PewDiePie Doesn't Deserve a Pass For Using the N-Word Because He Was Angry

The Internet may have desensitized us to such language, but that's hardly an excuse, and we should demand better.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Patrick going in


We all have a chance to learn from our mistakes but it only go so far when you keep doing it and with PewDiePie’s history it too late for him.

Words are powerful and we must use them with care.


Pewdiepie doesn’t deserve a pass period. I know Patrick mentions this, but I think we have plenty of evidence that the guy just isn’t a good person. He’s perfectly content to say all kinds of horrible things in front of a massive audience.

Also, kudos to Patrick for sticking on this.


At some point in the general discussion of racism, it got tied together with the word hate as something that people do as opposed to something that people have. Such that a person who throws around racist epithets or makes racists jokes can say, “I say these things but I don’t hate people of color so I’m not a racist.”

My response to that would be that he is a racist. Because he’s managed to say these things without caring about how these things can hurt an entire group of people. Trust me when I say that even the worst racists you read about in history books didn’t actively hate the people they oppressed. They just didn’t care about the damage they did to whole groups of people.


I appreciate Patrick quoting Ryans apology because it’s seems rare that someone fucks up and makes an apology that actually articulates why what they did was wrong, understands how it could have hurt someone, and also doesn’t try to make an out for themselves. Ryan fully understood what he did was wrong and made no excuse for himself. He exhibited complete humility.

Contrast that with pewdiepies previous fuck up earlier this year and the bullshit apology video he put out.

I have caught a few of the dudes videos and think he can be funny and I admire the success he has achieved. But he clearly doesn’t understand the power he has nor does he exhibit any care to try and be a better person when he fucks up. He is terrible.


Same with JonTrons half apology where it mostly him explaining why he not backing down from his comments on race and how not everything is a white person’s fault. They act as if they know how the world works or at least how it only works in one way.

Using the fact that he was frustrated as an excuse is so utterly profoundly puzzling to me, I can’t even imagine the thought process behind it. Jesus christ, people need to get their shit together and just acknowledge the fact that Pewdiepie is an insensitive, ignorant, asshat, douchecopter. He obviously doesn’t give a shit wether his corrosive toxic word salad hurts or offends anyone, and don’t even start on that “well, he’s from Sweden so doesn’t know”. BULLSHIT. I grew up in the middle fucking nowhere in Denmark, I only met one black person from age 1-18, and even to this day don’t know more than 10 black people personally, and even I fucking know not to use that word and what connotations in carries. It’s a weak ass excuse and I find it personally insulting as a scandinavian that we shouldn’t be able to fucking know what that word means.

Pewdiepie is a product of a generation that grew up watching South Park without any understanding of the meta commentary and it warped his own understanding of what counts as humorous or profane, and he never fucking figured it out. He’s sheltered little dweeb who’s been coddled by his surroundings his whole entire life, has never had to be mindful of his surroundings, and even now he so self centered that he can’t bother to to begin because he doesn’t fucking care about anyone but himself


sorry for ranting, this shit really bothers me


Explanation is not an excuse, period. Slowbeef on Polygon explained the whole YouTube situation about previous PDP’s controversy from February of 2017. While I disagree with him almost completely, it’s still a pretty good explanation, but, you guest it, not an excuse.

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Great article, Patrick. PDP’s refusal to express legitimate remorse is a huge issue. I’m not surprised, but damn it sucks that we live in a time when a person doesn’t feel the crushing internal need to apologize for using the n-word.

Meanwhile, on Reddit:


I think you all are doing the BEST job of discussing these issues out of any podcast I listen to right now, non gaming included. I’ve gone ahead and passed this on to some of my non-gamer friends because there is huge value in what you are doing.

PLS keep this up.



My thing with the “like” thing is, like, it’s still pretty clearly tied up in valley girl etc association. So attempts to exorcise it from casual spoken language comes across as potentially being “we should not talk like the girls/young women (implied: because that is a lesser form of communication)” and that’s verging into an area I’m not comfortable with.

