Screenshot: PewDiePie (YouTube)

The makers of the online social multiplayer game Roblox appear to have blocked controversial Swedish YouTuber Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg from playing their game while using a variation of his famous online name. His name, it seems, is a problem for them.

In a new video weighing on on the matter, PewDiePie shared a notice from Roblox which stated that his Roblox account had been deleted due to an offensive username: pewdie123t32. While PewDiePie treated the entire affair like a joke, calling on Roblox to apologize within 25 hours, his fans, including some who play Roblox, are upset, especially after some have reported being hit with similar terms of use violations for simply invoking the YouTuber’s name.

Advertisement

PewDiePie has only streamed Roblox a few times in the past. He did so most recently on Sunday as part of a bid to win more subscribers to his YouTuber channel as part of an ongoing competition against the Indian music label T-Series, which currently operates YouTube’s second most-subscribed-to channel. They have approximately 85,342,000 subscribers at the time of writing. He has 85,394,000. As the stream went on, fans and Roblox players started joining whichever server PewDiePie was in in order to hang out with him. Some even typed his name in message bubbles or greeted him while others tried to create in-game objects with things like “sub PewDiePie” on them.

In at least some of these cases, players have reported getting hit with notices from Roblox that they had violated the game’s terms of use by using the offensive term “PewDiePie.” One player who created an entire train with “sub PewDiePie” on the side of it said on Twitter that they were forced by the game’s moderators to remove it.

The account PewDiePie used to play Roblox, pewdie123t32, which he created specifically for the occasion, was eventually deleted sometime after the stream concluded. Even now, there are several variations of PewDiePie’s name, like “peewdiepie” and “pewdeepie” are listed as “inappropriate” when entered on the game’s account registration page.

Some fans have speculated that Roblox has chosen to shadowban the YouTuber in this way because of the mature nature of the content he produces outside the game and his past history of doing and saying offensive things. In 2017 Disney broke off ties with PewDiePie over his anti semitic jokes. Later that same year he apologized for using the n-word during a livestream. Just last december, the YouTuber gave a shout-out to another channel which happened to host anti semitic content, something PewDiePie later said he wasn’t aware of and deleted from his video.

Advertisement

Traditionally, games ban players for things like cheating or toxic behavior. In this case, it appears Roblox isn’t banning PewDiePie so much as banning mentions of his name. In Roblox’s terms of use the company does state that it retains the right to remove user generated creations and names from within the game that it deems to be offensive. As of yet Roblox Corporation hasn’t come out and clarified whether that’s what’s going on with PewDiePie and, if so, its rationale for wanting all associations with the YouTuber removed from its game. Neither PewDiePie nor Roblox responded to a request for comment.

[Update - 2/14/18]: PewDiePie’s Roblox account has been reinstated, the company announced in a forum post. It said that it regularly blocks memes which “are syonymous for behavior that falls outside of our community standards” and that in December, “pewdie” had become such a meme.

Advertisement

“As such, we began blocking the creation of new usernames that incorporated the term ‘pewdie,’” the company said in the forum post. “The legacy account that PewDiePie used in his livestream was incorrectly banned as part of the administration of this policy. His legacy account is being reinstated.”