing as optics, and you have to understand how this is bad optics. I probably wouldn’t donate to the ADL because I disagree with their positions regarding Palestine, but if you say you’re going to donate to them and then a bunch of antisemites get mad about it, it’s not great optics to then cancel that donation.
But I mainly just write about Pewdiepie when he does something stupid because his fans are so easy to rankle. I offhandedly tweeted that I was writing about him and have been getting angry tweets from his supports, so I want to make a few things clear. Nothing I write here can be slander, it would be libel. But to be libel against a public figure something not only has to be untrue, it has to be done with actual malice. And most importantly, it has to be a provable statement of fact and not opinion. So, like “I think Pewdiepie is an antisemite” is an opinion and not libel. “Pewdiepie’s facial hair makes him look like a child molester” is likewise an opinion and humorous bit of hyperbole, not something that would be libel.
With all that said, I don’t think Pewdiepie is an antisemite. I think he’s a dumbass clown that entertains children on the internet and any understanding he has on politics is too rudimentary to actually call anything he says or does an opinion. Also, he should probably shave.