Yes, it’s a filler (and can be used in streaming just to fill time to think of what to say next/slow down) but it’s also not necessarily an empty word. It can and does act a modifier in common use while taking this filler position.


This, 100%. It’s even worse when coupled with his hollow apologies. I remember the documentary about Tim Minchin, Rock ‘n’ Roll Nerd, and he used the n-word in his first shows. He’s Australian and didn’t realize it was a big deal. But once he was told how big a deal it was, he gave a heart-felt apology and stopped doing it. It’s so clear that PDP doesn’t give a fuck, and people shouldn’t give him the benefit of the doubt.


I was once acquainted with a man who thought like Mark, except he was an American not Danish. There was one time he swore using the n-word in front of his wife and me. I had never heard either of them use the word, or any other slurs, before. He immediately followed his saying it with the explanation that the worst just comes out of him when he swears, even though he was not racist and understood how bad it was. As Patrick Klepek writes, that’s rationalization, not explanation. My response was to say I had lost so much respect for him.

The conversation paused until, later on, he spoke about it again. He was very angry and said he needed to let me know he didn’t appreciate that I had said what I did. I could object to his use of the word, he told me, but it was disrespectful and hurtful to ever tell anyone that you’ve personally lost respect for them. Especially in front of their wife. He was a much bigger guy than I was and I let that intimidate me. My response was, yeah, OK man, I’ll keep that in mind, and nothing more. I’m not proud of that softboy moment.

It’s worth noting that, in all of my subsequent interactions with him, he never used a slur again. Now, maybe he did with others. But not around me.

Still, his attitude is really common among us white Americans, regardless of where in the US we’re from. (The former acquaintance is a Southerner, but his attitude is everywhere.) People believe you can be anti-racist just, you know, don’t be mean-spirited about it. Don’t be insulting.

What’s even worse is if someone still uses slurs and rationalizes that as being OK, because they don’t use them around the person, or people, who object to their use.

So, sure, there are people who can be rehabilitated, as it were, if they’re open to listening or learning, but frankly? Putting niceness and gentility on a pedestal only ends up protecting racist beliefs and actions. Caring about manners and propriety above everything else only empowers white supremacists. As Beard_Check says, the absence of hate is not the absence of racism.


Wow, everything I can say to that would sound very bad in a context of this thread. So, you win :­)

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Right, and that’s not even bringing up the fact that Pewdiepie grew up with, oh I don’t know, THE PISSING INTERNET. Like, fuck, he had every fucking opportunity to know this jazz, it’s not like it isn’t/hasn’t been relevant, dammit. It’s astounding to me that people are trying to excuse this behavior by basically feigning ignorance and literally saying “oh, he’s foreign, he doesn’t know better!” As a foreigner, believe me, we know better, and even if we don’t it’s not for a lack of resources.

Like, I would be the first to admit that I know very little about transsexuality and the plight of those people, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t get a better understanding. Pewdiepie has expressed such a blatant and stubborn inability to learn and move past this shit. I’m not saying he’ll never get there, as I believe everyone is ultimately capable of improvement and redemption, but I certainly won’t be holding my breath. I never do when it comes to habitual fuckboys.


Great article Patrick, thanks for including the Ryan Davis anecdote.

As a linguist, I concur. Also, people’s perceptions are really messed up because, even though it’s considered a “valley girl” expression, it’s used by people from all sorts of backgrounds. I’ve recorded audio for interviews from a variety of people, and people with backgrounds ranging from hardcore punks to poet laureates use “like”. I didn’t even realize how much they said it until I transcribed the audio, which goes to show that people put their own preconceptions onto how people speak and listen to other people speak.


Polygon seem to have resurfaced that article, but it’s worth noting that while it is a really interesting and thoughtful read, it is from February.

It’s remarkable just how well something written in response to the last PewDiePie controversy fits right in to this one - it illustrates just how much this is the same old PewDiePie and no matter how much he says he’ll change, he’s not actually doing it.

Good point, I’m gonna add it to my link!

Yeah. They said on the podcast, that it is what, third strike against him? By any standard that’s inexcusable.

And to mods: maybe we need to merge this and podcast’s threads? They are basically about the same thing.