PewDiePie has responded to the controversy surrounding his paid promotional video with Warner Bros, calling the articles that linked him with the scandal “clickbait.”
PewDiePie, real name Felix Kjellberg, was criticized across the gaming media for a paid promotional deal he took part in with Warner Bros. for the 2014 game Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. The promotional deal, which also included other YouTubers, saw Warner Bros. pay them to cover the game in their videos. However, PewDiePie disclosed that his Shadow of Mordor video was part of a sponsorship deal in its description box and, he claims in his rebuttal, YouTube didn’t have rules in regards to proper disclosure until 2015.
However, as GamesBeat points out, the Federal Trade Commission’s 2009 guidelines for the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising do address the subject of paid promotional material, while a 2014 interview with GamaSutra sees the company’s Mary Engle stating that disclosure “should be clear and conspicuous, and should be upfront and easy to see where the viewer won’t miss it.”
While PewDiePie agrees that he could have done more to make his working relationship with Warner Bros. more obvious, he points out how taking part in sponsorship deals was a “gray area” in 2014, and that he now states his affiliation with a company both in his videos and in their description boxes. He also criticizes various media outlets for singling him out above the other YouTubers who took part in the Warner Bros. deal, suggesting that 0nly his name was featured in the headlines pertaining to the controversy because he has the most notable online presence, despite other YouTubers involved in the sponsorship deal completely failing to disclose that Warner Bros. had paid them.
In a video titled ‘The PEWDIE SCANDAL!!’ he said: “This happens time and time again with media. They take someone popular like me and they run whatever story’s gonna get them more clicks, and my name gets run in the ground.”
He continued: A lot of these articles are saying “we’re still waiting for a reply from PewDiePie…” I don’t fucking need you. I have an audience, I can talk to them. You’re literally insignificant, and that’s why you’re pulling this shit, because I think you know it.”
Watch the video below: