Controversial YouTuber PewDiePie Under Fire for Mocking Deaf TikTok Star Scarlet May
YouTuber PewDiePie, real name Felix Kjellberg, was criticized online after he seemingly mocked a deaf TikTok star in a "cringe" complication video recently uploaded to his channel.
On Tuesday (July 26), PewDiePie uploaded a video titled "My Dog Cringes at TikToks," in which he reacts to viral videos deemed "cringe" alongside his dog, Maya.
One of the videos he reacted to was originally posted by TikTok creator Scarlet May, who is deaf. Scarlet has over 6.2 million followers on the platform and many of her uploads are in both spoken English and American Sign Language.
In a July 18 video, Scarlet shared a story about a humorous encounter at a fast food drive-thru, signing the story while wearing long, silver acrylic nails.
Reacting to Scarlet's TikTok in his YouTube video, PewDiePie cut the TikToker's clip short, telling viewers in an exasperated tone, "I'm not listening to this."
"Look, she has your crazy nails, Maya!" he continued, holding both of Maya's paws up before appearing to mock ASL as well as Scarlet's voice.
As of Thursday (July 28), the footage of him seemingly mocking Scarlet appears to have been edited out of the actual YouTube video post-upload. However, the moment is still circulating on social media.
After his initial video was published to YouTube, PewDiePie was dragged on social media for mocking Scarlet.
"Pewdiepie isn't ableist, he just wanted to mock a Black woman for millions of viewers for having long fingernails and speaking in her natural dialect! It's ONLY racism," one person tweeted.
"Pewdiepie is 32 years old ... at his big, prehistoric age he should know what sign language is & know not to make fun of someone for signing," another social media user wrote.
See more reactions below:
Following the controversy, PewDiePie issued an apology to Scarlet under his YouTube video.
"Hey, just to clear a few things up: I edited out the clip with the girl that has the long nails," he wrote.
"Had no clue she was deaf, but kinda dumb of me to not realize... Still watching through the clip I only poked fun of her long nails. The voice I did for my dog is the same voice I've given her for years," the creator added, claiming the incident was an "honest mistake."
PewDiePie was previously criticized for using racist slurs and boosting antisemitic rhetoric.
Scarlet, meanwhile, has since commented on the matter in a TikTok captioned: "we all make mistakes hopefully he learns from this."
Watch her response, below: