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

Alessandro Barbosa

You can all call me Sandy until I figure out how to edit this thing, which is probably never. Sandy not good enough? Call me xXx_J0k3R_360degreeN0Sc0pe_xXx. Also, Geoff's a bastard.

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