Opinion: Thoughts on JonTron and Politics Governing YouTube

Jon Jafari, or more commonly known as JonTron has gotten in some controversy and most likely ruined his reputation on the internet earlier this month. JonTron has come out through some Tweets tweeted out during an afternoon in defense to Iowa Representative Steve King’s controversial claim that “we can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” JonTron’s tweets went in to agree with King’s position in this claim during a professional streamer’s live event, Steve Bonnell, or known as Destiny, on Twitch for the next two hours. During this time JonTron let out far-right wing points like how a Mexican “reconquista” (a Mexican retaking) was on the way

JonTron claimed that Mexican immigrants are setting up “ethnic enclaves” in the United States “to break parts of America off back into Mexico.” In addition to these absurd claims, he went on to say that “we don’t need immigrants from incompatible places” and declared that white people are going through a “demographic displacement” because of immigration. He even went to claim that wealthy blacks of the country commit far more crimes than low-income whites.

I honestly could not believe what I was hearing from a comedian that was liked by everyone in the YouTube community. His fan base was surprised from these comments due to the fact that last year JonTron was seen more as a centrist in his political views. Something had changed with JonTron over the last year.

During my time on YouTube in the last few years, I had heard of JonTron through watching one of my favorite gaming channels, Game Grumps. He was a former host on the gaming channel but later moved on (or made to leave) to other projects. He went on to become the founder of Normal Boots, a multitude of YouTube channels by other big name content creators such as Projared and The Completionist. JonTron’s channel suffered a loss of 10,000 plus subscribers and losing a speaking role in an upcoming game called Yooka-Laylee.

It’s quite surprising how these types of beliefs can be spoken so freely as someone like him, and this can be true for many young people today. It’s one thing when you’re an older individual who has experience in the political spectrum and may be able to back their claims, even though they might be wrong, but it’s another when we hear these sorts of opinions from such a younger individual. We live in an era where people raised during the internet age are influenced by what they have access to online, especially around such ideals that should not be followed. JonTron has a massive YouTube audience that is built through entertainment.

We can agree that a lot of us have become more politically active in our community, everyone has a right to their own opinion, but that doesn’t mean everyone will agree with what you might have to say. The fact that JonTron is half-Iranian baffles me to no end in how he is arguing whites need to stay as a majority in the US. It doesn’t seem that he agrees that America stems from a cultural diversity, but instead insists that America’s culture is supposed to be white. He’s contradicting himself and needs to be aware of what he’s saying instead of spurting the first thing from the tip of his tongue.

There’s an argument these days that parents need to limit what their children should watch on YouTube, which can be parallel with how you would stop them from watching a horror movie that may seem highly inappropriate. When kids see video games being played by these Youtubers, they don’t see it as a warning sign whatsoever, its video games. Obviously, many people have varying opinions, and it seems that Youtubers are now starting to have a profound impact in political talk.

For example, I believed that Tyler Oakley was one of the heroes of the 2016 election because of his political push towards the support of Secretary Hillary Clinton, but it’s not because that my political beliefs might align with his, but it was because he was brave enough to make a stand for what he believed in and moved the democratic process forward. Even though he might have been favoring one party, he was still encouraging his followers and fans to discuss issues that are of high importance in today’s society, topics that we would be afraid to talk about.

Another Youtuber that went through a similar situation was Casey Neistat when he posted a video telling his audience that he would be voting for Hillary Clinton in the presidential campaign. He received a lot of adverse reactions from passionate pro-Trump supporters. What I’m trying to get at here is that it can happen to anyone despite their political opinion, but if you are going to be commenting online for many to see in what side of the political spectrum you fall under, you better be prepared for the consequences that may come with it, whether it be good or bad.

JonTron’s arguments and consequences reverberate with another highly-influencial Youtuber that also delved into political territory and received a multitude of criticism for his comments. PewDiePie, or Felix Kjellberg, the Youtuber that holds the most subscribers for a channel on YouTube released videos over the winter that included anti-Semitic references and made jokes towards them. This in turn cost Felix his contract with YouTube Red and his partnership with Maker Studios, owned by Disney. PewDiePie has recently apologized for his crude humor towards Jews, but still stands with his satire and his sense of humor.

The potential to influence your YouTube audience is there and more real than some Youtubers may like to admit. It takes a lot of guts to express your opinions that you want to express, but be prepared for the debate.

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