Popular YouTuber ‘JonTron’ Accused of Racism After Hostile Online Debate

  1. Home
  2. Gaming
By Ian Miles Cheong | 10:26 pm, March 13, 2017
Read More

Popular gaming YouTuber Jonathan “JonTron” Jafari sparked a firestorm of conversation on social media after he appeared on a livestream this past weekend to discuss statements he made on Twitter. In a pair of tweets, Jafari weighed in on the controversy surrounding Rep. Steve King’s claim that “[we] can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”

Jafari wrote: “Wow, how scandalous, Steve King doesn’t want his country invaded by people who have contempt for his culture and people! Nazi!!!”

On a livestream debate with Steven “Destiny” Bonnell, Jafari made several controversial statements about race relations and immigration, causing some listeners to declare him a racist. He was previously threatened for criticizing socially progressive liberals.

Jonathan “JonTron” Jafari

Throughout the debate, Bonnell cornered Jafari with a variety of points, provoking him into arguing against them.

As Bonnell brought up examples of historical oppression in the United States, Jafari asked how those decades-old arguments the United States even applied to the present day, stating his belief that Jim Crow laws had little to no impact on crimes committed by minorities today.

“There [are] like, 18-year-olds who are committing a disproportionate amount of crime and they were born after me. So how do you explain that? Is that Jim Crow? Nobody wants to get into the realistic things,” he said. “They [referring to progressives] just want to blame whites more and more.”

He asked: “I don’t understand why it is anyone else’s responsibility but their own. Do [minorities] not have agency?”

Jafari also pointed out how common it was for anyone who talks about the subject from a dissenting viewpoint to be labeled a racist or a Nazi. He explained why he thought more young people were feeling disenfranchised by the media and embracing views that would align them with the “alt-right” because of the guilt tripping.

“Why is it bad for white people to resist their own demographic displacement?” Jafari asked, which is true at least in regards to white demographics in Europe to Muslim immigrants in certain cities. However, he also stated that white Americans were being displaced—a simplification of the nation’s demographic remaking as a multiethnic society.

Jafari stumbled over his words when Bonnell asked him why he thought it mattered for whites to have a demographic majority in the United States. The YouTuber later cited Japan as an example of a country that took active steps to preserve its ethnic majority.

Jafari asked how historical oppression in the United States applied to places like Paris and Stockholm. “France didn’t have Jim Crow. We still have Muslim riots over there. In Sweden, they didn’t have Jim Crow. There are riots in the streets of Stockholm,” he said.

During the conversation, Jafari made a statement that caused even his fans to question his knowledge of the sensitive subject when he referenced an unverifiable crime statistic.

“Wealthy blacks also commit more crime than poor whites. That’s a fact. Look it up,” he said.

When Bonnell countered his claim with a Washington Post article on how “white kids are less likely to go to prison than rich black kids,” Jafari dismissed it as conjecture.

Per the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program, 69.7% of arrests made in 2015 were white, with only 26.6% being of African-American descent. 18% of arrests (who may be white or black) were reported as Hispanic or Latino. In the prison population, blacks make up a disproportionate number of inmates, totaling 40%–one percent more than whites. According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, black men are six times more likely to be arrested, convicted, and incarcerated than white men for the same crimes, and 2.5 times more likely than Hispanic men. A new report by the National Registry of Exonerations also states that black people are seven times more likely to be wrongly convicted of crimes they didn’t commit.

Beyond that, Jafari also stated that racial discrimination no longer existed in the West—a statement he did not fully clarify.

“Discrimination is wrong,” he said. “We’ve gotten rid of discrimination in Western countries… if you don’t think we’ve gotten rid of discrimination you’re living in a fantasy land.”

Some listeners may have taken his words to mean all forms of discrimination—which most certainly still exists against people of every demographic.

In the context of the debate as a whole, some of his words could certainly be construed as support for white nationalism. His comments have earned him massive ire—even from his fans on Reddit. Almost every thread posted on the JonTron fan subreddit has been either critical or negative about the YouTube personality since the debate.

Given the abundance of complaints from all sides and the way his words were perceived, Jafari should take a step back to question what he was saying and how he said it. The popular YouTuber certainly has room to grow, both as a debater and as someone others look to for direction.

We have reached out to Jafari for comment.

Ian Miles Cheong is a journalist and outspoken media critic. You can reach him through social media at @stillgray on Twitter and on Facebook.