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PewDiePie’s $50K ADL Donation Prompts Mixed Reactions

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  • PewDiePie announced Tuesday that he was donating $50,000 to the Anti-Defamation League, a group that fights anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hate. 
  • However, some of his fans associate the group with YouTube’s initiative to remove content involving hate speech. Many also pointed out that the ADL was supportive of Disney’s choice to cut ties with PewDiePie in 2017.
  • This led fans to believe that PewDiePie was being blackmailed into making this donation.
  • PewDiePie eventually addressed these theories by saying he did this to show he was moving on from his past.

PewDiePie Donates to ADL

YouTuber PewDiePie has explained why he chose to donate to the Anti-Defamation League after his fans spread conspiracy theories suggesting he was blackmailed into doing so.

Felix Kjellberg, better known as PewDiePie, posted a video on Tuesday in celebration of reaching 100 million YouTube subscribers, which makes him the most followed solo-creator on the platform. In the video, he reminisced on his online journey, unboxed his award from YouTube, and announced a donation to the ADL.

“As an additional celebration, I’m donating $50,000 to the Anti-Defamation League, which is an organization that fights bigotry and prejudice in all its forms,” Kjellberg said.

Conspiracy Theories Spread

The ADL was founded in 1913 with the goal of fighting anti-Semitism and other forms of hate. Many of Kjellberg’s fans, however, associate the group with YouTube’s initiative to remove content involving hate speech, as the platform has cited it as one of the many organizations it was working with the fight extremism. His fans believe the content removal to be a form of censorship.

Other fans also cited that the ADL was supportive of Disney’s decision to cut ties with Kjellberg back in 2017. Because of this, many fans were surprised that Kjellberg donated to the group. 

“Wow, did the king of youtube just cave to those who wish to destroy him?” asked one user in the comments. 

Other users believed that Kjellberg was blackmailed into giving the donation. Many commented messages like “Anti-Defamation League blackmailing PewDiePie,” using emojis in place of letters because they believed comments directly mentioning the ADL were being taken down. 

Screenshots from PewDiePie’s comment section.

Users on the PewDiePie subreddit believed comments about the ADL donation were being taken down on that platform as well. Many even claimed the ADL was responsible for this. 

Users Don’t Believe Conspiracy Theories

These, however, were just fan-based conspiracy theories. Other users online did not believe them and thought the donation meant something else to Kjellberg.

Many saw it has his way of responding to recent tragedies, like the shooting in Christchurch, where the alleged attacker said “Subscribe to PewDiePie” before committing the act. YouTuber Roberto Blake said it was Kjellberg’s “way of setting the record straight.”

Others saw the donation as a way for him to “rehabilitate his image.”

Some were very critical of the fact that fans jumped so quickly to conspiracy theories, and even accused them of hypocrisy. 

Others sent messages to Kjellberg to thank him for making a donation, believing it was a sign of maturity. 

PewDiePie Responds

These varied reactions and conspiracy theories did not go unnoticed. Kjellberg’s editor, Sive Morten, tweeted a meme about the theories and asked followers to “seriously, stop lol.”

Kjellberg addressed the situation himself on Twitter Wednesday morning. He claimed that mainstream media coverage of him did not bother him in the past, but in recent months, this has changed.

“After the Christ Church travesty a few months ago, my own clash with MSM was manipulated as a tool for destruction,” he wrote. “I’m not okay with this situation any longer and I’ve felt responsibility to make changes.”

Making a donation to ADL doesn’t make sense to everyone, especially since they’ve outright spoken against me,” he added. “I wanted to show publicly that I can move past it and move on.” 

While some fans still responded with criticism and skepticism to his statement, others were pleased Kjellberg wanted to take this step.

See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Dexerto) (Reclaim the Net)

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Why NikkieTutorials Won’t Name Her Blackmailer

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  • About two weeks after coming out as transgender, NikkieTutorials posted a new video discussing the support, media attention, and criticism she’s received since. 
  • The beauty YouTuber asked fans to stop trying to identify the person who threatened to leak her story, a threat that prompted her to film her coming out video. 
  • She confirmed that with the help of police, she now knows who her blackmailer is and does not want to publically name them because she knows that with her platform, she can not only destroy their life but also their family and friend’s lives. 

“We Need to Stop the Witch Hunt” 

Beauty YouTuber NikkieTutorials posted her first video since coming out as transgender, thanking her audience for their overwhelming support while also asking them to end their “witch hunt” against the person who blackmailed her.   

When the YouTube star came out as transgender in a video post earlier this month, she said she had always wanted to share this information but admitted that she was doing so now because someone had threatened to leak her story to the press. 

After taking her power back by telling her own story, deJager received a flood of support from friends, fans, and fellow YouTubers both for coming out and for how she responded to being blackmailed. Her video, which has been viewed over 33 million times, picked up widespread media attention and she even appeared on The Ellen Show to talk more about her announcement. 

But since coming out, fans and internet sleuth have also been working hard to track down whoever tried to blackmail her, spreading their own suspicions and conspiracy theories all over social media. 

In her Tuesday video titled “Responding to My Coming Out”, deJager asked fans to stop. 

