Friday, April 6, 2018

Disney cuts ties with PewDiePie (2017)

Image result for disney cuts ties with pewdiepie
Snapshot from video blog of PewDiePie with
 sign reading "Death to All Jews"
PewDiePie is a YouTube star who came under scrutiny after posting a series of videos that involved anti-Semitic comments, which are messages that are prejudice and harmful to the Jewish people, thus ultimately leading to Disney severing its ties to the YouTube star.  PewDiePie whose real name is Felix Kjellberg a 27-year-old Swede who was able to build an empire of opinionated videos mostly about video games.  While PewDiePie’s gaming videos often contain expletives and other colorful language, he might have finally crossed the line when bringing anti-Semitic messages into his popular YouTube channel. Kjellberg was able to bring in about $14 million dollars a year through advertising, sponsorship and appearance fees.  Kjellberg was dropped from Disney maker studios in February of 2017 after The Wall Street Journal reported that Mr. Kjellberg had posted nine anti-Semitic videos since August.  A spokeswoman stated that "Although Felix has created a following by being proactive and irreverent, he clearly went too far in this case, and the resulting videos are inappropriate."  The videos that Kjellberg posted illustrate the risk for companies such as YouTube and Disney that want to try and reach younger audiences and begin to make deals with people who may push boundaries on what is acceptable within the company's standards or basic social norms.
Photo of PewDiePie whose
real name is Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg 
The stakeholders that were affected in this controversy were the employees in the upper management area of Disney's maker studios.  They were affected because they were the ones who had to take the scrutiny for signing PewDiePie and tying him to the company.  They were also under scrutiny because it took another company which was The Wall Street Journal, to tell them about the videos that PewDiePie was posting to his page.  Stakeholders also affected in this controversy are the investors of The Walt Disney Company as when the news broke about the PewDiePie videos and that Walt Disney Company's ties to him the stock began to drop and the investors of the company questioned them because how could the company allow the investor's money to be given to and invested into someone who did not care about a certain groups feelings and what that group of people went through in the past.
The individualism theory created by Friedman states that "The only goal of business is to profit, so the obligation that the business person has is to maximize profit for the owner or the stockholders." An individualist thinker would look at this case and controversy and see it as ethical.  They would see it as ethical because Disney maker studios signed PewDiePie so that they could reach a younger audience and make profit off of the audience that PewDiePie could reach and relate to.  It didn’t matter the content of the videos PewDiePie made all that mattered was that they were getting views and therefore Disney maker studios were able to profit from them.  PewDiePie’s action would also be viewed as morally permissible by an individualist thinker.  PewDiePie makes his living off of the videos he posts where the revenue is generated by the amount of views and subscribers he obtains and also through ads being placed on his videos.  Although in hindsight he should have not posted those series of videos, he believed at the time it was what his viewers wanted to see and believed that by posting these videos he would be able to maximize profit for himself and for his joint venture with Disney Maker Studios.
The theory of Kantianism was founder by Immanuel Kant and relies on four basic principles.  The four basic principles of Kantianism are, to act rationally, allow others to make rational decisions, respect people, their autonomy and their individual needs and differences and be motivated by goodwill. A Kantianism thinker would view this as ethical because Disney let PewDiePie act rational and make rational decisions but when his decisions began to become irrational they acted upon their goodwill and cut ties with the young vlogger.  They respected the people who PewDiePie's videos were harming and decided to take action and side with them over the young vlogger who was getting paid by them and was apart of their team.  They were motivated by the goodwill in their hearts to know that what he was saying in the vlogs were harmful and brought up an unwanted time and painful time that is part of a persons past. A Kantianism thinker would view the postings of PewDiePie as morally impermissible.  He did not make rational decisions when making these videos because even though he thought that it was the best way to get views by posting the content deep down he must have known that what was in the content was wrong and harmful.  
Image result for the walt disney company
The Walt Disney Company
With the two central theories of Utilitarianism being egoism and altruism, which are to maximize the happiness of yourself (egoism) and to maximize the happiness of others (altruism), a utilitarianism thinker would view this case as ethical.  They would view this case as ethical because Disney got rid of someone who was causing a burden to their brand name and by removing him from the label they were able to increase overall happiness and satisfaction to their company. With PewDiePie associated with the company Disney was then unfortunately associated to the anti-Semitic videos PewDiePie posted.  They also increased the happiness of others by being able to remove the hurtful videos that PewDiePie posted which included signs reading "Death to all Jews" and other Nazi imagery in some of his anti-Semitic videos. As for PewDiePie’s position, a utilitarianism thinker would view his acts as unethical.  They would view his acts as unethical because he did not think about the consequences beforehand that would come about in the moments after he posted the series of videos.  The videos definitely had serious consequences for him as he began to lose out on endorsements and also cost him his joint venture deal with Disney Maker Studios
Virtue Theory
The virtue Theory in this case focuses on the act itself and how it is unethical.  PewDiePie lacked the four characteristics of the Virtue Theory which are courage, honesty, temperance and justice. By posting his ant-Semitic videos he created a weak image and distrust in him. PewDiePie was viewed as cowardly because he was posting the content of his videos just so he could gain more likes and more money.  He was not honest toward the company that signed him and created these videos which caused a bad look to Disney.  With Disney's position a virtue theorist would view their act of releasing PewDiePie as ethical.  It is ethical because it shows that they acted to gain a variety of good character traits by releasing someone so that they could avoid being labeled with vicious or bad character traits.
 Works Cited
Agrawal, Nina. “Disney Ends Deal with YouTube Star PewDiePie over Nazi Imagery and Jokes.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 14 Feb. 2017,

Chokshi, Niraj. “Disney Drops PewDiePie and YouTube Distances Itself After Reports of Anti-Semitic Videos.”The New York Times, The New York Times, 14 Feb. 2017,

Molina, Brett. “Disney, YouTube Cut Ties with PewDiePie over Anti-Semitic Videos.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 14 Feb. 2017,

Solon, Olivia. “Disney Severs Ties with YouTube Star PewDiePie over Antisemitic Videos.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 14 Feb. 2017,

Winkler, Rolfe, et al. “Disney Severs Ties With YouTube Star PewDiePie After Anti-Semitic Posts.” The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, 14 Feb. 2017,

No comments:

Post a Comment