Home Gaming Firewatch developers take action after PewDiePie blurts out racial slur during stream

Firewatch developers take action after PewDiePie blurts out racial slur during stream

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PewDiePie blurts out racial slur during livestream

PewDiePie is no stranger to controversy, but this year is turning out to be one for the books. In February the YouTuber came under fire for a joke that many deemed anti-Semitic, initially reported by the Wall Street Journal. The dubious reporting and contextual omissions aside, PewDiePie lost his connection to Disney and a new YouTube exclusive show, eventually apologising for the gag and admitting it went too far. A few months later now, and the content creator is in the spotlight again, this time for using a racial slur during a livestream of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

The clip, which circulated quickly across social media last night, shows Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg screaming out the n-word after seemingly missing a kill in-game. “What a fucking n-. Sorry, but what the fuck. What a fucking asshole.” Aware of the issues this moment might cause, PewDiePie and his guests online continue debating the moment throughout the stream, as tips keep pouring in spurring in on to repeat it.

The clip is undoubtedly disgusting, despite the empty arguments claiming that everyone easily blurts out racial slurs in moments of frustration. It didn’t take long for it to be the final straw for some other personalities within the industry too. John “TotalBiscuit” Bain, himself an often contentious figure in the eyes of games media, called out Felix’s actions as indefensible.

Sean Vanaman, founder at Campo Santo and one of the designers behind Firewatch, then went a step further. In a series of tweets he explained how the company would be filling DMCA takedowns on any and all existing videos PewDiePie has produced with their games, and would do so for all games in the future.

The legalities around DMCA claims is murky at best, but most lawyers tend to agree that this sort of action is entirely legal. YouTubers claim that the use of game footage falls under Fair Use, and game developers generally tend to allow them to continue because of the attention it brings to their products. But should an entity not want that attention, as Vanaman clearly points out, it seems within their rights to revoke that privilege. Even if the developer has said in the past that such use was completely fine.

It’s not going to be the last we hear of this, and it will be interesting to see if other developers take up the challenge Vanaman has laid out for them. How much it will affect PewDiePie personally is quite easy to speculate on, but it’s just another example of the world’s biggest YouTube personality crossing far too many lines.

Last Updated: September 11, 2017

63 Comments

  1. I am going to say this: the guy is a Swede right? Certain words, that are considered hurtful, discriminatory or racist, do NOT have the same meaning and “status” all over the world. The K word for instance, say it in the US and I bet nobody would bat an eye. HOWEVER, before I get crucified here, being exposed to the N word and its history and meaning like most of the world due to Western Movies and Media, AND him having an international audience, there is NO excuse and NO WAY he can claim ignorance or innocence on this. Had it been the K word, it probably would only have been news here for us and he could claim ignorance of the word and its history. But seriously, the N word and its connotation is known the world over. His true colours showing recently?

    Reply

    • Geoffrey Tim

      September 11, 2017 at 09:24

      The ease at which the word “slipped out” shows its something that’s intrinsic to his vocabulary. that was not a slip up, that was who he is. As somebody with a global audience – made up of many impressionable kids – he should be more aware, and more responsible.

      context, of course, is important. But here, the context is that the used the word as a perjorative. He course corrected to infer “asshole,” which honestly, just makes it worse. At best he should have just straight up apologised, but instead carriedon like it was *nothing*.

      Reply

    • Sageville

      September 11, 2017 at 09:52

      I don’t buy the “it’s not a bad word in Sweden” defense,

      Reply

      • Original Heretic

        September 11, 2017 at 10:15

        Totally doesn’t fly, I agree. It’s a word that has seen worldwide exposure due to Western media (TV, movies, etc.). The whole world knows it’s considered taboo.
        Yes, there are certain words or phrases that are considered “clean” in some countries but not in others (e.g. calling someone a coloured in South Africa is normal, but doing it in England is racist), but the N-word is NOT one of them.

        Reply

      • For the Emperor!

        September 11, 2017 at 10:27

        I am stating that not all words are offensive everywhere, but also explicitly state that this particular word is known world wide to be so, and that he cannot use it as a defence.

        Reply

        • Kim Jong Jim

          September 11, 2017 at 11:43

          True, but on the other hand, it’s also ended up in the vernacular of the global youth (because of their contact with American culture on TV). Yes, it is offensive as a racial slur, and you shouldn’t use it, but that doesn’t change the fact that the word IS used “non-racially” AND even as a “term of endearment” among peers

          Reply

      • Kim Jong Jim

        September 11, 2017 at 11:40

        The swedes have a lot more interesting racial slurs than the N-word. I’ll give pewdiepie a pass, because it has become a ubiquitous global phrase – for better or for worse. Walk in any South African shopping centre, and if you listen closely to the youngsters, it’s “y’all niggas better get some nandos”.

        Now you could argue that “nigga” isn’t the same as “nigger”, but who are we kidding?

