PewDiePie’s ties to white supremacy spell serious trouble for the future of YouTube

PewDiePie /YouTube YouTube’s most popular user is once again facing backlash — this time for promoting a highly anti-Semitic channel by recommending a video featuring a racial slur and a white supremacist conspiracy. With 76 million subscribers, controversial gaming vlogger PewDiePie , a.k.a. Felix Kjellberg, is the most popular individual on YouTube. In a since-edited video posted on December 9, he recommended a litany of YouTube channels he said he’d been enjoying recently, briefly mentioning a YouTube channel called “E;R,” noting that it produces “great video essays,” including “one on [the Netflix movie] Death Note which I really enjoyed.” He also linked to the channel in his video description. (The recommendation has since been edited out of the video.) To casual observers, PewDiePie’s support of E;R may have appeared harmless — one YouTube user supporting another. But a more-than-cursory dive into the channel would have revealed a litany of disturbing imagery, slurs, and white supremacist messaging. The outcry against PewDiePie’s recommendation of the channel was immediate, with media outlets and other YouTuber users citing it as an example of PewDiePie’s ongoing dalliance in alt-right culture. In response, PewDiePie released a follow-up video on December 11 in which he sarcastically described the incident as an “oopsie” and scoffed at the idea that he was promoting neo-Nazism by merely “recommending someone for their anime review.” “All I said was I like this guy’s anime review,” PewDiePie says in the video. “[The channel creator] apparently likes to have hidden and not-so-hidden Nazi references in his videos and obviously if I noticed that I wouldn’t have referenced him in the shoutout. … I said publicly a year and a half ago that I was going to distance myself from Nazi jokes and that kind of stuff, because I want nothing to do with it. Generally, I’ve done that. I don’t really have a reason to dip into that again — it’s just stupid.” But each of the three videos PewDiePie featured in his since-removed shoutout of the E;R channel featuredfairly obvious examples of the channel’s offensive content — in fact, not only did part one of the Death Note review that Kjellberg said he liked directly invoke a racial slur in its video description (the description has since been edited), but the first 15 seconds of part two contain a blatant reference to a 2017 incident in which Kjellberg himself dropped a racial slur , strategically edited but unmissable if you’re familiar with the clip in question — which most of Kjellberg’s followers would reasonably be. Essentially, anything more than the briefest research on Kjellberg’s part would have revealed the E;R channel’s overt anti-Semitism and white supremacist signifiers; its creator even sarcastically refers to his reputation as a racist in his channel FAQ . Should PewDiePie have known better? His critics say yes; though he has been dismissive about the uproar, this is far from the first time he has dabbled in alignment with alt-right beliefs , and he’s previously faced backlash for this type of incident so many times that it now seems more than a little intentional. But PewDiePie and his supporters say his critics are overreacting to a harmless mistake — all while tens of thousands of new subscribers have followed the anti-Semitic channel based on PewDiePie’s brief endorsement. If you think that’s alarming, especially given the many teens and preteens who watch and are influenced by PewDiePie, you’re not alone. In many ways, PewDiePie’s trollish irreverence and offense-proof shock humor embodies a more pervasive overlap between YouTube’s gaming culture and its alt-right culture. And the criticisms leveled at him in his role as YouTube’s most popular creator represent what seems to have become a larger battle to reclaim YouTube culture— a battle that in recent months has come to a head around PewDiePie himself. The channel that PewDiePie linked to is a hotbed of anti-Semitism, racism, and alt-right rhetoric disguised as pop culture commentary The E;R YouTube channel has a long history of anti-Semitic imagery and messaging . The channel’s anonymous creator, who uses the channel’s handle on several online platforms, also habitually links to his accounts on alt-right-identified social media sites, including the white supremacist haven Gab . The Death Note review that PieDiePie cited uses a racial slur to refer to one of the characters in the movie. The video also contains a reference to a false white nationalist conspiracy theory that Heather Heyer, the protester who was murdered at the white supremacist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 — and whose killer was recently convicted and sentenced to life in prison — actually died of a heart attack. This indirect, dog-whistle form of alt-right messaging is common for the channel, which deliberately uses pop culture imagery, mainly drawn from animated series like Death Note and in particular the Cartoon Network TV series Steven Universe , as a tool for spreading white supremacist propaganda. Some of the many examples littering the channel’s