The vlogger with 50m subscribers has been dumped by Disney and YouTube for posting anti-Jewish content.
Felix Kjellberg, aka PewDiePie, the 27-year-old Swedish Vlogger who is Youtube’s most popular star with more than 50m subscribers and is said to have earned as much as £11m last year, has just been given the hook by his paymasters after a Wall Street Journal investigation discovered nine instances of his posting anti-semitic content in his videos.
Kjellberg used the freelance jobs site Fiverr to hire 2 Indian men to hold up a banner which read “Death to all Jews”; the men, described as “shirtless and giggling” by The Times, claimed they did not know what the words meant, whilst Kjellberg himself has released a statement which read “I was trying to show how crazy the modern world is, specifically some of the services available online…I am in no way supporting any kind of hateful attitudes.”
Well… Disney aren’t impressed, and neither are YouTube; Disney owned Maker Studios, Pewdiepie’s business partner, dropped the star on Monday night – a spokesman commenting “Although Felix has created a following by being provocative and irreverent, he clearly went too far in this case and the videos are inappropriate.”
YouTube followed up by cancelling PewDiePie’s YouTube Red original show “Scare PewDiePie” and removing him from their preferred advertising program. His page is still live on YouTube, but advertisers have been given the option of choosing not to run their ads with his videos.
Kjellberg said in a blog posted to his site on Sunday night: “I make videos for my audience. I think of the content that I create as entertainment, and not a place for any serious political commentary. I know my audience understand that and that is why they come to my channel. Though this was not my intention, I understand that these jokes were ultimately offensive.”
Anyone who has watched a PewDiePie video will know that Kjellberg, who lives in Brighton, is no shrinking violet, and not afraid to take on the establishment, but giving a Nazi salute as a Hitler voice-over saying “Seig Heil” as the text “Nazi confirmed” floats across the screen?
Always gonna get you fired peeps; especially when your audience consists of 50 million teenage millennials. Think Russel Brand dressing up as Osama Bin Laden the day after 9/11.
There’s a line – and PewDiePie – an outstanding comic creation, just crossed it – perhaps its time for Kjellberg to try his hand at a different medium?