Australian YouTube remix artist Pogo has caused controversy after a homophobic video he uploaded in 2016 has surfaced online.
Pogo – real name Nick Bertke – rose to fame after his remixes of Disney films like Alice in Wonderland and Up went viral.
But this newly surfaced video, in which he voices his hatred for gay people, may be disturbing to some viewers. Shockingly, Bertke even fist-pumps as he mentions the mass-shooting at Florida’s Pulse nightclub, an LGBT+ venue, which left 49 people dead.
The Perth-based musician’s video was originally posted during the 2016 US Presidential election. Bertke explains he chose the online moniker Fagottron because “I’ve always had a thorough dislike of homosexuals”. He adds:
How best can I express to the world that gays are just an abomination?
Referencing the Orlando nightclub shooting, Bertke said:
I don’t want to really get into this, but when there was the Orlando shooting and the guy was shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ or something, I was like [fist pump].
Bertke’s fans have expressed their disgust over the clip, prompting him to respond with a new video. Bertke alleges he was simply experimenting with confronting humour, describing his behaviour as “naïve”. He said:
If I’m going to tug my tail between my legs and admit anything, it’s that these posts, these videos, and these things I’ve made for the sake of being edgy have not contributed to any productive conversation.
But the initial homophobic video is only one of many controversial statements Bertke has made, joining a slew of misogynistic videos and support for statements made by far-right activist Blair Cottrell.
Addressing allegations of misogyny, Bertke stated that he doesn’t hate women because she speaks to them all the time on Facebook Messenger. Somewhat bizarrely, he also claimed that it’s never been his intention to offend people.
Among the chorus of people calling out Bertke's actions was drag superstar Jinkx Monsoon.
Others highlighted YouTube's history of restricting LGBT+ content while allowing Bertke's video to be viewed unrestricted.