PewDiePie Is Having Second Thoughts About The Whole YouTube Thing

PewDiePie Is Having Second Thoughts About The Whole YouTube Thing

A profile of YouTuber Pewdiepie in the New York Times titled “What Does Pewdiepie Really Believe?” does not quite answer that question. In fact, Pewdiepie himself does not seem to know.

New York Times writer Kevin Roose spoke to Pewdiepie, nee Felix Kjellberg, in the aftermath of March’s shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, where a shooter opened fired in a mosque after saying, “Remember, lads, subscribe to PewDiePie.”

The conversation came about, Roose wrote yesterday, when Kjellberg’s publicist called him shortly after the shooting because Kjellberg wanted a chance to explain his views. Roose provided an example of what he calls one of their “futile exchanges.”

“Are there any politicians who excite you?”


“Like, anywhere in the world?”

“I couldn’t name one, no.”

“What did you think about UKIP endorsing you?” I asked. On Twitter, the far-right British party had recently told its followers to subscribe to his channel to stop T-Series from overtaking him.

“It’s kind of funny how a political party would post about a meme,” he said. “But it’s also kind of like, Ehh, don’t drag me into your politics.”

This exchange makes clear that, while Kjellberg has Mr. Magoo’d himself into politically charged controversy after controversy, he does not seem to understand how to grapple with his level of fame and influence.

“My job is just: I go to my office; I record a video in front of a camera,” Kjellberg told Roose. “It’s weird for me to be in this position [of influence], because I don’t really want to be in this position.”

While this apathy toward politics might seem unlikely, I do find aspects of it relatable. I’m often completely oblivious to the one sided relationship that people all over the world have with me over social media. I write a lot of my tweets on the toilet — it feels bizarre whenever one of those missives is given any kind of weight or importance.

While Kjellberg might have started his YouTube channel with the intention of just saying stuff on the internet, he’s no longer in the position where he can just let it sort itself out.

Though much of the article is more a reflection on YouTube culture as a whole and a recap of Kjellberg’s various controversies, near the end of the profile, Kjellberg speaks specifically about his ambivalent attitude towards his channel.

Roose asked Kjellberg if he’d ever delete his YouTube channel. “Don’t tempt me,” Kjellberg answered. “I kind of question if the positive outweighs the negative…. It’s a lot more than I think I signed up for.” He clarified to Roose that he wouldn’t do so. “Deleting his channel is not something he would really go through with,” Roose wrote. “Like many other extreme ideas, it’s just something he plays with from time to time.”


  • Dude. You’ve got enough money that you never have to work a day again and can live in luxury for the rest of your natural life. Fucking disappear. Travel, explore, eat all the foods, meet all the people, read all the books, maybe start a fucking charity or whatever, but this YouTube bullshit? It’s just not worth it. You got lucky, now go live a privileged youthful life that no-one else can.

    • He’s a narcissist YouTube probably fuels his ego, you can’t replace that kind of fulfilment it’s on a scale very few could ever comprehend.

      I think he seriously need to consider using his influence for things other than screaming and catering his content to his 10yr old army, do something with substance every now and then.

    • I don’t care for Pewdiepie in the slightest. But I have some empathy for him here. (I’m reading into this a bit, but) It sounds like his ideal situation would be to keep making content, but for a sub 500k audience, big enough that he still feels big, but small enough not to be scrutinized when messes up. Somewhere in between where he doesn’t have to placate the divide between his super fans and the wider public eye.

      But it’s too late, he’s either “the face of YouTube gaming” or he retires. Plus, once you train yourself to be on the game treadmill, it’s hard to get off willingly.

    • I mean, why?
      He has fun making those vids. Why should be stop? I’m confused. Is it because you don’t like his content?

      For some, retiring at 30 and living on yacht would be incredibly boring.
      Also, he has 100,000,000 people who like his content.

      • Because he seriously seems to be struggling with it. It looks, from the outside, a hell of a lot like someone who isn’t coping well.

        • I really dislike the hate-train this guy receives.
          Replies in this article will be the usual “PDP is awful/trash/a nazi/dirty liar”.

          The guy just wants to make whacky, videogame-esque meme videos. Anyone who’s watched more than half-a-dozen would know this. Turns out, he was quite good at making these vids and attracted millions upon millions of followers.

          With that type of following, and by the very nature of memes, you’re going to attract some bad eggs who’ll try and hijack your message.

