The YouTuber has since claimed he was unaware the TikToker was deaf and said the incident was “an honest mistake.”
PewDiePie Under Fire
YouTuber PewDiePie is facing backlash after posting a video where he appears to make fun of a deaf TikToker’s voice and use of sign language.
PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, posted a video on Tuesday titled “My Dog Cringes at TikToks.” During it, he sat with his dog on his lap while reacting to TikToks he described as “cringey.”
One of those clips came from Scarlet May, a deaf creator who often posts videos where she speaks and signs at the same time. In this video, she wore long nails while telling a story about ordering at a drive-thru.
Kjellberg quickly stopped her video and said, “No, I’m not listening to this.”
“She has your crazy nails, Maya!,” he said to his dog before picking her up and speaking in a high voice to suggest the dog was talking.
“Sorry, are my nails distracting you guys?” he said in the voice while moving the dog’s arms around, a move many interpreted as him mocking May for signing.
The YouTuber, who has 111 million subscribers, quickly faced backlash on Twitter for the joke.
“Pewdiepie mocked a young deaf woman’s voice and long nails while using his dog’s paws to mock her using sign language,” one person said. “We have to stop giving insipid jackasses large platforms to bully people.”
“As a partial deaf person who’s hearing is completely gone in my left ear… Pewdiepie’s actions were fucking disgusting,” another person added. “I found it so offensive. Mocking a deaf person like that. I feel so bad for her.”
Others thought that Kjellberg’s comments also had racist implications.
“Pewdiepie isnt ableist, he just wanted to mock a Black woman for millions of viewers for having long fingernails and speaking in her natural dialect! Its ONLY racism,” culture writer Steven Underwood said.
Another Twitter user said that Kjellberg has shown “time and time again how ignorant and racist he is,” and said his following consists of “incels and right wingers.”
Kjellberg is no stranger to controversy, as he has previously been criticized for his prior use of racial slurs. Many have also accused his fanbase of being anti-Semitic and condemned him for bolstering those ideologies, or at least turning a blind eye to them.
Still, many thought those upset with Kjellberg’s video misinterpreted his comments. Some argued that he was simply remarking on May’s long nails and that his quips had nothing to do with her being deaf.
As of Thursday afternoon, Kjellberg’s video had been viewed over 1.8 million times, but the section where he mocks May has since been edited out. She was also removed from the video’s thumbnail on YouTube.
PewDiePie and Scarlet May Respond
In response, May posted a TikTok saying she felt Kjellberg’s comments were “very weird and very unnecessary.”
“But at the same time, I wasn’t surprised, I’m used to it,” she continued. “It’s been a big issue in the deaf community. I’ve been trying to normalize and put it out that using nails while signing is normal, it’s okay.“
“But then a big creator comes on here and puts us like, a million steps back,” she added. “So it’s very frustrating.”
May went on to suggest that Kjellberg may have been unaware she was using sign language or perhaps just did not like her nails.
“A lot of people don’t like them, that’s fine, they’re not for you,” she said.
“We all make mistakes hopefully he learns from this,” she added in her caption.
Kjellberg pinned a comment to his video confirming that he removed the section about May. He claimed he was unaware that she was signing.
“Had no clue she was deaf, but kinda dumb of me to not realize,” the YouTuber wrote. “Still watching through the clip I only poked fun of her long nails. The voice I did for my dog is the same voice I’ve given her for years.”
“Making my dog’s paws move was poking at people always dancing or doing some move on TikTok, which is an ongoing theme in the whole video,” he continued. “Anyway honest mistake, my bad.”
See what others are saying: (Dexerto) (NBC News) (Independent)
Shane Dawson Says Cancellation Felt Planned By The Universe
The YouTuber said that by being forced to take a digital break, he had a chance to step back and “see what the bigger purpose is.”
Dawson Speaks Out
Two years after facing intense backlash online, YouTuber Shane Dawson said he found a positive side to being “canceled.”
In the summer of 2020, Dawson faced intense scrutiny after people resurfaced his old controversial videos where he wore blackface, made racist jokes, and said inappropriate remarks about children. He lost a slew of subscribers as a result and stepped away from YouTube for over a year following the scandal.
Dawson has since returned to posting, sharing long-form content every few months on his channel to millions of viewers, though his audience is not nearly as large as it was before the backlash. He also started a podcast earlier this year.
While speaking on Perez Hilton’s podcast this week, Dawson said his cancellation actually came at a time when he needed to rethink his life online.
“I really think the universe and God, or whatever, really planned it this way because I was at a point before I got canceled where I didn’t wanna be around anymore,” Dawson said. “I was so burnt out.”
“Wait, you were so burnt out that you were depressed and suicidal?” Hilton followed up. “Just from overworking?”
“Well it wasn’t just from overworking,” Dawson added. “It was, well, I’m a workaholic.”
Cancelation “Felt Very Designed”
Dawson went on to explain that being a workaholic opened the doors for other issues, like fearing he will lose his success, getting stressed about his online reputation, worrying about spending enough time with family, and negative thoughts about his body image. As all this started to take a toll on him, he started therapy. Not long after, he started dealing with his 2020 controversies.
