PewDiePie uses racial slur during stream, prompting developer action

YouTuber PewDiePie – who lost lucrative partnerships with Disney and YouTube earlier this year due to an anti-Semitic video – has used a racial slur during a new livestream. The wealthy (and regrettably influential) personality uttered the slur during a livestream of PUBG, and while it has attracted condemnation online, Campo Santo co-founder Sean Vanaman has indicated he will take further action.

"We're filing a DMCA takedown of PewDiePie's Firewatch content and any future Campo Santo games," Vanaman wrote on Twitter. "There is a bit of leeway you have to have with the internet when [you] wake up every day and make video games. There's also a breaking point."

He continued: "I am sick of this child getting more and more chances to make money off of what we make. 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 made a call out to other developers to take direct action against the likes of PewDiePie. "I'd urge other developers & will be reaching out to folks much larger than us to cut him off from the content that has made him a millionaire. Furthermore, we're complicit: I'm sure we've made money off of the 5.7M views that video has and that's something for us to think about."

At the time of writing, PewDiePie's lengthy Firewatch playthrough has been removed from YouTube, though Kotaku reports it had been viewed 5.7 million times already.

Meanwhile, a legal comment on the issue from Ryan Morrison, who we recently spoke to at PAX:

Update (September 11): Speaking to Buzzfeed,  Vanaman elaborated on the decision to send a DMCA notice, saying he "regrets" the method, but stands by the choice to keep Firewatch off PewDiePie's channel.

While Vanaman says he loves watching streamers, including some who might say things he hates or have opposing political views, Campo Santo "made a choice to have Firewatch not associated with [PewDiePie's] channel anymore, not because he's the most offensive person, but because he’s the biggest."

"I wish there was a clear way to say we don’t want our work associated with hate speech, even accidental hate speech if that's what it was," continues Vanaman. "I regret using a DMCA takedown. Censorship is not the best thing for speech and if I had a way to contact PewDiePie and take the video down, I probably would. He’s a bad fit for us, and we’re a bad fit for him."

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.