videos include frequent references to media creators and other public figures using the historically loaded slur “Jews,” and references to anti-Semitic conspiracy phraseology such as “the Jewish question,” a frequent alt-right dog whistle that refers to the “Endlösung der Judenfrage”— German for “Final Solution to the Jewish Question” and the official Nazi code language for planning and carrying out the Holocaust . The channel also refers to black characters from pop culture as “Negroes,” and contains mentions of being “ redpilled ,” blatantly racist imagery and stereotypes, homophobic slurs, mocking references to feminism and the idea of rape culture, sexist slurs, and sexist portrayals of women. In the thumbnail for one video, the channel’s creator distorts a black actor’s face to exaggerate their features in a blatantly racist fashion. In another video, E;R turns a clip in which Barack Obama repeats the phrase “choose hope” into a deeply anti-Semitic slur referencing a notoriously horrific fact about the Holocaust. And throughout many videos focused on Steven Universe , E;R presents the show’s characters as analogues for Jewish people, coding them with anti-Semitic stereotypes. In one such video , he portrays one character as a deceptive tool for a global Jewish conspiracy, as indicated by a montage of public figures and businessmen, and then ends the video with an altered version of a white supremacist slogan known as the “ 14 words .” In other words, there is serious anti-Semitic and white supremacist propaganda underlying the “great video essays” that PewDiePie endorsed. Since PewDiePie’s December 9 video drew greater attention to the E;R channel, YouTube has reportedly suspended one of the creator’s videos and issued a strike against the account for violating the site’s community guidelines. The suspended video, which according to E;R had 2 million views at the time of its removal from YouTube, was ostensibly about Steven Universe — but it also contained four minutes of unedited footage of Hitler delivering a speech. YouTube has not yet responded to Vox’s request for comment. This is not the first time that PewDiePie has used his considerable influence to peddle alt-right messaging To many YouTube users, the content of the E;R channel itself isn’t as concerning as the fact that PewDiePie — who, again, is YouTube’s most popular individual user — has now endorsed it, and that PewDiePie has what is by now a well-established larger pattern of affiliation with alt-right ideas and alt-right personalities. In the days since PewDiePie first linked to E;R, the channel has gained 35,000 new followers, while many critics of PewDiePie, on both YouTube and other social media platforms, have spoken out against him. “The largest fucking YouTuber on the planet made a video that got 7 million views in 7 hours,” Hasan Piker, a commentator for the left-wing web series The Young Turks , said on his own YouTube channel. “That seems like a fucking big problem, especially if the majority of his viewers are 14-year-old kids who are going to go over to this fucking channel and start watching this guy’s cartoon videos. … [E;R] has an interest in red-pilling people and turning them over to Naziism or to Fascist ideology. How do you think this will play out when PewDiePie hypes this guy’s fucking channel?” “[P]ewdiepie is, once again, doing exactly what neo-nazis want,” Kotaku reporter Nathan Grayson commented on Twitter in response to the incident. “[W]hether he’s just memeing or he ascribes to these values, it doesn’t matter. [W]hat matters is that he normalizes these ideas as jokes on THE platform where kids increasingly get their first exposure to the world at large.” As Grayson notes, PewDiePie’s endorsement of the E;R channel continues a long trend of the vlogger using his influence to normalize white supremacist alt-right rhetoric to an alarming — and, on YouTube, increasingly widespread — degree. In 2016 and 2017, PewDiePie faced intense backlash for multiple instances in which he promoted Nazi symbolism and anti-Semitism, including a video in which he threw a Nazi “heil” salute, and one in which he hired a pair of performers from a freelancer website to hold up a sign reading “Death to all Jews,” ostensibly as a satirical exercise. He followed that so-called stunt with a video where he used a racist slur during a gaming live stream. Though the furor around PewDiePie’s repeated antics has subsided after each of these incidents, his courting of alt-right ideas has not. Though he has never openly identified himself as a member or supporter of the alt-right, he has continued to like and promote channels run by alt-right-affiliated users, and earlier this year, he made a video in which he reviewed the right-wing personality and alt-right hero Jordan Peterson’s controversial self-help book . In the review, PewDiePie endorsed the book, called it a “fun” read, and said he would take some of its advice. Additionally, in response to PewDiePie’s rec of the E;R channel, its owner described PewDiePie as producing “ redpilled content .” And it’s easy to see why. Before declaring in 2017 that he would stop making Nazi jokes, PewDiePie made a whole lot of