PewDiePie has issued an apology after trying to make fun of a deaf TikTok user in a recent video.
Felix Kjellberg, the YouTuber’s true name, uploaded an 11-minute video to the platform titled “My Dog Cringes at TikToks,” in which he responds to TikTok videos that, in his view, are “cringe.”
According to page six!, the deaf TikToker Scarlet May, who has 6.2 million subscribers on the social media platform, contributed to one of the videos chosen. American Sign Language and spoken English both are frequently used in May’s films.
In the video to which Kjellberg responded, May was heard telling a tale that occurred at a drive-through fast food restaurant. In the video, she used sign language and had long acrylic nails.
On watching, Kjellberg cut the clip short and said: “I’m not listening to this. Look, she has your crazy nails, Maya!,” referring to his dog.
He then proceeded to wave around his dog’s paws, appearing to imitate May, and said: “Sorry, are my nails distracting you guys?”
The comments drew backlash, with one TikTok user writing: “So a deaf woman signing is considered TikTok cringe?”
Another person added: “So why is nobody talking about pewdiepie making fun of a deaf Black woman?”
Kjellberg has since issued an apology for the video, writing on his YouTube channel: “Hey, just to clear a few things up: I edited out the clip with the girl that has the long nails. Had no clue she was deaf but quite dumb of me to not realize… Still, watching through the clip I only poked fun at her long nails.
“The voice I did for my dog is the same voice I’ve given her for years. (edit: ..and making my dog’s paws move was poking at people always dancing or doing some move on TikTok, which is an ongoing theme in the whole video). Anyway, honest mistake, my bad.”
Kjellberg used an emoji of a peace sign to sign off on his apology.
On Wednesday, July 27, May responded to the video on her TikTok channel before he removed her part.
She said Kjellberg’s video was “bizarre and very unnecessary” but that she “wasn’t surprised”.
“I’m used to it,” May continued. “I’ve been trying to normalize and put it out that using nails while signing is normal, it’s OK. But then a big creator comes on here and puts us, like, a million steps back.”
Kjellberg has faced criticism in the past for using a racial slur in a live stream video in 2017.