Jon Jafari, A.K.A. YouTube’s “JonTron” Gives Gamers a Bad Name by Being Unabashedly Racist

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[UPDATED 3/15/17 at 10:22 AM: corrections have been made to the second paragraph discussing Jafari’s stats as well as clarification re: his relationship to Normalboots*]

If you are a gamer who also cares about things like, you know, justice, and people, and not being a racist, I’m so sorry that you have to deal with the likes of Jon Jafari, A.K.A. “JonTron.” You deserve better.

As JonTron has over 3 million followers on YouTube, it’s likely that some of you know him thanks to his YouTube show, JonTronShow, or the gaming network he helped create, Normalboots.* Now, he’s getting himself known for one more thing: racism.

It all started this weekend, when Jafari decided to chime in to defend Iowa Representative Steve King on Twitter, who said, “[we] can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,” in relation to immigration in the U.S. (By the way, he was quoting a tweet from an account called Voice of Europe, which RTs Breitbart articles a lot, and has a bio that says “Real news from a beautiful continent in danger.” Presumably from people of color.)

Now, most people saw that as the offensive statement it was, and as King is an elected official, made it clear to him how unacceptable it was. Jafari—who is himself half Iranian and half Hungarian—thought that everyone was being way too hard on the poor guy:

Well, no. Perhaps he’s not a card-carrying Nazi. But I’m actually really curious now to know what Jafari thinks the Nazis’ whole deal was if not “keeping their country pure.” Because he seems to think “Nazi” is a bad thing to call someone…and that it’s also totally unrelated to the views being expressed? *sigh*

Also, having a different culture doesn’t mean one is expressing “contempt” for another. You know what does show contempt? Trying to get rid of people simply for existing in your space. *double sigh*

And that’s just unpacking THAT ONE TWEET, Ladies and Gentlemen! Wait’ll you get a load of TWO HOURS of this guy talking!

His subsequent tweets on the subject of immigration led to streamer Steve Bonnell, A.K.A. Destiny, inviting him onto his show to ask him what the fuck is wrong with him ask him to kindly defend his views, because perhaps we’ve all misunderstood what an ignorant racist he is. We have not.

Now, this is a difficult listen. I got through about 5 minutes of ignorance before I had to stop it and go scrub myself down to make sure the ear-gunk didn’t spread. Thankfully, the folks at Gizmodo have some highlights:

Over the course of two hours, Jafari’s comments on the stream ranged from baseless to deeply inflammatory. In addition to his ludicrous claim about Mexicans attempting to somehow recapture American land, he said that “we don’t need immigrants from incompatible places” and that white people were going through a “demographic displacement” due to immigration, which he likened to apartheid South Africa. Truly the mind reels. But wait, there’s more.

Jafari also claimed that wealthy black Americans commit more crimes than poor whites (citation badly needed), the court system doesn’t display bias against people of color (it does), that Irish and Italians were always considered “white” in America (they weren’t), and that Black Lives Matter doesn’t disavow violence (it does). “We’ve gotten rid of discrimination in our Western countries,” said Jafari, only to later state that “nobody wants to become a minority in their own country.”

They also report that Jafari:

  • fears whites becoming a minority in the U.S (which he says will happen by 2042)
  • deflects talking about that fear and instead focuses no immigrants being lazy criminals
  • talks about the U.S. needing to have a “unifying culture.”
  • and, um: “Jafari appeared open to the idea of immigration, conceding that ‘if they assimilated they would enter the gene pool eventually.'”

The level of his ignorance surrounding immigrants, immigration, and how groups of people move across the planet, especially considering the fact that one of his parents has non-European ancestry, is astounding. The fact that he has the hubris to be interviewed about his ignorance only to not be able to defend any of it, yet still proclaim superiority, is even more so.

I’m not involved in gaming communities myself, but I know plenty of wonderful, kind, intelligent gamers who are. Gamers from all backgrounds. Here’s hoping those gamers make their voices heard just as loudly as this blowhard’s. Let him know how you feel. Let YouTube know how you feel. And perhaps this isn’t someone you want to support by following his channels. There are plenty of other non-racist YouTube gamers in the sea.

(image via screenshot)

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Image of Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.