Tuesday, February 14, 2017
YouTube sensation PewDiePie gained notoriety for his crass commentary, but now he’s facing backlash for a series of videos viewers say crossed the line.
The YouTube star, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, posted nine anti-Semitic videos to his channel, which has 53-million subscribers, according the Wall Street Journal. The videos either had anti-Semitic jokes or imagery related to Nazis, including a banner that said “Death to all Jews.”
His most significant blow came on Monday when Disney announced that it was dropping the 27-year-old Swede. The company had reportedly inked a multi-million dollar deal with Kjellberg.
“Although Felix has created a following by being provocative and irreverent, he clearly went too far in this case and the resulting videos are inappropriate,” a spokesperson for Disney’s Maker Studios told the Journal.
Kjellberg defended the controversial posts in a video where he argues there is a difference between racism and comedy.
“It’s 2017 now and we are going to have to start separating what is a joke and what is actually problematic,” he said. “Is a joke actually pure racism? Is a joke something that would be considered pure homophobia or anti-Semitic?”
However, the YouTube star deleted the Jan. 11 video that included the “Death to all Jews” banner.
On Sunday, he backtracked on Tumblr and admitted that the “jokes were ultimately offensive,” according to the Journal.
Kjllberg is often cited as one of YouTube’s top earners, making an estimated $14.5 million a year.