One of the world’s top online personalities is under fire after shouting a racist slur during a live online video over the weekend.
Felix Kjellberg, better known as PewDiePie, was playing the popular online multiplayer game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds on the livestreaming site Twitch this past weekend when he loudly called another player the n-word.
“What a f*cking n*****r,” Kjellberg shouts while playing the game. “Sorry, but what the f*ck. What a f*cking asshole.”
With over 57 million subscribers, Kjellberg has the most popular channel on YouTube. The Swedish video creator made a name for himself playing and commenting on video games, though his output includes commentary on a wide variety of topics as well.
The expletive was clipped on Twitch and shared on multiple video game communities.
Indie studio strikes back
After the clip spread more widely online, Sean Vanaman, co-founder of independent game studio Campo Santo, announced he would be filing copyright takedown notices of all videos on Kjellberg’s videos featuring their game Firewatch, under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
“I am sick of this child getting more and more chances to make money off of what we make,” Vanaman tweeted. “He’s worse than a closeted racist: he’s a propagator of despicable garbage that does real damage fo the culture around this industry.”
We’re filing a DMCA takedown of PewDiePie’s Firewatch content and any future Campo Santo games.
Vanaman admitted that he and other developers are “complicit,” noting that Kjellberg responded favourably to Firewatch in a video on his channel.
“I’m sure we’ve made money off of the 5.7 million views that video has and that’s something for us to think about,” he tweeted.
As of Monday morning, Kjellberg’s video of Firewatch is unavailable.
Kjellberg has not commented on the clip or Campo Santo’s response. In his latest video posted on Sunday, he instead talks about celebrities’ responses and comments on the recent hurricanes and tropical storms lashing the southern United States.
No stranger to controversy
Kjellberg has been criticized for controversial statements and stunts in the past. In February, he was censured for making anti-Semitic jokes, specifically in one video where he pays an Indian comedy duo to film themselves holing up a sign that read “Death to all Jews.”
Following that incident, Disney’s Maker Studios and Google distanced themselves from his work. A planned YouTube Red show starring Kjellberg was cancelled.
Kjellberg later apologized for the video, but also criticized mainstream press reports on the incident, including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.