UPDATED: The haters have spoken: In less than a week, YouTube Rewind 2018 — its year-in-review mashup — has registered the most dislikes of any video on the platform.
As of Thursday (Dec. 13) morning, YouTube Rewind 2018 had notched 9.9 million dislikes after debuting Dec. 6. That pushed it above the previous record holder: Justin Bieber’s 2010 “Baby,” currently with 9.84 million dislikes.
YouTube’s Rewind is billed as a celebration of internet culture, featuring “a variety of zeitgeist-defining personalities — from mainstream celebrities to the world’s top YouTube creators to viral video stars,” according to Google. This year’s installment featured Will Smith, “Fortnite” dances and gamer Ninja front and center, along with nods to memes like Bongo Cat and “the floss” dance as well as top-trending music including K-pop sensations BTS.
Why the crashing wave of dislikes for YouTube Rewind 2018? Various theories have emerged. A big factor appears to be that a few popular — but controversial — YouTubers were excluded from Rewind.
That includes PewDiePie, the gamer-comedian who runs the No. 1 most-followed independent YouTube channel now with over 76 million subscribers. (PewDiePie’s chair, however, makes a brief appearance.) PewDiePie’s Bro Army likely helped drive up the dislikes. He’s gained millions of new fans in the last few months as he rallies to fend off getting topped by T-Series. PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, has courted controversy; his anti-Semitic-themed pranks last year prompted YouTube to cut business ties with him.
“I remember [when] Rewind was something that, it seemed at least, like an homage to the creators that year,” PewDiePie comments in a Dec. 7 reaction video. “Now I’m almost glad I’m not in it, because it’s such a cringe-y video at this point. It’s so disconnected with the community and its creators.”
Other big names omitted from YouTube Rewind 2018 were Shane Dawson (who released a highly viewed documentary series about Jake Paul) and Logan Paul, who’s been on the outs with YouTube after his over-the-line videos including one showing the dead body of a person who died by suicide. The boxing bout between Logan Paul and British YouTuber KSI also was ignored in Rewind.
Celebrity appearances in YouTube Rewind 2018 include Will Smith, who opens the episode with a reference to his YouTube live-streamed bungee jump over the Grand Canyon to raise money for charity. Others included Trevor Noah, John Oliver, Marshmello, Adam Rippon and Trixie Mattel. It’s likely the more-mainstream-than-ever flavor of Rewind 2018 also fueled the haters.
This year’s YouTube Rewind includes over 100 YouTube creators, including Marques Brownlee, Liza Koshy, James Charles, Casey Neistat, The Dolan Twins, Ninja, Lilly Singh, Emma Chamberlain, Markiplier, Lachlan, WhinderssonNunes, Fischer’s, Noor Stars, Pautips, and FAP TV.
Brownlee, in a tweet Monday, summed up the backlash like this: “Creators want YouTube Rewind to be a celebration of YouTubers and the biggest/best stuff on the platform that year. YouTube wants Rewind to be a couple minutes they can show to advertisers and say ‘look at all the great stuff over here that you want to spend your dollars on!'”
In a statement about the record-breaking number of dislikes, a YouTube rep said, “Honest feedback can suck, but we are listening and we appreciate how much people care. Trying to capture the magic of YouTube in one single video is like trying to capture lightning in a bottle. We also learned that creating content can be really hard and this underscores our respect and admiration for YouTube creators doing it every day. Keep the feedback coming and maybe we’ll release a top 10 list of ‘Rewind dislike’ reaction videos.”
YouTube Rewind 2018 is set to an original music mashup from The Hood Internet featuring top songs and viral hits of the year including “I Like It,” “Idol,” “In My Feelings,” “High Hopes” and “Happier.”
According to YouTube, Rewind videos have been viewed over 1 billion times since 2012, and the 2016 and 2017 editions were each viewed over 200 million times. The mashup videos have been produced for YouTube by digital studio Portal A since 2012.
YouTube Rewind 2018 (watch below and at this link) has generated over 120 million views in one week:
The YouTubeInsider account also tweeted an apology of sorts for YouTube Rewind 2018, with lyrics set to Bieber’s “Baby” (starting with the Ludacris rap section):