Speed, a well-known football enthusiast who idolises Cristiano Ronaldo, was at the heart of a controversy last month.
In November, IShowSpeed made news across the world when he flew to the UK to witness Manchester United play in person, watching United’s victories over Aston Villa and Fulham. He became incredibly famous and Sky Sports sought to interview him to appeal to a younger audience.
They released all the videos online to get a lot of views, and then later opted to remove the streamer’s material from their channels, citing past provocative statements.
Speed subsequently replied to the removal of the videos by saying he realised he wanted to act better for his supporters and promised to keep improving himself. He is still only 17, so he got the benefit of the doubt.
The YouTuber, in his journey to England, simply wanted to witness Cristiano Ronaldo play live, and that goal of his, irrespective of the controversy, wasn’t complete. So he made the decision to fly to Qatar to see the legend play for Portugal instead.
However, this trip to Qatar seems like a lot of Deja Vu. The striker was once again benched during a game that Speed intended to see from the stands, and Speed once again stole the controversial spotlight.
The stream was cut short when his phone ran out of battery power, but no film was lost. A video of Speed encountering an Asian fan wearing an Argentina jersey has begun to circulate online. The fan looks perplexed as to why Speed is asking him why he is wearing the shirt, so Speed answers numerous times with the Japanese salutation “Konnichiwa”.
This would not have been as bad as it is right now if Speed would have paid attention to the fact that the fan was stating repeatedly that he is Chinese.
When Speed actually processed what he was saying, he ended up saying a racist “boing-choing-choing” sounding phrase and cut the clip. Confused? So were we.
What is clear is that Speed made a remark that he should not have. Saying Japanese to an Asian person is borderline acceptable, but if the fan is saying that he is not Japanese, then why is he still saying the same phrase? After that, once he understood he was not Japanese, why even say anything? He made a bad decision and then followed it up with a worse one.
The response to this was as would be expected on Twitter. He got called out for the action, and dialogue was raised about how normalised racism against Asians is prevalent in the online world.
Now he has come out with an apology video that is addressing the situation. He is explaining that he first thought the fan was Japanese and once he realised he was actually Chinese, he sought to answer him with “a nickname they call me in China.”
He is promising he wasn’t being racist, but that doesn’t make the actions any worse. Fans quickly pointed to another incident with an Indian father and daughter duo where he acted in a racist manner, with or without having the intention of actually being a racist.
Cool now explain this. I don’t think he’s racist but what he’s doing is racist pic.twitter.com/tkZuFugZjc— sc87 (@IntelHockey11) December 6, 2022
The whole point of Speed is that he is loud. He yells and screams over everything and has regular rage outbursts. That is not a criticism; it’s exactly how his followers define him and also why they adore him.
But that is also what is costing him. If he would take a second to process the statements that come out of his mouth, he would understand that over half of them should not be said. His fans will defend him for what it is worth, but being only 17, he has a whole life ahead of him where this could and would come back to haunt him.
It is possible that the young fans who watch him see this and think it is okay to make fun of Asians. It is also possible that the same fans who witness this backlash can learn about the racism that Asians face on a daily basis. It is a double-edged sword, but one can only hope that it cuts in the right direction.