          Anyone who thinks PDP is a racist/nazi etc is honestly just another humourless, braindead, internet crusader cruising for likes.

          His content really isn’t my bad anymore (I’m late 30’s with my own kids)… but I can totally see the appeal for the younger gen who still love him.

          *Note: this isn’t addressed at you. Even when I disagree with you I find your posts to be interesting and well reasoned.

          • Yeah, but when many of those bad eggs were attracted to him because of his poor taste jokes that deeply resonated with their beliefs… he cannot pretend to wash his hands. If he wants to do his thing and be left alone and disassociated from said “bad eggs” he could very clearly and loudly denounce them and post some content that they would find “controversial” and would repel them in the same way that trying to be edgy and post truly controversial stuff attracted them to begin with. But he doesn’t do such a thing. Why?

  • The boy flip-flops all the time. He’s consistently inconsistent. I wouldn’t take anything he says seriously.

    • And yet, some people do. Thats the core of the problem for him now. He cant just be himself, which has gotten him his success, he has to consider the reaction of whatever he says or does, or how others actions impact him. If he had 500 subs, nobody would care. But he doesnt so now he’s forced into behaviour he might not want to do.

      I dont really like his stuff myself, but like @snoweee above have sympathy for him when things like this happen. The alternative he has is giving up his income source, merely because someone else referenced him then committed a crime so vile it’ll be referenced for generations to come. Love him or hate him, he shouldnt have to make that choice.

      • 100% this.

        Imagine if Ricky Gervais had to make this choice. Or Seth MacFarlane. Or Dan Harmon / Justin Roiland.

        It’s easy to hate on him online because he’s rich and famous and he directly talks about video games… but the dude just wants to make funny videos.
        People need to get a grip.

      • Make antisemitic “practical jokes” gain hateful murderers as followers. There’s a clear correlation, you cannot entirely excuse him.

  • “While this apathy toward politics might seem unlikely”
    What the fuck? How can anyone think this? I think this is just a case of author bias. “I inundate myself with political news every 5 minutes, so everyone else surely must do the same, too!”

    • I’m gonna say because he was referenced in a mass shooter’s manifesto, and that most people would do a little bit of introspection and try and figure out how that came to pass and maybe try a be a little bit more politically aware in the future.

      • He was “referenced” by the guy saying “Subscribe to PewDiePie” and that was it. There’s nothing to think about there, it’s so utterly disconnected that it isn’t even worth mentioning. It came to pass because the shooter was a piece of shit having a sick joke. It has about as much substance as the Fortnite reference – absolutely zero.

        The only people who should think about it are the ones desperately trying to link it with PDP. I don’t like PDP but he had nothing to do with that atrocity. Rather the media circus needs to look at itself and wonder if constant coverage of a throwaway memetic line is really worth their time just so that they can engage in a bit of character assassination.

    • The author is definitely biased. There’s multiple indications that millenials are widely considered apathetic, especially politically.

  • In a few months time I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw the headline:
    “PewDiePie joins Mixer to get back to his roots”

    Although I’m not sure Microsoft would want the baggage that comes with him.

  • I imagine articles written about him by Kotaku and its ilk contribute massively to his indecisiveness. It’s the media and the 40+ yr olds who decided he’s harmful/HAS to have a political leaning, not he himself.

  • I kinda empathise with the guy. No wonder he’s so unsure of himself when he seems to be misappropriated constantly by his followers and the media.

  • I never used to like him. Because I only saw him as his old content.

    But the constant media screeching about him convinced me to actually watch him and see if the accusations were true.

    Turns out he not like the media describe him at all and I enjoy his content now. He is nothing like the media describes him in their borderline defamatory articles.

    The constant screeching from the media trying to paint him as something he isn’t is a great example of tall poppy syndrome. He has the success and audience these writers wish they had.

  • “My job is just: I go to my office; I record a video in front of a camera,” Kjellberg told Roose. “It’s weird for me to be in this position [of influence], because I don’t really want to be in this position.”

    “It’s weird for me that doing my job in a way that gets me a big payout puts me in a position of doing my job”.

    Literally your job is called “influencer”. Don’t like it? Quit it. Don’t like it but like the absurd profits? Then quit whining and making yourself the victim and have a bit of social responsibility to clean the mess that you started, if you truly want to distance yourself from those who use your brand to commit horrid crimes.

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