The media hit on PewDiePie earlier this week was at a level the entertainment industry has never seen before. More than two dozen high visibility outlets would use their medium as a platform to cast YouTube's most popular star as anti-semitic and supportive of hate speech.
But as PewDiePie would describe in an 11-minute response video, his intentions weren't nefarious like the headlines would suggest. As he would explain, the controversy erupted from a genuine try at video humor that even he admits may have gone too far. Nobody was physically hurt by the video in question, but inflammatory language did appear to offend a few people and kick a figurative hornet's nest.
The initial fallout from the controversy painted a picture of PewDiePie being exiled from the Internet, with stories arguing that he's losing subscribers at an alarming pace and is now unmarketable due to his association with "racism". While there have been some repercussions, they aren't nearly as drastic as described by the media.
On top of being kicked from YouTube network Maker Studios, PewDiePie lost a deal with Disney following the reports, a result that has cost himself and dozens of people associated with the work a huge opportunity. Though this consequence could be argued as appropriate, the hate speech that has been levied against him in an attempt to discredit and damage his image has raised a few eyebrows, and ultimately caused a tremendous number of people to rally behind him.
A large and growing number of multimillion subscriber YouTubers have come out publicly in support of PewDiePie. This list includes Marques Brownlee, JonTron, James DeFranco, Sky Williams, Sargon, and others. In addition to this, there has been overwhelming support from viewers. PewDiePie's response video currently has over 8 million views, with over 1.4 million likes and fewer than 18,000 dislikes as of the writing of this article.
In fact, while it's true that he lost several hundred thousand subscribers due to the controversy, he actually now has more subscribers than at any time in history.
Just about everywhere you go there is an overwhelming amount of support for PewDiePie. Outside of the sensational headlines and the occasional comment on social media or YouTube, you'll be hard-pressed to find any reasonable amount of reinforcement for the media hit
This has put some media outlets in a tough position where they committed to attacking PewDiePie for his actions, while a significant majority of their readers view him as a victim.
This end result might not be what some were hoping for, but it is a glimmer of hope for free speech. During the past couple years free speech has been under serious attack as organized groups have actively invaded anything they don't agree with using unrelenting aggression, usually labeling the attacked as fascist Nazis.
Although this style of using hate speech to attack what some perceive as hate speech appears to be a trend, people seem to be expressing in growing numbers that they're tired of it. Are you?