After a video of his was taken out of context, Youtube star, Pewdiepie (Felix Kjellberg), has been under heavy criticism from news outlets recently. Using an online marketplace called Fiverr, which allows users to perform random services for money, Kjellberg jokingly paid them to say ‘Death to all Jews’ in order to exaggerate his point.
Aiming to test humanity, Kjellberg didn’t expect them to actually say what he wrote. Although he didn’t intend to do any harm, some people believed that joking about this sensitive topic made him as bad as those who are actually anti-semitic, even labeling him as a Nazi. A couple of writers on the Wall Street Journal were quick to accuse him of being a Nazi sympathizer but didn’t provide background information on what actually occurred.
One would argue that they have jumped to conclusions by claiming Kjellberg is a Nazi. But when one does jump to a conclusion, it’s because they lack enough information to form a claim. But in the same video these writers were sourcing, Kjellberg was shown joking around. By just ripping out the part with ‘Death to all Jews,’ the video’s meaning was warped from being an attempt at humor to being hate speech.
I’m not a regular viewer of Pewdiepie, nor do I believe that the joke he made was okay. However, I still respect what he does and will defend the importance of context in these situations. It’s not hard to turn around what someone has said in order to attack them. I wouldn’t want to get hate for what I said in a satirical article, so Kjellberg shouldn’t be attacked for making a joke.
To no one’s surprise, mainstream media, at times, neglects to show all of the facts in order to grab more viewers for their articles. For example, when the release of an article depicting animal abuse on the set of “A Dog’s Purpose” was released by TMZ, the movie suffered great financial losses. When in reality, an investigation done by the American Humane Association disproved the animal abuse accusations.
Although these journalists are protected by the freedom of speech, expressing defamation isn’t protected by that right. Because the Wall Street Journal falsely claimed Kjellberg as anti-semitic and TMZ claimed the directors and handlers of “A Dog’s Purpose” were abusing animals, this could be considered libel.
The bigger picture to put together from all of this is that people shouldn’t trust everything they see on the news. There are multiple writers in mainstream media and each writer has a different view on a situation. People should form their own judgment based off multiple articles instead of one, or see the direct source—like Kjellberg’s actual video.