PewDiePie is under fire again this week due to a live stream in which he shouted the word "nigger." The reaction from Firewatch developer Campo Santo to file a DMCA takedown notice on PewDiePie's Firewatch YouTube video has created even more consternation. Fans have rushed to defend this insanely popular YouTuber, but I honestly have one thing to say to anyone who thinks it is ok to say that word. Stop.
It is time to stop acting like you are doing this accidentally. We all get mad at video games. I curse like a sailor, but never does that word come out of my mouth. It is not about the freedom of speech, either. This is about simple human decency.
PewDiePie casually said, “what a fucking nigger” on a live stream. The games press and social media have exploded about the topic and not a word from him. Instead, he posted a video today about other streamers’ “Stream fails” and has maintained radio silence across all his social media channels.
It is time for PewDiePie to actually step up and say what he did was wrong. It isn't even remotely sufficient to say that he regrets saying it on a live stream. That half apology simply implies that he thinks it is totally fine to casually throw that hateful word around in private company. It isn’t, and if you think it is you are part of the problem.
But Black People Say It
Black people took that word back from racists and made it their own. That does not make it ok for anyone to say that word in a derogatory manner. I don’t care how many rap albums you have purchased, that does not give anyone a pass to say that hateful word. Closet racism is still racism. Just because you aren't a bigot in public does not make you a good human being.
It isn’t just PewDiePie
I hear that horrible word when I play online multiplayer in a variety of games. COD, Halo, PUBG, and even Rocket League are all games that I have heard players shout that word and yell it at me. There have been times I have been invited into a Discord or Teamspeak and been met with the same horrific language. Racism is a societal problem and it is being amplified in the games community.
It isn’t just the N-word
Mysogyny, homophobia, racism, and all other forms of hate are truly amplified by the anonymity that online gaming provides. Some people revel in the ability to be genuinely awful people who pride themselves on saying as many offensive things as they possibly can in a given session. This goes beyond trolling and it is starting to divide the gaming community.
Choose a side
Two stories have popped up in the past week that sum up the video game world pretty well right now. Last week, Dean Takahashi drew tons of criticism over some Cuphead gameplay footage. People were asking him to kill himself, over gameplay footage. Now this week we have some people rushing to defend PewDiePie's rights despite his track record. It is more apparent to me than ever that GamerGate never ended and just like American society we are devolving into a two-sided argument. On one side lies bigotry, hate, misogyny, and a lot of terrible things I don't have time to name. On the other side lies respect, love, and simple human decency.