- Getty Images; YouTube; Getty Images
- YouTube has released an annual year-in-review video called “YouTube Rewind” since 2010 as a way to highlight the platform’s biggest stars, trends, and moments of the year.
- However, last year’s video was met with widespread criticism and backlash for failing to include some of YouTube’s most controversial (and popular) stars, like PewDiePie and Logan and Jake Paul.
- Ahead of the Rewind 2019 release, YouTube tweeted and shared photos on Instagram hinting that some of those absent YouTubers would be appearing in this year’s video.
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It seems that YouTube is trying to rebuild the hype for its annual year-in-review “Rewind” video by teasing that some of the platform’s most controversial personalities will make appearances this year.
Although the “Rewind” video for 2019 has not yet been released, YouTube has taken to Instagram to build up anticipation, while also offering teasing hints at what creators could be appearing in the video. The photos include references to popular names like Emma Chamberlain and the wildly popular band BTS, as well as hints at YouTubers who were controversially left out of 2018’s Rewind video: PewDiePie, Shane Dawson, and MrBeast.
YouTube was subject to the full wrath of fandom’s power after it released its “Rewind 2018” last December to celebrate the platform’s biggest creators, trends, and memories. It took less than a week for the video to become the most disliked video in YouTube’s history, beating out Justin Bieber’s early hit “Baby” for the infamous title.
The reason for fans’ severe backlash was simple: YouTube’s 2018 video didn’t feature some of the platform’s most popular personalities. Although more than 130 YouTubers and celebrities made cameos in the video, fans were quick to note that popular creators who were surrounded by drama or controversy were not included.
— YouTube (@YouTube) December 4, 2019
Logan Paul, who early last year posted a video filmed in a Japanese “suicide forest,” was left out. So was YouTuber KSI, his rival in now two boxing matches. Logan Paul’s younger brother, Jake, who leads the rowdy incubator of YouTubers called Team 10, was also absent from the video. One of YouTube’s longest-running stars, Shane Dawson, also failed to make an appearance. That’s not to mention that the video also left out PewDiePie, who has yet to escape the shadow of his history of racist and anti-Semitic remarks.
The result, as The Verge’s Julia Alexander said, was a video that felt “disingenuous, like YouTube is hiding its uglier side under a carpet while showing guests around.”
In response to the backlash, YouTube argued that it was difficult “to capture the magic of YouTube in one single video.” While the absences of the other YouTubers in “Rewind 2018” may have been able to be explained away, that explanation doesn’t hold as much weight when you consider that PewDiePie is the most-subscribed-to solo creator on the platform.
If these teasers are an indication, YouTube may be doing what it can to avoid a repeat of last year’s debacle.