Many YouTubers have defended PewDiePie against accusations of anti-Semitism.
Jack Dean, in his video DOES PEWDIEPIE REALLY HATE JEWS?, took the view that traditional media does not understand Felix’s use of anti-Semitic references for satirical humour. “Being offended is actually a choice,” Jack argued, in reference to an unnamed article about Felix’s “Death to all Jews” video. “Just because I offended you doesn’t mean you’re right.”
That now-deleted PewDiePie video depicted Felix using a website called Fiverr to pay a pair of young men from South-East Asia to hold up a hand-painted sign reading “Death to all Jews” whilst shouting “Subscribe to Keemstar”. Jack saw this not as Felix taking that view, but rather giving “a satirical look into how fucked society is… He’s basically going, ‘Look, I’m a very wealthy white man… and just by clicking a few buttons I can get two poor kids in India to promote such a hateful message’.”
Chris Crampsey and ImAllexx further propagated Jack’s notion of the misrepresentation of PewDiePie’s use of anti-Semitic imagery. Accusing traditional media of taking the provocative images out of context, Chris suggested they were attempting to depict Felix as an anti-Semite who “hates all the Jews, hates them all”.
Alex made a case for this in his video by highlighting the clip the BBC chose for their news coverage, which depicted just the two men brandishing the sign, cropping out the part of the screen that depicted Felix’s horrified face. Alex came to the conclusion that, without the full context, the BBC audience would naturally think, “Is he just paying Asian people to say ‘death to all the Jews’? What an awful guy.”
In his video, Chris accused The Wall Street Journal of doing the same, by compiling every single anti-Semitic reference on PewDiePie’s channel into a single montage video and removing them all from their original context. Alex compared the manipulation of Felix’s message to a clip from Donald Duck der Nazi (1943), depicting a gleeful Donald Duck reading Adolf Hitler’s autobiography Mein Kampf. He argued that, from that extract alone, viewers could conclude that this Disney animation is a piece of Nazi propaganda, but when viewed in context, the viewer is able to see that it is in fact anti-Nazism World War Two American propaganda.
Felix has also received the support of many fellow YouTube creators on Twitter. When he tweeted about “WSJ journalists knocking on my home address offering me ‘a chance and platform to defend myself’”, Zoe Sugg and Emma Blackery were quick to defend him:
@pewdiepie 😡 that's so not okay!
— Zoë (@Zoella) February 17, 2017
@pewdiepie that's fucking shocking dude. As if you need THEIR platform to say your piece
— Emma BOOKERY (@emmablackery) February 17, 2017
Felix has also attracted the support of the video community in general. A Change.org petition to reinstate PewDiePie in Maker Studios and un-cancel Scare PewDiePie has attracted over 10,000 signatures.
Read more about PewDiePie getting dropped by YouTube Red and Disney, or find out about Tom Fletcher’s new children’s book!