Nazi jokes. Even since then, he’s produced a long line of “satirical” videos and commentary that his alt-right followers have praised as examples of his “ dropping redpills ” on the rest of his fans. And while PewDiePie only follows a few hundred people on Twitter, many of them are alt-right-identified figures — including Peterson, the prominent Gamergate writer Ian Miles Cheong , Infowars editor Paul Joseph Watson , the alt-right YouTube philosopher Stefan Molyneux , the alt-right Canadian blogger Lauren Southern , the recently “redpilled” YouTubepersonality Laci Green , and leading figures of YouTube’s reactionary right-wing community, like Dave Rubin and Ben Shapiro . PewDiePie also followed notorious alt-right YouTuber Sargon of Akkad until the latter’s suspension from Twitter last year. (Kjellberg has not responded to a request from Vox for comment.) To his defiant followers, PewDiePie has come to represent a larger culture clash over YouTube itself. That makes his alt-right ties even more pernicious. It can’t be overstated that PewDiePie’s massive popularity has given him unquestionable influence over the future of YouTube. In fact, his channel currently sits directly at the center of what seems to be a growing divide between two very different directions for an increasingly polarized platform. On one side lies many overlapping subcultures that make up huge swaths of the YouTube populations: its tremendous gaming communities, including Let’s Play-ers, live streamers, machinima -style editors, and vloggers; its prank cultures and their overlap with stunt personalities like Jake and Logan Paul ; and its increasingly insidious alt-right presence. On the other side lie many, many YouTube users who visit the site for other reasons and other forms of entertainment, and who arguably aren’t interested in supporting the cult of personalities that might be said to represent “old-school” YouTube. Instead, they come to the site for music, memes, narrative media, instructional videos, and more general forms of content consumption and entertainment. These two ends of a vast YouTube spectrum have clashed recently over two interesting and arguably related phenomena — both of which directly involve PewDiePie. The first is an ongoing battle that PewDiePie’s supporters have been waging in order to prevent his channel from being surpassed as the most popular one on YouTube. To keep this from happening, they’ve done everything from take out a Times Square billboard to reportedly hacking into 50,000 printers around the world in order to promote their “subscribe to PewDiePie” meme. The second involves YouTube’s annual year-end “Rewind” video. The 2018 video , released on December 6 and described by YouTube as “a who’s who of internet culture,” omitted a number of popular YouTubers, most notably PewDiePie. In response, PewDiePie’s followers started a campaign encouraging people to vote down the video, with the result that within a matter of days, YouTube’s 2018 Rewind video has rapidly overtaken an eight-year-old Justin Bieber single to become the most disliked video in YouTube history, surpassing Bieber as of early Thursday morning at 9.8 million dislikes and counting. By Thursday afternoon, the dislikes had topped 10 million. A representative screencap from YouTube’s 2018 Rewind. YouTube All eye-rolling at YouTube’s attempts to encourage community aside: When viewed in the context of PewDiePie’s extremely high level of influence over followers who are in turn deeply committed to waging meme war in his name, his alt-right ties become even more concerning. In essence, YouTube’s most influential personality is using his platform in ways that carry the potential to push millions of his already devoted followers toward online extremism. They’re already deploying the same tools of memeified, joking harassment and brigading that the alt-right is known to deploy — tactics rooted in the kinds of online trollishness that can seem purely jovial and harmless right up until it becomes something more. The frustrating nature of PewDiePie’s alignment with alt-right culture is that by repeatedly dismissing criticism as oversensitivity and insisting he’s just being satirical, he maintains the plausible deniability that the alt-right counts on to aid in distilling its messaging throughout mainstream culture. Members of alt-right movements, including the owner of the E;R channel, are fully aware of this. On his Gab account, when another user asked him , “What is the best way to red pill people on the (((Jewish Question))),” the owner of the E;R channel responded, “Pretend to joke about it until the punchline /really/ lands.” But as the latest controversy around PewDiePie illustrates, his jokes have failed to land with many, many YouTube users, and there’s growing frustration with YouTube for not doing more to combat the growth of extremism in its midst. Though its most recent move of simply erasing PewDiePew from its rosily optimistic look back at 2018 might temporarily help to create a positive public image, when considering the evolution of PewDiePie’s influence alongside his steady drift toward the far right, it’s increasingly difficult to look back and laugh.