        Reply

    • Kim Jong Jim

      September 11, 2017 at 11:26

      I have to agree with you on that one, just take the K-word. Utter it in public in South Africa (if you’re not black) and you’re in for a world of pain, and yet…. if you travel through asia, you get kaffir lime leaves – which are a key ingredient in most southeast-asian cuisine.

      Imagine, you’re a poor Thai immigrant to South Africa, and you want to go buy some kaffir lime leaves at Spar or Shoprite. Would you be racist for asking “Where can I get some kaffir lime leaves?”

      Reply

  2. RinceThis

    September 11, 2017 at 09:24

    guy is a chop

    Reply

  3. Gavin Mannion

    September 11, 2017 at 09:42

    I have no love for Pewdiepie at all, however using DMCA strikes against a person because you don’t like him is a gross abuse of power.

    If you allow people to stream your games, which every developer should, then you can’t pick and choose who does.

    Hopefully this is the end of PDP though..really dislike the kid

    Reply

    • For the Emperor!

      September 11, 2017 at 09:47

      If it was just because they didn’t like him, yeah abuse of power. But I support “picking and choosing” when the person now has a “proven history” of offensiveness that you do not want your company to be associated with. Like the one tweet said: “He’s worse than a closeted racist: he’s a propagator of despicable garbage that does real damage to the culture around this industry”

      Reply

    • Kromas Ryder

      September 11, 2017 at 09:59

      Blatant rasicm too me is a good enough reason to DMCA him.

      Reply

      • BakedBagel

        September 11, 2017 at 10:03

        Then you don’t understand how DMCA’s are supposed to work.

        Reply

        • Kromas Ryder

          September 11, 2017 at 10:06

          Then I suppose I don’t. I still agree with what they did though.

          Reply

      • konfab

        September 11, 2017 at 10:04

        It is not copyright infringement.

        Fair use means that you allow people to use your content for commentary or criticism. How Pewdiepie does said commentary or criticism is up to him.

        If they used the DMCA to take him down, he would have a legitimate 1st amendment claim against the act.
        From wikipedia:

        Courts recognize that certain kinds of market harm do not negate fair use, such as when a parody or negative review impairs the market of the original work. Copyright considerations may not shield a work against adverse criticism.”

        Reply

        • Kromas Ryder

          September 11, 2017 at 10:07

          I know it isn’t however I would not want my brand to be used by him either so I would also DMCA him if I had any original works floating out there that he may have wanted to use.

          Reply

          • BakedBagel

            September 11, 2017 at 10:08

            Kromas. Stop.

            Advocating an abuse of a legal system simply because “my brand” is laughable.

          • Kromas Ryder

            September 11, 2017 at 10:12

            I won’t. I know it is flawed but I see no alternative. Unless you can give a better alternative I see no other way.

          • BakedBagel

            September 11, 2017 at 10:14

            THERE IS NO OTHER ALTERNATIVE.

            Thats the whole point of Fair Use.

            Did PDP’s video fall under fair use? It did.

            What if someone says your brand is shit?

            Would you DMCA that person?

          • Kromas Ryder

            September 11, 2017 at 10:16

            Missing the point. Saying your product is shit is COMPLETE FUCKING DIFFERENT TO CALLING SOMEONE THE N WORD!

            FFS .. stop saying this is criticism. It is hate speech clear and simple. Free speech does not even protect hate speech (in most countries)

          • BakedBagel

            September 11, 2017 at 10:17

            You admit to having 0 understanding of the DMCA yet you agree with these actions.

            Almost like its EA.

            Stick to pre-ordering and defending EA bruh. You atleast have some knowledge of that.

          • Kromas Ryder

            September 11, 2017 at 10:18

            Good to know you defend hate speech.

          • BakedBagel

            September 11, 2017 at 10:19

            Lmfao. Yeah because i dont like seeing people abuse an abusable DMCA system. I support hate speech.

            You are a fucking joke.

          • Gavin Mannion

            September 11, 2017 at 11:46

            It’s 100% not defending hate speech. It’s about two wrongs not making a right.

            If they are allowed to do illegal things in a case like this then they are then allowed to do it when not everyone disagrees.

            YouTube/Twitch should ban PDP for 12 weeks since he broke their terms and conditions of use. But hoping for a corporate to do the right thing is pointless

          • BakedBagel

            September 11, 2017 at 12:01

            FW devs are fully within their legal right to ban him from streaming/marketing their game in the future. But to DMCA a video based on what he said (that had 0 connection to FW) is extremely bad practice and it needs to stop.

          • BakedBagel

            September 11, 2017 at 10:18

            Tell me what does the N-word have to do with FW?

            Nothing. It has 0 to do with FW. When PDP muttered the N word. Was it Firewatch’s brand that you thought of? No. It was “Oh shit thats racist”

            FW has 0 legal ground to stand on.

            Your justification of these actions is laughable

          • Allykhat

            September 11, 2017 at 15:36

            You’re shit!

            DMCA ME BRO!

            <3

          • BakedBagel

            September 11, 2017 at 15:40

            C U in Court

          • konfab

            September 11, 2017 at 10:08

            “Courts recognize that certain kinds of market harm do not negate fair use, such as when a parody or negative review impairs the market of the original work. Copyright considerations may not shield a work against adverse criticism.”

