Disney Drops YouTube Star PewDiePie for Posting Anti-Semitic Content
Maker Studios, a Disney-owned multi-channel network, announced this week that it has stopped working with Swedish YouTube star Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, known as PewDiePie, after he posted several videos containing offensive imagery.
The most recent instance occurred in a video that Kjellberg uploaded on Jan. 11, in which he discussed a series of services he purchased online, including having paid two men make and hold up a sign displaying an anti-Semitic message in a video. The Wall Street Journal reportedly found nine videos by Kjellberg that featured this type of content.
Over the weekend, Kjellberg took to Tumblr to respond:
“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 (sic) that and that is why they come to my channel. Though this was not my intention, I understand that these jokes were ultimately offensive,” he wrote. “As laughable as it is to believe that I might actually endorse these people, to anyone unsure on my standpoint regarding hate-based groups: No, I don’t support these people in any way.”
On Monday, a Maker Studios spokesperson told Variety, “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. Maker Studios has made the decision to end our affiliation with him going forward.”
Kjellberg is YouTube’s most popular creator, with more than 53 million subscribers. In December, he posted a video saying he would delete his account once he reached 50 million subscribers, but he only did away with his second channel after several days of press coverage. Last year, he launched his own network, Revelmode, under the Maker Studios auspices.