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Admin Warns School about Youtuber

Henry Carson, Staff Writer

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On Thursday, March 21, at 10:31 a.m., Dr. Rosen sent an email to the facility concerning the recent issues brought to light about Youtuber Felix Kjellberg, otherwise known as PewDiePie.

“We experienced some disruptions to the learning process as students were attempting to promote him during class time; some teachers brought their concerns to my attention,” said Dr. Rosen, “Concomitantly, I was reminded about him when the New Zealand Mosque mass murderer yelled ‘Subscribe to Pewdiepie’ during his attack; I recalled that both Disney and Google fired him, YouTube’s biggest star, over anti-Semitic videos.”

PewDiePie has been made famous on the platform for his sarcastic attitude and his sometimes innapropriate jokes. In the past few days, he and has channel have been inspected by many due to his connection to the New Zealand shooting and other white supremacist ideologies. The shooter said “Remember, lads, subscribe to PewDiePie,” and a “New York Times” article uncovered that there were at least nine videos of his that “featured anti-semitic gestures and imagery,” such as him saluting to a video of Hitler marching and paying actors to hold up signs that say “Death to all Jews.”

“The danger is that he is normalizing prejudiced attitudes to tens of millions of pre-teens, teens and young adults,” said Dr. Rosen. “While he purports that his comments and antics are ‘all in good fun,’ his message would have his audience accept stereotypes through belittling jokes and scapegoating groups based on race and religious orientation.”

This isn’t the first time the population of the school unintentionally promoted a meme tied to white supremacy, and the alt-right. A few years back the same thing happened with Pepe the Frog, in which a meme discussed by middle schoolers also happened to be a symbol for the alt-right. Though the creator of Pepe, Matt Furie, had no intention for his comic creation to be turned into a symbol for white supremacists, it did. The same goes for Mr. Kjellberg. Whether he is or is not a white supremacist, the alt-right have labeled him as one, and he, just like Matt Furie, can not undo the white supremacist’s have labeled as their signs.

“The New Zealand shooter said subscribe to PewDiePie and that hurt his community. He can’t control what he [the shooter] said,” said, Collin Chaple, an eighth grader, “He did not upload that day, and donated a lot of money and guided others to do the same. Personally I think he did well to address the situation and I don’t believe people should think of him as a white supremacist.”

“The danger is that he is normalizing prejudiced attitudes to tens of millions of pre-teens, teens and young adults.’””

— Dr. Adam Rosen

Due to these concerns of unknown promotion of white supremacist ideologies, Dr. Rosen sent a message to BMS faculty: “Thank you for your vigilance in helping to guide and educate our impressionable students away from these destructive, and evil voices that plague our world.”

The warning has the school thinking about where the line exists between exploring ideas or supporting dangerous speech.

“I believe that students (adults alike) should always be encouraged to honestly explore and reflect upon their beliefs. There’s a time and a place, however, during school is not always the time or the place,” said Mr. David Deitch “I personally am not real impressed with Pewdiepie, but recognize that others may be. It remains a curiosity to me that he’s been the subject of concern, in particular, when so many others could qualify in this day and age.”

But, even though the administration has put a warning on anything regarding him, people still find PewDiePie and his content funny, interesting, and not promoting the alt-right. Still the school district is worried about how these online influencers will influence their target audiences, and more specifically, PewDiePie’s hold over his subscribers.

“People, students, are a reflection, in my view, of the values they are raised with,” said Mr. Deitch, “Sometimes ‘awareness’ of hatred or racism is not present and we all do our best to humanely provide perspective, so students may learn and develop their own sense of accepting others who might be different from them.”

Dr. Rosen insists:
“This is not about catching students and ‘creating trouble,” says Dr. Rosen, “This is about learning about sources, caring for others and developing empathy.”

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Admin Warns School about Youtuber