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27 Gifts Any Nurse Would Love To Be Given

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1. A V-neck and zipper scrub top from Jaanuu, a luxury scrub line, that’ll have them looking chic, professional, and perfect for any situation that comes their way. Jaanuu These scrubs are luxurious, practical, and designed for a more personalized, performance-based style. Check out the lines for men and women and find the best look for you (or the person you’re giving them to)!
Get them from Jaanuu for $49 (V-neck, available in five colors and sizes XS–XL) and $44 (available in three colors and sizes XS–XL).
2. A funny coffee cup , because the night shift can be a hard pill to swallow… until they get this particular prescription filled (to the brim). Amazon
Get it from Amazon for $11.99 .
3. A pair of machine washable Allbirds sneakers made with moisture-wicking wool, padded insoles, and a lightweight sole, that’ll be a treat for their feet when they’re standing 24/7 during a 12-hour shift. instagram.com Find out why BuzzFeed Reviews thinks these are some of the best sneakers for your feet and your budget.
Get them from Allbirds for $95 (available in 12 colors and sizes 5–10).
4. A storage clipboard , because they spend the day going from room to room and they’re gonna need a portable “desk” for snacks… or files, charts, pens, phones, etc. (but mostly snacks). Amazon Get it from Amazon for $11.99 (available in three colors).
5. A snarky coloring book for any nurse who knows their job is sometimes a little ~sketchy~. Amazon Don’t even ask what a “code brown” is. You could probably guess, but you don’t wanna know.
Get it from Amazon for $8.09 or if coloring isn’t their thing, grab a nursing journal from Barnes & Noble for $8.99 .
6. An instrument organizer that’s gonna keep everything they need in one organized (and pocket-sized) place. Amazon
Get it from Amazon for $8.35 (available in six velcro colors).
7. A portable shitasu massager , because saving peoples’ lives is a massive weight on their shoulders and they deserve some stress relief whenever (and wherever) they can get it. Amazon Get it from Amazon for $49.97 .
8. A credit card-sized cellphone charger they’ll be able to keep in their wallet and get out when their battery is dying during a long shift. Forever 21 Get it from Forever 21 for $89 .
9. A deep-kneading foot massager that’s gonna be the simplest and most luxurious way to get some self care after they spend the day caring for everyone else. Amazon This beauty has deep kneading, vibrating, rolling, and heat functions, and is set with five different pressure settings that’ll perfectly hit your pressure points.
Get it from Amazon for $149.99 .
10. A wine tote for nurses who deserve a good drink and have a particular taste in puns. Amazon Get it from Amazon for $14.49 .
