Fall of PewDiePie Shows Dangers of Controversial Content


Fall of PewDiePie Shows Dangers of Controversial Content

When it comes to social media, it’s best to steer clear of controversial content. Or you may run into problems like YouTube star PewDiePie, real name Felix Kjellberg.

The popular YouTuber courted controversy after posting a string of videos containing allegedly anti-Semitic jokes and Nazi references.

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The Impact of PewDiePie’s Controversial Content

Following the criticism he received, Kjellberg took down three of the nine controversial videos in question. He further explained himself in a Tumblr post, “I think it’s important to say something and I want to make one thing clear: I am in no way supporting any kind of hateful attitudes.”



“I think of the content that I create as entertainment, and not a place for any serious political commentary.”

But the damage was already done. YouTube and Disney severed their business ties with Kjellberg — one of the most famous YouTube personalities.

YouTube cancelled Kjellberg’s YouTube Red series and also removed him from its Google Preferred program.

Why You Should Avoid Posting Controversial Content Online

Like Kjellberg, many well-known brands in the past have come under fire for missteps on social media.

When Apple released its diverse set of emoji in 2015, Clorox responded with a tweet that read: “New emojis are alright but where’s the bleach?”

Many on social media found the tweet racially offensive. Seeing the backlash that followed, Clorox deleted the tweet and issued an apology.

But the controversy led to ongoing problems for the brand with its social media presence.

For small businesses, it pays to avoid controversial topics. So anything to do with complaints about customers, employees or divisive political opinions and religious rants should be off the table.

Image: PewDiePie

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Shubhomita Bose


Shubhomita Bose Shubhomita Bose is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends. She covers key studies and surveys about the small business market, along with general small business news. She draws on 8 years of experience in copywriting, marketing and communications, having worked extensively on creating content for small and medium sized enterprises.

13 Reactions

  1. This is ridiculous and I somehow got caught by the click bait title. There is no fall of pewdiepie and all this coverage you’re giving him simply increases his viewership and therefore his potential earnings. Honestly, this seems to almost be slander.

  2. He has far from fallen. This article is rubbish. He has gained over 1 Million subscribers in the past 28 days, he is estimated to be making $2.8Million a year, and that is going up even after this scandal. I know the media wants him to fail, but he wont.

    You should visit social blade once in a while before writing rubbish like this.

  3. Aira Bongco

    So he is not falling? Why include it in the title?

  4. Shubhomita Bose

    Dear all,
    First of all thank you for your comments. I generally post individual replies to the comments I receive, but given the common tone of these comments I thought posting one reply addressing all three should do.

    The fall in the heading refers to his fall from grace. Of course, some of you may argue any publicity (even bad) is good publicity. But it’s important to see this from a small business angle. The article is not so much about Pewdiepie as it’s about small businesses’ social media strategy. A lesser-known small firm cannot risk its reputation by even inadvertently posting something that could be interpreted as offensive. And that’s the point of this story. Thank you.

    • Alex Yong

      I understood you meant “fall from grace” 🙂

    • He didn’t even fall from grace though. If you, or anyone you’re spreading these lies to, cared to even investigate yourselves, you’d see everyone has his back because of the injustice that is sensationalized news. But hey, journalism is a dying business, so I guess you need all the clicks you can get, huh?

      This just shows how vastly detached all of these second-rate internet journalist are, as well as those who take their word as fact without caring to think or inform themselves.

    • I don’t think you did your research or know the financial scale of YouTube/YouTubers if you consider Pewdiepie a “small business”

      I understand that your point may have been other small businesses shouldn’t say controversial things, but that doesn’t really have anything to do with this topic since pewdie can only be considered small in terms of the number of employees (i.e. himself -> meaning more money for him). Furthermore, Pewdiepie has gained more support from this if anything, especially with the recent rise in distrust of the media.

  5. Alex Yong

    When I post controversy on my tech blog, it’s always ultra-niche-specific and contains no politics. This is the way to go – to be actually helpful to the readers of that blog.

  6. This article sums up the media as a generalisation pretty well.

    I have read what the article says and the writer talks about Felix’s (Pewdiepie’s) “fall from grace”. If that is truly what you meant then you should have actually put “PewDiePie’s Fall From Grace” as the title. Not the title you did choose, it was clearly input for clickbait. And as a writer, you need catchy titles, but this is just generally wrong.

    It is a clear attempt to bandwagon onto the current dislike for Felix and YouTuber’s in general, and though some of it may be somewhat deserved, I feel the way that people have handeled it is quite scummy.

    The clear objective of this article is to gain success and money from another persons misfortunes which is just straight up wrong when it comes to their actual career. If that was not the target, these articles would have ended a while back and had stopped having deliby clickbaity titles.

    Thanks.

  7. Pewdiepie, please stop! You’re going too far that Disney has a reason they fired you! You need Maker Studio Disney and you know it!!! Knock off the jokes and the video you killed HIM; what were you thinking?!
    Do not joke about Race, gender, relationships and disability!!! Keep it up, you’ll face the consequences

  8. “The Fall of PewDiePie”
    Give me a break. He’s gained a net 500,000 subscribers since this whole fiasco started. You want him to fall, because only then will you and the other narrative-spinning media jackals will be relevant again.

  9. pewdiepie has gained 190,000+ subs and will make more this year then last …if thats failing then count me in
    this writer doesn’t know what she/he is doing

  10. Shawn Hessinger

    Hi all,
    And thanks for the comments. I know this is a touchy subject and thank you for all your input. I can assure everyone however, that our goal is neither to revel in Mr. Kjellberg’s misfortunes nor to disrespect YouTube personalities in general. In fact, we write routinely about YouTube and other online video as important tools for building brand. An argument certainly CAN be made that even this controversy will build PewTiePie’s overall traffic. But the loss of relationships with Disney and YouTube are nothing to sneeze at. If indeed Kjellberg has a strategy for monetizing his brand without the help of these two important and powerful partners, more power to him, I suppose. Whatever our personal feelings about his judgement in posting the videos mentioned, our point is that, for many brands using social media and online video, the loss of such important revenue sources might be crippling. And so it might be best to avoid similar controversies. Time will tell whether Kjellberg’s decision to post the content in question was brilliant strategy or horrible miscalculation. At the moment, we are suggesting it may be something small brands using online media may want to avoid.

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