When Overwatch League caster Brennon ‘Bren’ Hook posted a seemingly innocent Tweet suggesting that his followers subscribe to PewDiePie, he likely didn’t expect the backlash he received from some users.
Swedish YouTuber Felix ‘PewDiePie’ Kjellberg is currently the most subscribed creator on the platform, but is locked in a battle with Indian production company T-Series, chasing him for the top spot.
Ongoing for months now, PewDiePie has maintained a slender lead, thanks largely to the help of other YouTubers, influencers and the internet at large.
As such, the phrase ‘subscribe to PewDiePie’ has become somewhat viral, with users posting it on YouTube comments, Twitch chats and of course, Twitter.
Bren decided to get in on the meme on January 25, simply posting ‘subscribe to PewDiePie please’ – but some of his followers were less than pleased with his endorsement.
Some even went as far as to suggest that Bren was “down with people who use racial slurs”.
I’ve been subscribed to pewdiepie since 2011. After his racism and acting like a dick, I unsubscribed. I’m so over hearing about this asshole.
— :pensive: (@shave_on) January 26, 2019
Another user suggested that Blizzard, who operate the Overwatch League, would request that Bren delete the post.
I give this a few days before blizzard tells you to delete this LOL
— andrew / ADS (@ads_is_bads) January 26, 2019
The backlash stems from a previous controversy in late 2017, when PewDiePie called an opponent in a game “a fucking n****r”, later apologizing by explaining it was in the “heat of the moment” and the worst word he could think of “slipped out.”
This is one of numerous issues which have caused PewDiePie to be such a polarizing figure, but Bren didn’t expect that his lighthearted post would be taken so seriously.
Imagine thinking this tweet is serious. https://t.co/pzbilTdjQF
— Brennon Hook (@BrenCasts) January 26, 2019
Esports journalist Richard Lewis was also bemused at the stance some fans took, although didn’t sound surprised that some had taken it so seriously as to think it represented Bren’s “personal politics”.
Imagine looking at this innocuous tweet and thinking it was some sort of commentary about your personal politics. This is the state of the internet.
— Richard Lewis (@RLewisReports) January 27, 2019
PewDiePie is indeed a ‘love him or hate him’ personality, but given the ongoing craze about keeping his sub count higher than T-Series, Bren’s Tweet was clearly posted in jest.
Many fans are supporting PewDiePie as a means of standing up against the perceived favorable treatment afforded to large corporations on YouTube, and the less than favorable treatment of the everyday creator, which PewDiePie is the poster boy for.
You can keep up with the battle for number one on YouTube between PewDiePie and T-Series here, with live subscriber counts.