11. A book that holds nothing back when it comes to the everyday life of every nurse — this is gonna bring back some fond (and frightening) memories every nurse has made it through, while making them laugh out loud at the same time. Amazon Promising review: “As a newbie nurse I’ve continually struggled with anxiety and fear of messing up while on the job. I ferociously lap up any advice, nursing stories, and tips from any nursing source. This book was a God-send and spoke directly to my experience as a nurse, which can honestly be only done by a nurse who has been there! Sonja’s humor and honesty both made me laugh, smile knowingly, and even cry tears of relief as she adequately described how I feel everyday on and off the job. I definitely recommend this book to both newbie and experienced nurses and look forward to any new material that Sonja dishes out in the future!” — Sarah M
Get it from Amazon for $14.99 .
12. A hydrating sheet mask so they can quickly take care of their beauty routine and get their beauty sleep on after a long shift. Free People Get it from Free People for $5 (available in nine styles).
13. A box sign sure to be the perfect piece of decor to (discreetly) keep behind their desk or to keep at home when they need a laugh after helping a particularly picky patient. Amazon Get it from Amazon for $7.77 (available in three styles).
14. A massager made to exfoliate the scalp — this’ll come in handy when they need to wash off from a messy day and want to scrub the memory of it out of their mind. Amazon And be sure to check out my review for this soothing scalp massager !
Get it from Amazon for $15.99 (available in five colors).
15. A gorgeous water bottle , because staying hydrated is one of the hardest parts of the job, but it’s ~crystal~ clear that with a bottle this lovely they’re sure to remember to take a sip more often… even if just to look at this up close again. Free People Get it from Free People for $80 (available in four colors) or get a hydration-tracking one from Amazon for $24.99 (available in eight colors).
16. A wine glass to let the nurse you love enjoy a proper reward after all the ~patience~ they had during the day. Amazon Get it from Amazon for $19.95 .
17. A pair of compression socks that’ll improve their blood circulation, support their Achilles heel, and help their feet finally feel as rested as their body does after a full night’s sleep. Amazon Read our review to find out why people swear by these socks .
Get them from Amazon for $8.95+ (available in 18 styles and sizes S–XL).
18. Or a shot glass for when particularly hard days call for some harder liquor. Amazon Get it from Amazon for $11.96 .
19. A heartbeat necklace that’ll be the sweetest gift to give a nurse who has truly found the career, and purpose, that makes their heart happy. Amazon Get it from Amazon for $21.93 .
20. Or a stethoscope necklace that’s gonna (heart)beat any other gift you could find for them. Amazon Get it from Amazon for $11.89 .
21. A T-shirt with some lifelong necessities written on the front, for nurses who wear their heart on their sleeves and their grocery list on their pajamas. Amazon Get it from Amazon for $19.97 (available in two styles, five colors, and sizes S–3XL).
22. A wearable dry erase board that’ll make recording blood pressure, patient notes, and quick reminders incredibly easy and efficient. Amazon Get it from Amazon for $13.99 .
23. A pack of syringe pens that’ll be a funny way to convince the nurse in your life to take a ~shot~ at writing down some of their favorite memories from work. Amazon Get a 12-pack from Amazon for $8.15 .
24. Or a pack of bone ballpoints for orthopedic nurses who you know are gonna ~crack~ up every time they use them. Amazon Get them from Amazon for $5.89 .
25. A pair of novelty socks to remind the new nurse you know to keep on their toes, stay focus, and also have some fun. Amazon Get them from Amazon for $8 .
26. A box of exfoliating sugar cubes for nurses who don’t indulge in sugary sweets but still deserve a very sweet treat. Free People Each box comes with an apricot, peach, coconut, blue raspberry, lemon, and tangerine cube.
Get a box of six from Free People for $12 .
27. And a paper bag to fill with all the gifts you find for the selfless and loving nurse in your life. Amazon Get it from Amazon for $11.39 .
