Felix Kjellberg, the most popular YouTuber in the world who goes by the name PewDiePie, has posted a video in which he apologized for saying the n-word during his last livestream.
"It was something I said in the heat of the moment, I said the worst word I could possibly think of, and it just sort of slipped out," Kjellberg said. "I'm not going to make any excuses for it because there are no excuses for it."
Kjellberg seems sincere, but it's a frustrating response. I've played video games my entire life and I've definitely done and seen people do dumb things "in the heat of the moment." I once saw a friend beat another friend with an Nintendo 64 controller because he kept using the same cheap move with Pikachu in Super Smash Bros! But I've never seen a friend hurl a racist slur at another player just because they were angry.
I have, of course, heard every possible racist slur from anonymous players while playing online. Hearing people yell the n-word over voice chat is easily one of the worst things about video games and internet culture in general, and this is the type of behavior Kjellberg participated in and promoted to his 57 million subscribers on YouTube, many of which discover new video games thanks to his videos and emulate his behavior in online games and on their own YouTube channels.
"It's not that I think I can do and say whatever I want and get away with it. I'm just an idiot," Kjellberg said. "Being in the position I am I should know better. I know I can't keep messing up like this."
Unfortunately, it seems that so far Kjellberg can keep messing up like this. He is still the most popular YouTuber in the world, he's more popular than ever, and he presumably still makes millions of dollar a year, despite repeatedly being been criticized for hate speech.
Kjellberg can still become a better role model for his millions of followers. I never want to believe that someone can't better themselves. I hope that he does. But he doesn't deserve a pass.