San Francisco Gamemaker Acts Against PewDiePie After N-Word Outburst

PewDiePie was previously exposed for using anti-Semitic and Nazi imagery.

Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellborg speaking to his 57 million followers via YouTube

San Francisco developer Campo Santo issued copyright takedowns of footage used by YouTube’s biggest celebrity PewDiePie hours after he yelled racist slur Sunday.

“What a fucking n—-r!” Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg said while livestreaming a gameplay. “Sorry, but what the fuck? What a fucking asshole. I don’t mean that in a bad way. ”

Campo Santo co-founder Sean Vanaman announced on Twitter that the company would issue a Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown of Kjellberg’s video featuring the developer’s 2016 game, Firewatch.

“He’s worse than a closeted racist…he’s a propagator of despicable garbage that does real damage to the culture around this industry,” Sean Vanaman tweeted Sunday. “I’m sick of this child getting more and more chances to make money off of what we make.”

Vanaman also called his team “complicit,” noting that Kjellberg’s Firewatch video probably made the company more money and is “something for us to think about.” The video is no longer available on YouTube.

Kjellberg, who reigns on YouTube with over 57 million subscribers, has a history of poking the wounds of racism for entertainment. The Wall Street Journal earlier this year dug up multiple instances of Kjellberg using anti-Semitic imagery and phrases, as well as hiring people to hold up a sign reading “Death to all Jews” for one of his videos.

Because there are still obligatory corporate consequences to general controversy, YouTube canceled the second season of Kjellberg’s streaming reality show and Disney’s Maker Studios also dropped a deal for his own entertainment network. The 27-year-old vlogger eventually went on a rant against the mainstream media.

Though Vanaman also encouraged other developers to restrict Kjellberg’s access to their content, the Swedish YouTube personality will likely continue making tons of money. Forbes reported that, in 2016 alone, Kjellberg made $15 million. 

Sure enough, some Kjellberg’s fans immediately jumped to defend him on Twitter. Like those smug over an impending presidential impeachment and the not-so-steep fall of Taylor Swift, the #PewDiePiepartyisover movement may be getting ahead of itself.

Update, Sept. 11 2:30 p.m.: Buzzfeed reports that Vanaman later regretted using a copyright takedown to distance themselves from Kjellberg.

“I wish there was a clear way to say we don’t want our work associated with hate speech, even accidental hate speech if that’s what it was,” Vanaman told BuzzFeed News. “Censorship is not the best thing for speech and if I had a way to contact PewDiePie and take the video down, I probably would. He’s a bad fit for us, and we’re a bad fit for him.”

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