Pewdiepie & Fiverr Analysis: A wider conversation on role-models and responsibility.

Trigger warning: mention of anti-Semitic message.

The challenges of managing a community may not be as clear cut as we all realize. I hope this article will open those with any number of followers/fans or a community base up to really think and engage with the responsibility towards others.  The aim of this piece is simply to present a current situation and open up an engaging dialog about responsibility. It is in no way written to judge or attack any member involved. 

Internet personality and Youtube streamer Pewdiepie published a video on January 11th containing two men holding up a sign displaying ‘Death to All Jews’.

Through the video Pewdiepie purchased a number of services from freelance website ‘Fiverr’ asking it’s contributors to perform tasks such as drawing a graph that looks like the male scrotum to the more severe ‘drink bleach’ request to a lady happy to accept ‘any crazy and bizarre challenge’.

Many services declined Pewdiepie’s controversial requests but small content producer; ‘Funny Guys’ known for filming messages in the jungle, (with a usual clientele of birthdays, weddings and bachelor parties), accepted the request to carry the ‘Death to All Jews’ sign.

Unbeknown to them, their video was about to feature across to millions of audience members on Pewdiepie’s channel, and unbeknown to a now deeply shocked Pewdiepie the climatic ‘unrolling’ of the sign actually contained the words ‘Pewds’ had requested.

Following this Funny Guys account has now been banned across Fiverr, while Pewdiepie’s account remains active – yet the video has been de-monetised.
Funny Guys issued a statement of apology claiming that they did not know the meaning of the words written on the sign;

While Pewdiepie issued an apology directly following the video and even admitted a level of responsibility for what had just happened.

Guns are being fired from all sides as to who the blame actually sits with. Is it solely Funny Guys fault for displaying the sign even though they may have not had prior knowledge to its meaning?

Pewdiepie’s fault for filing the request and then actively featuring the video across his channel leading to the controversy? What would have happened if the ‘drink bleach’ request had gone ahead?

Realistically we are speaking of where the wider level of responsibility lies. But in a world where many individuals are developing their own audience following, such as within the cosplay profession, how can we make sure we are on the correct side of the equation to our own roles of responsibility?

As soon as you begin to develop a cosplay (or indeed any) following, the content you are posting begins to develop and extend outward as the viewer engages with the piece and then with other viewers.

what can be taken from this is the meaning behind content can be constructed from its viewer base, with some viewing the ‘Pewds’ video as a hilarious joke and others being deeply offended by the situation, this then created a pot which began to trigger a series of events through very specific circumstances to the suspension of the much smaller Funny Guys business.

A direct comparison can be drawn to cosplay personality. Could a cosplayer who is viewed and respected by the cosplay community also be viewed as generating an opinion that cosplay may be tied to the use of female ‘assets’ for the advancement of a cosplayers personal status in certain circumstantial situations?

What level of responsibility do you feel you have towards your community and to what level are we personally responsible for our content if it may offend others or generate the wrong view of someone else’s brand/product/community?

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Big V says:

    This article asks a question that you thought didn’t need asking, but you realise the importance and urgency once asked.

    This is only my opinion.

    When anyone posts content anywhere into the public forum, at that point, they have full responsibility for that content.
    Indirectly, they must also share the responsibility for any replies, reviews or directly associated content. This can be removed if the original content poster feels it inappropriate for ANY reason.

    Relating to the Cosplay world, in which I have relatively limited experience, it seems to me that women’s ‘assets’ are a large part of the attraction (no pun intended), for all genders, as long as the overall costume has integrity.

    For the most part Cosplay is based on imagery and characterisation from the entertainment industries where we all know, ‘sex sells’.

    In summary, we must all take personal responsibility and must be held liable for all content we post whether openly or anonymously.

    Really looking forward to other views xx Great article.

    • Costume and Play says:

      Thanks Big V! It’s great to hear your personal opinion and thoughts in regards to the article and thank you for reading! I agree with a lot of the points you have made here 🙂