“Let’s talk about the blackmailing,” she said in the 17-minute long post. “First of all, I think we need to stop the witch hunt that I’ve been seeing going around. I’ve been seeing so many ‘Truth’ videos going around saying, ‘Oh my god, this is Nikkie’s blackmailer. We found the guy. Oh my god, we found the girl. This and this person are Nikkie’s blackmailers,” she continued.

“To be honest, I don’t think that is your story to tell. If anyone is going to have the right to tell on these blackmailers, it’s gonna be me,” she continued. “How I deal with this situation, what information I would like to share, at the end of the day, it’s my story. No other person or media outlet should be the one talking about my blackmailer when they only know half of the truth. You are destroying people’s lives that aren’t even involved in this and I ask that you stop this.”


Police Identify the Blackmailer, But Nikkie Won’t Name Them  

DeJager went on to say that thanks to the help of police, she now knows not only who her blackmailer is, but also where they live, their phone numbers, home address, and how they treated people around her to get more information about her story.

“Let me tell you, when I found out exactly who was behind this all, I was shocked because this is not a person that any of you know. It is someone that I don’t even personally know,” she explained.

DeJager said learning this information was both frightening and freeing, but it also forced her to make a difficult decision. 

“I feel like everybody who does something wrong should be punished,” she said, “but after all of the responses these last couple of weeks and literally being worldwide news, I know now that that comes with the greatest responsibility I’ve ever had in my life.”

“With this platform that we have right here, I have the power to destroy a life. I have the ability to not only destroy the life of my blackmailer but also the life of his family, his kids, his friends, his surroundings,” she continued. 

“Ever since finding out the true name of my blackmailer, that has been going on in my mind. If I out this person, am I gonna be doing the same as this person did to me? Do I want that? Do I need that? Do I want to put a human being in the same position that I was in?”

Nikkie added, “I don’t want to lower myself to his level. No, I am creating my own level… I am better than that.”

DeJager feels that in a way, her blackmailer already received their punishment since they now have to live knowing that she knows exactly who they are. “And I think they’re going to have a little bit of that fear that one day maybe their name is going to leak to the press and they’re going to feel exactly the same thing as what I was feeling,” she explained.

“But I think it is my right to determine if I want that name to come out or not.”

However, deJager made it clear that her situation is different. Because of her platform, she says she was able to take back her power, but she urged those who might not be in her same position to seek help from authorities, friends, and family if they are ever blackmailed. 

DeJager also dismissed criticisms from those who accused her of lying about being threatened and coming out as a publicity stunt. In fact, she said she chose to delay upcoming projects to make sure it didn’t seem like she had opened up about being transgender to hype up a collab. 

DeJager closed her video by saying that moving forward, she is working on adapting to this new role that she now has online and is in this world. “For the people who are understanding, and loving, and warm, and kind. Thank you from me and from my community.” 

See what others are saying: (Eonline) (Business Insider) (Pride

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Protection Order Filed By Onision Against Chris Hansen Dismissed

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  • YouTuber Onision, who has been accused of grooming and predatory behavior, filed court protection orders against journalist Chris Hanson and YouTuber Repzion, who have both been covering the allegations against him. 
  • A court appearance was held Friday for both, where the charges were voluntarily dismissed. 
  • While this was not the cause for dismissal, Hansen had actually never been formally served because Onision actually served the wrong Chris Hansen. 
  • Repzion anticipates that Onision will seek other forms of litigation like a civil suit for slander, which he is prepared to fight. 

Hansen’s Case Dismissed

An order of protection of harassment filed by YouTuber Onision against journalist Chris Hansen was voluntarily dismissed after a Friday court appearance. 

Onision, also known by James or Greg Jackson, has been long accused of grooming and predatory behavior. Allegations stretch to nearly ten years ago, with many saying he engages in inappropriate behavior with young women, along with the help of his partner Kai.

Hansen has been covering these allegations, which Jackson has consistently denied, on his YouTube channel “Have a Seat With Chris Hansen.”

In early January, Hansen went to Jackson’s house to hear his side of the story. Jackson called the police and later filed a court order. According to Mike Morse, a lawyer working with Hansen on the matter, the order alleged that Hansen was a “stalker” who had been making “hateful and harassment type videos since August 2019.”

Jackson filed the order without an attorney and represented himself. Connecticut-based Hansen sent an attorney, Naomi, to represent him in the Washington state courtroom. She initially asked for the order to be dismissed because Hanson was never formally served. The court said service was sent out, but it turned out that Jackson had served a different Chris Hansen, also located in Connecticut. 

The other Chris Hansen responded to the service. 

“I have nothing to do with this very public case and do know know the petitioner or the intended respondent,” he wrote. “I am not Chris Hansen from to Catch a Predator. Given that I’m not the intended recipient of this complaint, there shouldn’t be a case against me.”

While the mix-up over the wrong Chris Hansen being served did not result in the case’s dismissal, the case was still voluntarily dismissed. Naomi asked for the order to be dismissed with prejudice, meaning Jackson could not refile and the case would be over. The judge did not grant that, and the case was dismissed without prejudice, meaning it could be filed again.