When you realize just how much they love their gift. Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF NBC Still shopping for someone specific? Check out the posts below:
51 Of The Best Gifts For All The Guys In Your Life
39 Super Cozy Gifts That Are Guaranteed To Make Everyone Happy
The Best Gifts Under $100 To Give In 2018
49 Outdoorsy Gifts For Anyone Who Loves The Woods More Than You
19 Gifts That Are Practical…But Also Super Petty
Looking for the perfect gift for any occasion? Check out all of BuzzFeed’s gift guides ! Allison Krausman / BuzzFeed Reviews in this post have been edited for length and clarity.
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As a school counselor and a mom, I know what kids need most

As a school counselor and a mom, I know what kids need most Published by Julia Cook on December 4, 2018 275 Vote up!
As a mom, I often think about the many things I need to be teaching my children. Manners, kindness, empathy. Phonics, algebra, sentence structure. Oh, and of course, the practical matters of humor and hygiene. Hope hasn’t always been one of the things on my radar, but our children need it now more than ever.
Hope is the feeling that what one desires will happen; an overall perception that one’s goals will be met. Hope, like oxygen, is essential to life. We simply cannot live without it. When we have it, it can carry us. When we don’t… we suffocate.
As a school counselor, it wasn’t hard to see which kids were full of hope and which kids were grasping for it. Our children are experiencing a mental health crisis like nothing we’ve seen before. An estimated 17 million children are currently facing a mental health disorder (Child Mind Institute), and depression among children is sadly common, frequently unrecognized, and occurring at younger and younger ages (American Academy of Family Physicians.)
In today’s world, hope isn’t just one of the things we need to impart to our kids, it very well may be THE thing.
Life’s most important and desired behaviors: showing up, maximizing productivity, enjoying good health, and living longer are all dependent upon hope. Having hope can boost happiness, increase academic performance, and expand an individual’s professional successes.
Hope is a choice — it can be learned and shared, and best of all — it’s free and available to everyone. It doesn’t discriminate. If hope could speak, it would say, “the future will be better, and I have the power to make it so!” With hope, we understand that there are many paths to one goal, yet none of them are free of obstacles. Hope is the mindset that will equip our kids to overcome those obstacles.
Here are a few simple tips for helping your kids fill up their hope reservoirs: Link your child’s current thinking, efforts, and learning to their future lives by creating and sustaining excitement about the future. Talk about where they are now, where they want to be, and why. Teach your children that there are multiple pathways to a meaningful goal, and their path can look different than everyone else’s. My mom always used to tell me, “There’s more than one way to milk a duck!” Help your children develop a growth mindset (instead of “I can’t do it!,” it’s “I can’t do it YET!”) so they can knock down existing obstacles and blaze new pathways. Reestablish goals when circumstances demand it, and remind them that they are not in competition with anyone else. Their ultimate goal is to best the best version of themselves today. Offer opportunities for your kids to become hope builders for others (“she looks sad, let’s go talk to her!”, “Jake had a hard week, what can we do to help him feel better?” etc.) Help your kids understand how sharing hope can make them feel more hopeful, too. Set healthy limits on screen time! Building hope in an online world requires a lot less effort than doing it in the real world. Kids who play a lot of video games often get let down by real life because it becomes much more difficult for them to experience success. Excessive screen time also competes with sleep. When a child lacks appropriate amounts of sleep, it can lead to irritability, increased anxiety, and depression.
And in your quest to offer this precious lifeline to your kids, remember one thing: hope is reciprocal. Hopeful parents have hopeful kids. Hopeful teachers develop hopeful students. Hopeful employers build hopeful employees.
Never miss a parenting story — sign up for the TODAY Parents newsletter today!
If you or your child is having a hard day, tomorrow WILL be better, and YOU have the power to choose to be hopeful, even when circumstances are hard. And this choosing to be hopeful builds another critical skill in our children: resilience.
That’s the great thing about hope — there is no downside. It can only make the world seem better. It can only make the gray clouds brighter. It can only make the impossible seem possible.
Julia Cook, M.S. is an award-winning children’s book author, counselor, and parenting expert. Her new book, A Flicker of Hope , is available now.
Related video: This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us ! Because we’re all in this together. Julia Cook

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