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PewDiePie racial slur sparks backlash from Campo Santo, Simogo

[UPDATE] Prominent YouTube streamers brace for fallout from "liability" PewDiePie's actions

Campo Santo co-founder Sean Vanaman has called on developers to file DMCA takedowns for PewDiePie's content, after the popular streamer used racist language in one of his videos.

PewDiePie, real name Felix Kjellberg, used the racial slur while streaming a session on PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds last night. As shown in this video, he quickly offered, "I didn't mean that in a bad way."

For Campo Santo's Sean Vanaman that clarification was far from enough. In a series of statements on Twitter, the Firewatch co-director said the studio would be filing a DMCA takedown for all of Kjellberg's Firewatch content, and would do so for all videos he makes using Campo Santo games in the future.

Vanaman described the racial slur as a "breaking point" in Campo Santo's tolerance of the divisive aspects of Kjellberg's persona.

"I am sick of this child getting more and more chances to make money off of what we make," he said. "He's worse than a closeted racist: he's a propagator of despicable garbage that does real damage to the culture around this industry."

Vanaman also acknowledged that Campo Santo was "complicit" in the situation, noting that PewDiePie's Firewatch video, which has 5.7 million views, helped the studio to make money.

In February this year, Kjellberg courted controversy with a video that used anti-semitic language. In an apparent attempt to satirise "how crazy the modern world is," he paid two men to hold up a sign bearing the slogan, "Death to all Jews."

"I picked something that seemed absurd to me - that people on Fiverr would say anything for 5 dollars," Kjellberg said. "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."

Update: Campo Santo isn't alone in wanting to cut ties to Kjellberg. Device 6 studio Simogo today went public as well, posting on Twitter, "Hi @pewdiepie. Can you delete your Year Walk Let's Plays from your @youtube channel? We don't want our work to be associated with you."

Update: Prominent YouTubers are braced for the fallout after PewDiePie's remarks, with figures like John "Total Biscuit" Bain and Jim Sterling highlighting how problematic Kjellberg has become for his peers.

Few developers have followed Campo Santo's lead in filing DMCA takedowns, but several high-profile YouTubers and streamers have voiced their concerns about the possible ramifications. As highlighted by Kotaku, The Jimquisition founder Jim Sterling said, "PewDiePie is just a liability at this point. For everyone in the business."

Daniel Hardcastle, the founder of Nerd Cubed, also voiced concern about the "fallout" to his 240,000 Twitter followers, stating that Kjellberg had, "once again put YouTube in a precarious place." John "Total Biscuit" Bain spoke directly to the implications of developers filing DMCA takedowns against Kjellberg's content, suggesting that it could bring a prevalent loophole to wider attention.

"The point is they've [Let's Play videos] never been fair use and we've had a tacit agreement to let it lie, until someone went and fucked it up," he said.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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