Repzion’s Case Dismissed

A similar order was filed against Daniel Sulzbach, also known as Repzion, a YouTuber who has also been making videos about the allegations against Onision. This case appeared in the court on the same day, and the order was also voluntarily dismissed. 

Jackson had filed for dismissal before heading into court. Still, Sulzbach spent the money and time to appear in the Washington courtroom with his own lawyers.

“It was probably one of the most anticlimactic things that I [have] ever been in,” he told Morse on a phone call posted on YouTube.

Sulzbach anticipates that legal matters between him and Jackson are not over. He predicts a civil suit over slander could be on the way, even though he maintains he has only ever discussed information already made public. 

Morse also shared photos taken in the courtroom. In them, Jackson appeared to be wearing sneakers and a ski cap. Many present also noted the boxy way his jacket fit, with several speculating he could have been wearing a Kevlar vest, which is bulletproof. 

As for what happens next, on his show, Hansen said that in 2019, the police were called to Jackson’s home 19 times. The calls stem from reports of potential inappropriate behavior with girls or child neglect. Hansen also said there were local investigations and has previously said there is also an FBI investigation into Jackson. 

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Google and YouTube Could Be Banned From San Francisco’s Pride Parade

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  • Seven members of SF Pride voted to ban Google and its affiliates from future parades, arguing that the company does not do enough to protect the LGBTQ community.
  • There were debates over whether or not the vote is legally binding since only 12 of the 326 members were present.
  • The organization said its board will meet on Feb. 5 to determine what happens next. 

What Prompted the Vote? 

YouTube and its parent company, Google, may no longer be welcome at San Francisco’s annual LGBTQ pride parade after a group of event organizers voted to ban them from future festivities. 

Members of San Francisco Pride passed the resolution against Google and its affiliates on Jan. 15, saying the company is not doing enough to protect members of the LGBTQ community, particularly when it comes to hate speech and harassment on YouTube.

Though YouTube has been a long-time supporter of the LGBTQ community in terms of corporate marketing, it’s faced a ton of backlash in recent months from critics who accused the platform of not supporting the community with its policies. 

For many, this became apparent when Vox journalist Carlos Maza said he had been a victim of homophobic and racist harassment at the hands of conservative commentator Steven Crowder. Maza claimed that over the course of two years, Crowder called him names including “Mr.Gay Vox,” “lispy queer,” and “anchor baby.” 

YouTube initially responded by letting Crowder’s videos stand, saying that while his comments were hurtful, they did not violate community guidelines. Instead, the platform suspended Crowder’s ability to earn ad revenue.

That decision sparked widespread outrage both from the general public and internally. Soon after, over 140 Google employees signed a letter asking SF Pride to drop Google from its parade. Meanwhile dozens of others marched to protest against the company’s policies, despite being warned that doing so would violate Google’s code of conduct and potentially cost them their jobs. 

About six months after the Maza- Crowder controversy, the company updated its harassment policy, banning content that contains malicious insults based on race, gender expression, or sexual orientation. But organizers say that isn’t enough to protect LGBTQ users and argue that creators like Crowder still remain popular on the platform. 

Is the Vote Legal?  

The vote marks a huge change in the attitude that many have towards Google, which was once viewed as a corporate leader in its support of the LBGTQ community.

“Companies are no longer scared to be seen as pro-LGBTQ; in fact, their participation is a great opportunity for them. We believe companies should earn that opportunity by proving that they really do stand with our community,” the members seeking to ban Google said in a statement to Recode. 

However, it’s important to note that the vote represents only a small percentage of the organization given that only about 12 of the 326 members were present at the time. Seven people voted in favor of the ban, according to the interim executive director, Fred Lopez. 

Lopez told Recode that some members of the board questioned whether the vote was legally binding without the board’s approval. Others argued that members do have the authority to pass the ban since current bylaws don’t appear to restrict them from making amendments.

Lopez explained that the group was looking into the legality of the vote saying, “Our legal team is reviewing the implications of last week’s vote by seven of Pride’s 326 members. Our Board of Directors will meet February 5th to determine our next step.” 

The effort to ban Google is being led by former Google employee Laurence Berland, who claims the company fired him for workplace organizing. Google denied this claim and told Recode that Berland violated company data security policies. However, Berland has been fighting for Google to be banned since last June, when he was still working for the company and is now urging the board to approve the motion at the Feb. 5 meeting. 

Google Responds 

Meanwhile, Google has expressed disappointment in the news. “Google has been a proud supporter of San Francisco Pride for over a decade,” the company told Recode in a statement.

“We’re saddened that seven members, including a recently fired employee, decided to recommend banning Google, YouTube, and our employees from supporting this important community organization. SF Pride has over 300 members and a separate board that makes the ultimate decision on participation; we’ll continue to work with the San Francisco Pride board and its broader membership on next steps.”

The spokesperson also defended the company against claims that it doesn’t support the LGBTQ community, pointing out that Google has opposed laws that target the LGBTQ individuals and has provided employees with same-sex health benefits that include coverage of gender reassignment surgery. 

See what others are saying: (Recode) (Tubefilter) (SF Gate)

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