Jonathan Jafari holds a bird in a video on his YouTube channel JonTron

JonTron’s Fans Think He’s ‘Winning at Life,’ but His Controversies Say Otherwise

Recently, social media began discussing the career of Jonathan Aryan Jafari, who is better known by his online nickname, JonTron. It seems the discussion arose due to some users claiming JonTron “won at life,” and those debating the point quickly delved into his controversial history.

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JonTron rose to fame on YouTube through his channel JonTronShow. He capitalized on YouTube’s large gaming audience with his reviews of popular video games. Meanwhile, shortly after creating his own channel, he joined Let’s Play’s web series Game Grumps and created the content portal NormalBoots with Austin Hargrave. Between his collaborations and some of his reviews gaining traction through Reddit, JonTron’s channel managed to garner a large following. Today, his channel boasts over 6.59 million subscribers and has received over 1.35 billion views.

However, it’s impossible to talk about his career without acknowledging his controversial history, which may have ended his Game Grumps and NormalBoots collaborations.

Why is everyone talking about JonTron again?

While JonTron still runs a successful YouTube channel, it has been years since his work gained attention outside his following. It has also been a while since he last shared his controversial views. As mentioned above, though, an odd conversation broke out on X over one user’s claims that JonTron “won in the end” by not trying to be a “spastic irony bro” or edge lord. Of course, the response to the Tweet was largely users questioning in what world JonTron “won.”

On the one hand, many kept arguing that his YouTube success and likely considerable savings were proof that he “won at life.” However, others felt being a controversial figure accused of racism who hasn’t done anything notable in years is not the same as winning.

So, to settle the debate, let’s take a look into JonTron’s controversies and whether, as his fans claim, he actually did come out on top. JonTron’s controversies began in 2013 when he utilized numerous racial slurs while gaming with Arin “Egoraptor” Hanson for a Game Grumps video. When his fellow gamer tried to stop the barrage of racist insults, JonTron only increased his usage of the slurs, resulting in the final video featuring quite a bit of censoring before being deleted from the channel. Shortly after the incident, Game Grumps abruptly announced his departure from the channel, though the official reason given was that he chose to leave to pursue a solo career.

By 2017, he decided to start directly voicing his ignorant views. His problematic views began gaining traction after he defended Republican politician Steve King’s anti-immigration statement. King stated, “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” The hateful and inflammatory statement quickly drew backlash. Then, JonTron decided to weigh in, defending King’s statement while promoting the claim that America is at risk of being “invaded by people who have contempt” for the country’s “culture and people.”

Instead of reconsidering his stance upon receiving backlash, JonTron doubled down on his viewpoints during a two-hour debate with streamer Steven Bonnell, who goes by Destiny online. The entire debate is difficult to watch as JonTron makes numerous outright racist and anti-immigration statements. Some of his false and controversial statements include claiming that “wealthy Black” individuals commit more crimes than “poor white” individuals, that minorities are turning Americans against each other, that discrimination doesn’t exist in Western countries, and that it’s normal for white individuals to want to continue being the demographic majority.

His shocking statements were quickly reported on by countless media outlets and gained traction on Reddit, with many users declaring they could no longer support the gamer. JonTron never apologized for his remarks during the debate, although he did issue a statement claiming his views were taken out of context and misinterpreted. Shortly after this incident, JonTron was removed from NormalBoots’ network without explanation.

Meanwhile, he began voicing further harmful views during the COVID-19 pandemic. He made numerous social media posts questioning the safety of the vaccine and even pushing the false belief that Dr. Anthony Fauci caused the outbreak. JonTron concluded by claiming he wasn’t trying to influence anyone’s decision to get vaccinated and was merely participating in “public discourse.” However, many perceived his posts as bordering on anti-vaccine.

Since then, he has not been involved in any further controversies. Additionally, he got away with his racist statements largely unscathed, as his YouTube channel continued growing. Still, he did lose out on two collaborations that helped him gain fame, and his subscriber count has stagnated in recent years. As mentioned above, his actions don’t gain much attention anymore outside of his existing fans. In fact, his name is arguably more commonly associated with his controversial views than the video game reviews he did years ago.

It’s difficult to know in what sense JonTron’s fans believe he has “won.” Largely getting away with making racist and xenophobic statements isn’t the kind of “win” someone should be boasting about. It’s also not really “winning” when his controversial past is basically the only way he makes it into public discourse nowadays.

(featured image: JonTronShow/YouTube)


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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.