Society condemns joking


Photo credit: Chase Falk

Disney decided to cut ties with famous YouTube video commentator Felix Kjellberg known as Pewdiepie over alleged anti-Semitic comments made during his videos Feb. 13.

The Wall Street Journal was the first publication to pick up on this story and many news outlets soon followed. All of these news outlets reported on the subject without understanding that Kjellberg is a comedian. This YouTube sensation caters to a young audience, immersed in meme culture, that can perfectly understand that he is joking.

The publications inflated the story and made Kjellberg seem more malicious than he actually is. Although the content of what he said would be unacceptable under normal circumstances, they were still jokes and have been taken out of context.

Kjellberg has around nine million subscribers and is the number one most subscribed account on the website. The reality is that if he truly was an anti-Semite, he wouldn’t have the following he has today. He is a gamer who provides entertainment for a large audience, which means part of his job is joking around.

If making jokes about anything even slightly offensive warrants you the label as a racist, then many stand-up comedians and shows like Family Guy should be shut down. Kjellberg is just trolling like all the other comedy outlets that are loved by society.

The media attacking Kjellberg for making jokes on videos made months ago is a sign that news outlets will pick up anything to bring traffic to their websites.

This is a trend that is far too common in the mainstream media. Ridiculous claims of racism or sexism are being brought up just to entice readers.

This trend isn’t only seen amongst comedians. This is seen through many popular YouTube watchers and public figures as well.

Sargon of Akkad, Blaire White and Jontron are some of the biggest names that have been accused of being racist, sexist, transphobic etc. and all have been accused of being “alt-right” sympathizers just because they agree with some right-wing views.

Intellectuals like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins are constantly being accused of racism and bigotry due to their views on Islam and religion.

Anyone with an open mind knows that none of these claims made by these individuals are done out of bigotry or racism. Most of them are either jokes or thoroughly researched facts.

The lack of critical thinking in society today is a serious problem that is enabling this kind of news. People look at headlines and, without questioning the credibility of the article, instantly believe what is being said.

People aren’t recognizing jokes for what they are. Jokes are not meant to actually disparage anyone and people should be able to connect through comedy. Refusing to allow something as simple as a YouTube user’s jokes is just a way to silence their freedom of speech.

Roberto Fonseca can be reached at [email protected] or @rjfonseca13 on Twitter.