            If you allow fair use for one person, but not another, you are no better than the people who would use the DMCA to take down negative reviews of their product.

  4. Sageville

    September 11, 2017 at 09:48

    I never understood why people ever rated this guy. Maybe once upon a time, not now.

    No need to defend him either.

    Reply

  5. BakedBagel

    September 11, 2017 at 10:06

    Instead of calling him a cunt and banning him from future works

    They decide to use a known flawed legal system to make their point?

    Remember this moment. Abusing legal systems is okay, aslong as i don’t like the person.

    People saying that they agree with this, is damn well shocking.

    Reply

    • Kromas Ryder

      September 11, 2017 at 10:09

      It isn’t about liking or disliking him. It is about protecting your brand. this is pretty much like the Jared/Subway debacle. Or when an athlete cheats and loses a sponsorship. I know DMCA is flawed and yet I still wouldn’t want him to use my works.

      Reply

      • BakedBagel

        September 11, 2017 at 10:10

        You have 0 understanding of DMCA.

        Tell me, how does abusing a legal system help your brands image in anyway?

        When “your brand” would effectively lose the court case?

        Reply

        • Kromas Ryder

          September 11, 2017 at 10:12

          Then give them an alternative way of stopping him using their stuff. Until then I say do what you must.

          Reply

  6. Matthew Holliday

    September 11, 2017 at 10:21

    Sure, dick move on pewdiepies part. not even gna refute that.
    Not a fan, never have been, never will be.

    but

    “I am sick of this child getting more and more chances to make money off of what we make.”
    I wonder how they felt when his Firewatch video had 5.7 million views?
    I wonder how much that 5.7 million views influenced their sales?
    I wonder how much money THEY made off HIM?

    The cynic in me cant help but think that this has more to do with Vanaman and the firewatch team just trying to stay relevant by cashing in on controversy and less to do with being paragons of justice.
    Evident by the sloppy DCMA stuff now that they no longer have any use for his exposure, since pewdiepies already done his job.
    If anything, the reuploads of his video are going to garner their game even more views.
    Making his racist tendancies secondary to their own brand.

    Reply

  7. konfab

    September 11, 2017 at 10:28

    Also:
    “The legalities around DMCA claims is murky at best, but most lawyers tend to agree that this sort of action is entirely legal.”
    [citation needed]

    Reply

    • HvR

      September 11, 2017 at 13:56

      Especially taking into account recent court cases where youtube videos were involved where judgements were made in favour of fair use.

      Reply

  8. Kim Jong Jim

    September 11, 2017 at 11:12

    https://media.giphy.com/media/fGs18KxtuvE7C/giphy.gif

    Guys, why are you so judgemental: Gangsta rap made him do! 😀

    Reply

    • Kim Jong Jim

      September 11, 2017 at 11:14

      Actually, I don’t mind Pewdiepie using the N-word, he’s Swedish, and thus practically a black person.

      Reply

  9. Kim Jong Jim

    September 11, 2017 at 11:35

    There was a time when I tolerated Totalbiscuit. He seemed like a rational kind of guy, and then he lost his marbles over “traps are gay”. I don’t throw the word “cuck” around very often, but the guy is a total cuck. He’s truly sunk to Jim Sterling levels of idiocy and redundancy.

    Reply

  10. Mike De Fleuriot

    September 11, 2017 at 11:41

    I wonder if the makers of this game will cut a cheque to Felix for the free advertising he has just brought to their game.

    Reply

    • Kim Jong Jim

      September 11, 2017 at 11:43

      They really should. He’s put them on the map.

      Reply

      • Dresden

        September 11, 2017 at 12:02

        “Furthermore, we’re complicit: I’m sure we’ve made money off of the 5.7M views that video has and that’s something for us to think about.” – a tweet he made recently.

        What a hypocrite. If he really feels so strongly about the situation, give away the money he made off of exposure he got (although I know it’s indeterminable amount), seeing that he wants nothing to do with PDP anymore.

        Reply

        • Kim Jong Jim

          September 11, 2017 at 12:03

          Or better yet, donate it all to a charity.

          Reply

          • Dresden

            September 11, 2017 at 12:05

            That’s what I meant. To some anti-racist charity or something to show he means it because to me it just looks like he’s trying to get exposure off of a controversy.

  11. Craig "CrAiGiSh" Dodd

    September 11, 2017 at 14:24

    Saying PewDiePie is a racist, is like saying Donald Trump is a good president …

    Reply

    • Kim Jong Jim

      September 12, 2017 at 10:53

      Amen brother!

      Reply

  12. Kim Jong Jim

    September 12, 2017 at 19:53

    Pewdiepiew apologised, and as a black man, I forgive him. You did nothing wrong Felix, you’re just a human being.

    Reply

    • Kim Jong Jim

      September 12, 2017 at 19:55

      Someblackguy nails it!

      Reply

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