“Oddly enough, two months after I started therapy, maybe even sooner, I got canceled,” Dawson said. “And it was like, ‘oh.’ That felt very designed to me, by something.”
“Because I was like, okay, she’s learning about everything, all my issues, all this, all that, and my biggest fear is being canceled again and it happened,” he continued. “So now I can see what the bigger purpose is.”
Now he says he is grateful to be at a point where he is not constantly worried about making content and pleasing people. Dawson said that earlier in his career, his need to be liked was so severe that he would message people who said negative things about him online in an effort to change their minds.
“It’s always that thing where like, I want people that hate me to like me. Which is toxic,” Dawson explained. “Like a hater would say something, and I’ll DM them, this is something I’d do years ago, I’d DM them and talk to them and then, ‘oh, they like me now!’ It was dark.”
Monica Lewinsky Asks Beyoncé to Change “Partition” Lyric Amid “Renaissance” Edits
The 2013 song includes the phrase “he Monica Lewinsky’d all on my gown.”
Monica Lewinsky’s Request
Monica Lewinsky suggested that Beyoncé remove a lyric from her 2013 song “Partition” that references the infamous scandal involving the former White House intern and then-President Bill Clinton.
The request came as Beyoncé’s representatives confirmed she would be removing an ableist lyric from a track off her latest album “Renaissance.” The song “Heated” used the word “spaz,” which many disability advocates have condemned as an offensive slur.
Earlier this year, Lizzo removed the same word from her song “Grrrls” after facing backlash. On Monday, a spokesperson for Beyoncé said that while the word was “not used intentionally in a harmful way,” it “will be replaced.”
Lewinsky shared that news Monday on Twitter and added, “uhmm, while we’re at it… #Partition.”
In “Partition,” the Grammy winner sings the phrase “he Monica Lewinsky’d all on my gown.”
Response From the Beyhive
The Beyhive was quick to call Lewinsky out for her plea, arguing that the song has been out for nearly a decade and she could have brought her complaint up sooner. Some said she was in no place to be upset with the lyric as she has the phrase “rap song muse” in her Twitter bio.
Lewinsky issued replies to many of these complaints on Tuesday, saying this is not the first time she publicly addressed “Partition,” and the numerous other songs referencing her. Regarding her Twitter bio, she said she uses humor to cope with the public scandal.
When people continued to accuse her of singling out Beyoncé when there are dozens of artists who have written similar lyrics, Lewinsky said, “when articles about the 125+ other artists changing lyrics to a song cross my TL, i promise i’ll do the same.”
Lewinsky’s request prompted frustration from people who felt that by changing the ableist lyric in “Heated,” Beyoncé inadvertently opened a door for people to pressure her into tweaking other songs.
“Heated” is not the only track off of “Renaissance” that has had to return to the cutting room since the album’s release. Beyoncé also removed an interpolation of the Kelis song “Milkshake” after Kelis spoke out against its use and called it “theft.”
Neither Beyoncé nor her team has publicly responded to Lewinksy. In a tweet, Lewinsky said she had not privately reached out to the singer to sort the issue behind closed doors.
See what others are saying: (People) (Entertainment Weekly) (USA Today)
Chris Rock Addresses Oscars Slap After Will Smith’s Apology Video
In his latest statement, Smith said his “behavior was unacceptable.”
Chris Rock Talks Oscars
Just hours after Will Smith posted an apology video regarding the infamous Oscars slap, Chris Rock addressed the incident during a show in Atlanta.
“Everybody is trying to be a fucking victim. If everybody claims to be a victim, then nobody will hear the real victims,” Rock said during a Friday show, via People. “Even me getting smacked by Suge Smith … I went to work the next day, I got kids.” (Rock’s “Suge Smith” joke was likely a reference to Suge Knight, the CEO of Death Row Records who is currently in jail over a deadly hit and run.)
“Anyone who says words hurt has never been punched in the face,” the comedian reportedly continued.
Rock has been sprinkling remarks about the slap into some of his recent sets over the last couple of weeks.
The controversy unfolded during the 94th Academy Awards when Rock was presenting the statue for Best Documentary. He made a quip about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
Smith then walked onto the stage and slapped Rock. Upon returning to his seat, he shouted, “leave my wife’s name out your fucking mouth.” Less than one hour later, he won the Best Actor Oscar for his work in “King Richard.”
Within the following days, Smith issued an apology and resigned from the Academy. The organization also banned the actor from attending any of its events for the next decade.
Will Smith Posts Apology
Smith has held a low profile since the Oscars, but made a return to the public eye on Friday by posting a YouTube video titled “It’s been a minute…” Smith claimed he has reached out to Rock, but the stand-up star said he is not ready to talk it out just yet.
“I apologize to you,” Smith said in the video. “My behavior was unacceptable, and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”
“There is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment,” the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” actor continued. “There is no part of me that thinks that is the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults.”
Smith also apologized to Rock’s family, as well as his own, for dragging them into controversy and hurting them with his actions.
Smith also clarified that Pinkett Smith had no influence over his decision to slap Rock on stage.
“I made a choice on my own,” he said. “Jada had nothing to do with it.”