YouTuber Steven Williams, better known as Boogie2988, is the latest gaming personality to speak out about the recent controversies among some of the platform’s most popular gaming celebrities. Williams didn’t hold back from calling out the ‘establishment’ gaming media for its biased coverage of independent personalities like PewDiePie and JonTron—who represent the largest threat to their relevance.
In February, YouTube’s most popular creator, Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg, became the focus of media attention ever since The Wall Street Journal published a piece on some of his satirical videos. In the videos, Kjellberg lampooned other YouTubers for abusing Fiverr and took on the media for taking things out of context. He was subsequently labeled a racist anti-Semite and a white nationalist by members of the games press, who see his popularity as a threat to their own relevance in the game industry.
Likewise, Gaming YouTuber JonTron, real name Jonathan Jafari, was also accused of racism following a hostile online debate, in which he made a few controversial statements.
Kinda Funny Games host Colin Moriarty also joined the ranks of the media’s list of approved targets after he made an innocuous joke about a feminist Twitter hashtag. The joke was branded “racist” by the International Business Times, and Polygon’s Colin Campbell erroneously wrote that Moriarty went onto “right wing” shows like The Rubin Report (Dave Rubin isn’t “right wing”) and Glenn Beck’s radio show to complain about reactions to the tweet. Campbell denied writing these falsehoods, despite overwhelming evidence that he did. Destructoid also suggested he could go work for Breitbart.
In his video, Steven “Boogie2988” Williams decried the hate mobs against his fellow YouTubers. He expressed his disagreement with many of the things JonTron and others said, but emphasized the importance of exercising empathy over hostility.
“Whereas I don’t agree with their opinions, I believe they have right to those opinions. I believe they have every right to think for themselves and try to feel it out,” said Williams.
“And the problem with the freedom of thought is sometimes people are going to think things you don’t like. People are going to have opinions and ideas that you don’t enjoy. And you have to treat that with a certain level of tolerance and understanding, because if you approach it with tolerance and understanding you might very well be able to convince that person of otherwise.”
As if on cue, gaming website MCV UK misrepresented his video, falsely stating that Williams had “gone on record to argue that people should be more tolerant of the [racist] views Jafari is expressing.”
It’s a shame that Williams’ advice is being ignored by the people who would benefit most from listening to him. It’s difficult to have a conversation when one side is more intent on lying about the other.