Why KSI shouldn't be allowed to sweep his past under the carpet
Olajide Olatunji, or KSI as he's more widely known in gaming circles, is something of an internet celebrity. A minor one, but a celebrity all the same. He's build a sizeable following of around 4 million people on YouTube and has more recently been contracted by some corporations to help with promotion - companies such as Microsoft for their XBox One launch, EA thanks to his popularity amongst FIFA players and BT Sport. This kind of thing isn't uncommon - the YouTube vlogging world is a hot bed of corporate sponsorship and as long as it's all above board it's fine.
The problem in the case of KSI is he has a bit of a dark past - one that is widely known in the gaming world. Two years ago he was BANNED from Eurogamer Expo for life; the result of a video of him effectively sexually harassing various women on the show floor in the name of "humour". After he was called out on it, KSI offered an 'apology' that put the burden on those who were offended rather than making amends for the content of the video. He then removed the video from YouTube...
However, it's since been uploaded by another user. Check it out below - NOT funny, and frankly for the most part offensive.
Fast forward to this year - a few months ago. BT Sport made the mistake of featuring KSI in a feature pitting him against a footballer on live TV. There was a minor grumbling across the web but nothing much came of it. However on THURSDAY, KSI was again put on stage, this time by Microsoft and this time around the wrath of the internet decended full force. KSI's 'agent' has issued a statement since:
Shortly after the 2012 Eurogamer video, KSI pro actively removed it from YouTube and made an apology directly to Eurogamer. He wasn't asked to remove the video in question, but on reviewing the content, he felt it contained potential to offend and thus removed it from his YouTube channel.
The situation was addressed and moved on from with Eurogamer. Between us, we decided KSI shouldn't attend this year's show so as to not reopen unwanted attention for the organisers or himself. It was a thing of the past and we remain on good terms with the owners Eurogamer. We will continue to liaise on the best way to involve KSI or not at future expos.
As an 18-year-old at the beginning of his YouTube career at the time, with no real guidance, he realised soon after the Eurogamer reaction, of the influence and popularity he was developing through the platform. Also the responsibility that was beginning to come with that.
KSI is a character of JJ or Olajide, a young man with great humility and politeness and far from the character portrayed in the Eurogamer video.
Sexism is not something he condones or wants to be associated with. He wishes to apologise for any offence the video of 15 months ago may have caused in the short time it was on his YouTube channel, references to it since and subsequently used by other people. In recent months, he has also been actively avoiding certain content seen in the distant past and wants to be judged on the great content and value he gives to brands and partners, without controversy.
In the past 12 months, JJ has worked with many brands, channels, partners and charities using his huge popularity to positive effect. Campaigns and content with said partners is carefully considered by JJ and always suitable to the brands image and requirements.
There is no denying his rapidly growing influence and how important it is to use that in a positive way. This is what he will continue to strive towards and continue to move away from any unfortunate content from the very early days in his career, when just a young lad out to entertain mates and early viewers. That is not the more aware and responsible JJ/KSI which is now developing into a true star.
JJ is a huge talent and as one of the most influential and popular UK entities in the UK and globally. Content of the past will not be repeated and he does not want to be misjudged on that. He is well aware of expectations from brands and partners and does not fail to embrace what is best for them in terms of his content for them.
He is actively working to address any negative impression he has given people with previous content in the past and hopes the industry will see this.
It's a shame this past indiscretion his been brought up as we had addressed it and KSI wants to move on from it. I don't feel it's right to judge someone based on an indiscretion which was pro actively removed and apologised for shortly after. Especially at such a young age.
That's not saying it was right, as JJ acknowledged it was wrong at the time and does again now.
Let's take a look at the statement and put it in some context... Firstly 15 months isn't a long time - people don't change that much in that space of time and at 18 he should already have a moral compass that tells him sexism isn't acceptable. Really, we reckon KSI saw the damage he was doing to his 'brand' and put his lust for money first. Secondly, his apology at the time was hollow and did nothing to correct the situation. KSI, as recently as JULY was making light of rape in posts to Twitter (posts deleted YESTERDAY around the time the above statement was issued) - this isn't evidence of someone who has suddenly matured, it's is in face indicative of the man's own personality. Finally, this is the person who has popularised the term 'rape face' and as posted images of himself COUNTLESS times in this pose.KSI claims not to condone sexism but it's clear that in reality, away from the world of corporate sponsorship and money, he is sexist and misogynist in the worst ways possible. He shouldn't be allowed to distance himself from his RECENT past. Likewise there is a level of corporate responsibility required of brands who employ the services of people like this. Ignorance isn't an excuse in cases like this; the man has a reputation well known in gaming circles and any gaming brand that claims they're unaware of his exploits despite being aware of him is demonstrating a clear and dangerous detachment from their core audience.
Matt Lees of Videogamer.com video posted yesterday was taken down by YouTube following a copyright complaint by KSI. More evidence than the man would rather hide what he's been up to rather than REALLY change. Matt has since posted an edited version that doesn't contain any of the footage from the video above. Watch it now if you haven't already!
Sources: Stick Twiddlers, Eurogamer, Videogamer.com