Was curious about other people's thoughts on this topic. Its going to be a long post, so if you know all the details, my actual question for you all is at the bottom.
Basically what occurred was that on August 3rd, the Youtuber JonTron was talking about the new service Sony is developing for the PS4 called "Playstation Now" and said this:
https://twitter.com/JonTronShow/stat...83251961585668"Playstation Now" is the most painfully retarded thing I've seen in a while. WTF even.
The first couple tweets in response were nothing special or controversial. However, somebody tweeted at him asking him not to use the word "retarded:"
https://twitter.com/benhuber/status/495783555143065601please don't say "retarted" Jon, it's pretty rude. Thanks.
Still, nothing really big until Jon tweeted back with this:
https://twitter.com/JonTronShow/stat...83749142192129I'm sorry I forgot you were retarded, my bad
And after this the proverbial shit hit the fan. Accusations of Ableism (Prejudice against the Handicapped -- something I didn't even know had a word until this incident happened, I'll point out), calls for boycotts, rants against him on Twitter, and especially Tumblr, and floods of comments on virtually every tweet past this. After a few hours, where Jon really wasn't kowtowing to the people throwing a fit, he ended up making this statement:
http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1s2sdiuI don't usually respond to this kind of criticism, but this has gotten so out of hand and always happens when I make some sort of ‘controversial' statement on twitter. To you people who get offended at every turn: Why don't you try focusing your civil unrest at something that dearly needs it, like the fact that today the Israeli air force struck a school with a missile killing 10 people, most of which were children. I suppose you're all ok with that, as long as the missile didn't call the school 'retarded' first, right? My job as a comedian is to make people laugh and feel better about their lives. So no, in the midst of so many other pressing matters in the world, I will not apologize for calling a PS4 retarded. I encourage you to look at yourselves and think about what really matters.
Suffice it to say, the statement didn't help. The people who were upset about him using "retarded" as a slur toward somebody joined up with the few, incredibly vocal, people who thought he was scapegoating the incident in Gaza joined up and the shouting intensified. Accusations of antisemitism abounded, combined with everything else that had been thrown his way. At this point Tumblr was fully involved in the "conflict," with the JonTron tag trending fairly publicly. Despite ALL of this, the only thing he really seemed remorseful for was the way people were taking his comments about the Middle East. And while I can't speak for Jon or know him personally, it felt like his tweets were less "I'm sorry for bringing up Gaza" and more "I'm sorry my words were interpreted that way by those few people." As such he posted this, later on:
http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1s2sen3I mainly want to apologize to anyone who may have interpreted that I was using loss of life overseas to sidestep controversy, that was not my aim. I was merely trying to make a point, I guess it didn't land. The mere thought of doing that is appalling to me, and I am sorry if anyone took it that way.
But that didn't really seem to abate anything, so basically his next move was to mainly just tweet with friends, retweet people who were coming to his defense, and generally ignoring it. ALL of this happened on August 3rd by the way, everything in this post up to this point. The people who were throwing a fit about Gaza pretty much gave up after the first day, but those who were offended by his "Retarded" comment continued.
In the end, he ended up doing an interview with the "Internet Outrage Database" website, which tracks, records, and reports "outrages" on the Internet. Just to specify, the website asked Jon to do the interview and he agreed. He did not seek them out on his own. You can find it here. In it, he's still fairly indignant about the whole thing, talking about the immediateness of the Internet's outrage, previous "outrageous" things he's said in the past (He made a reference to Hitler on his twitter while this was going down. About Hitler never giving up), having fans be "outraged," how effective or genuine most apologies after these kind events are, and censorship on the internet.
Actual question for the thread: So after all that, my question is multi-faceted. How much should the internet "public," as it were, hold popular personalities on the internet to this universal code of ethics, if at all? What should be deemed inappropriate for this kind of personality, if anything, that is said by these people? Do they have an obligation to try and accommodate whenever anybody who proclaims to be their "fan" deems something they've said is inappropriate, and they either remove it, apologize for it, and/or promise not to do it again?
Personally the whole "episode" stinks to me of exceptionally butthurt Social Justice Warriors on tumblr looking for something to be offended about. Whether you like JonTron or not is irrelevant. These types of people just bounce from personality to personality looking for a soap box to stand on and proclaim how offended they are and how everybody around them must accommodate how upset they are. Was Jon being an asshole when he called the person "retarded" after they asked him politely not to? Of course he was. However that is exactly the kind of comedy that his channel has always been about. The sarcastic, often over-the-line stuff. Calling he dude retarded, bringing up Hitler. Ending the interview in the way that he did. In fact, I actually found it pretty funny when I read it for the first time.
I'm happy for the kind of progress that has been made in our world to ensure equality, but I feel like "incidents" like this just show how goddamn entitled people believe they are to not have their sensibility cherries popped by the internet.
In the end, its the Internet. You need a thicker skin or you're going to be embarrassed by most things you find here. Jon makes this point in the interview that I think utterly destroys the entire butthurt-brigade parading around being offended:
So, in the end, that's my thoughts about it all. What about everyone else?We can’t police words, we must police the meaning and context behind those words. One could argue that when I called the guy ‘retarded’, I crossed that line. But I was simply trying to use sarcasm to show the difference in context. I thought that should be obvious to anyone onlooking.
As far as being offended? Quite frankly, I think one should be an adult and grow some thicker skin. So what you’re offended? That doesn’t mean anything to me, or anyone. It is subjective. I’m offended by your offense. What now?