Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg recently responded to the emergence of the “New Guy” meme that has been spread across the internet at the start of the year.
PewDiePie and wife Marzia had recently been the victim of a robbery, losing a large portion of their valuables. That incident, in turn, inspired the controversial comic which created the New Guy meme and appears to have been interpreted completely opposite to the artist’s intended message — including by PewDiePie himself.
The webcomic depicted its protagonist laughing at the recent news that PewDiePie and Marzia’s house had been burgled. The protagonist’s co-worker, ‘New Guy,’ lambasts her for doing so, before she informs him that they won’t be friends as a result. Many online responded by drawing their own comics praising New Guy, transforming the character into a meme that has been circulated across social media.
“I really like [the New Guy meme’s] message,” PewDiePie began. “’cause, I don’t know anything about this person who wrote this webcomic and I really highly don’t want anyone to seek out this person or anything like that. I think it’s more — the point here is that, to react in a way that is so… I don’t want to ‘Boo hoo, me,’ or whatever, I’m looking at this outside of my own context. But the fact that people who react in this way about something unjust happening to someone. To me it’s not normal. I feel like it’s not normal behavior to react this way.”
“[It’s] not about the money, it’s about the personal space,” PewDiePie explained. “And it’s weird how no one understands that. And that’s what New Guy is saying. It’s like, you wouldn’t like it if it happened to you.”
While many used the New Guy meme to promote empathy, some failed to mimic this in their own actions, causing the comic’s creator to withdraw from social media as a result of online harassment she received.
You can watch PewDiePie’s reaction to the New Guy meme below starting at 8:29.