By Amy Rudolph
Elm Staff Writer
The standards for what is acceptable and what is not in celebrity behavior are constantly changing thanks to the rise of “problematic faves” and the tendancy of fans to drown out critics online. YouTuber and internet celebrity, Felix Kjellberg, better known by his screen name, Pewdiepie, has become the most recent problematic fave.
Kjellberg is a Swedish gamer who uses his videos as a means to express his comedic ideas. His goofy accent and harmless demeanor have allowed some of his more lascivious jokes to skate by without viewers noticing or taking them seriously. Through the years, Kjellberg has worn traditional Nazi garb in videos and shown excerpts of Adolf Hitler speeches all under the guise of humor.
In January 2017, Kjellberg took the supposed joke a step further when he hired controversial performance group Fiverr to hold up a sign that read, “death to all Jews.” Kjellberg covered his mouth and guffawed as if it were the funniest thing he had ever seen.
Naturally, people opposed Kjellberg’s actions and the blatant anti-semitism he depicted. Loyal followers of Kjellberg’s jumped at the chance to defend these actions and echoed his sentiments that the interaction was just a joke.
Usually, when people call celebrities out on their racist remarks, the celebrities apologize and make an effort to not do it again. Pewdiepie got the first part right, but forgot to not continue those antics.
On March 10, Pewdiepie uploaded a video in which he played a video game “Conan Exiles,” and, though the game has nothing to do with Nazis, he modeled his character after Hitler and proceeded to kill all of the Jews in the game.
Though Kjellberg apologized for his “death to all Jews” joke, he has not apologized for this latest screw-up. In his apology he said, “I understand that these jokes were ultimately offensive.”
“Offensive,” not racist or anti-Semitic. Kjellberg just doesn’t get it. He is not actually sorry for anything that he said or insinuated through any of these displays of anti-Semitism, he is sorry for himself that he lost his contracts with Disney and YouTube’s RED division after attention was called to his lewd “humor.”
There has to be a line in the sand when it comes to humor, and celebrities cannot cross back and forth about it whenever they feel like. If Kjellberg were truly sorry, he would show it in his actions, not just his words. Kjellberg and many other celebrities get away with these actions because people get tired of calling them out on them.
Many social media users stated things along the lines of “your fave is problematic” accompanied by the celebrity name and reasoning behind the statements which turned into a pseudo meme that was not taken seriously. People have stopped even bothering to do that for Kjellberg. So here it is: your fave is problematic, again; Pewdiepie; secretly a neo-Nazi but won’t admit it.
If fans, and even critics like those on gizmodo.com, continue to just call Kjellberg’s racist and anti-Semitic comments “jokes,” then this behavior will continue and no change will ever come of it. If losing two huge contracts wasn’t enough for Kjellberg to snap out of his racist ways, there’s no telling what it will take. Viewers and passive audiences alike have to condemn these actions and agree to not feed into it any longer for Kjellberg to really take notice.