Swedish YouTube sensation PewDiePie, aka Felix Kjellberg, who has 53 million subscribers, has now been dropped from contracts with Disney, Google, and more for anti-Semitic videos and language that he called humor. PewDiePie, whose followers are largely teenage boys attracted to his off-beat combination of humor and gaming, was first fired from Disney-owned Maker Studios.
Hate speech, white supremacy, and anti-Semitism are on the rise lately, as seen in the recent resurgence of alt-right and white nationalist groups, says the Inquisitr. The restaurant Maggiano’s was recently put in the awkward and regrettable position of holding a “White Nationalist” dinner, where people did the Nazi salute, and posted photos on social media. The reservation was made under a fake name, but people gathered outside to protest.
A spokesman from Disney-owned Maker Studios released a statement, expressing their disappointment and desire to distance themselves from Kjellberg/PewDiePie from here on out, according to Variety. Disney insisted that even though PewDiePie is known to be provocative, he crossed a line with his hate speech.
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“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.”
In the popular judgement, the videos make little sense, as PewDiePie paid people in India to hold up signs that read “Death to All Jews.” In response, Google pulled all advertising from Kjellberg/PewDiePie’s pages, but PewDiePie defended it as “funny.” After being dropped, he now claims he understands how the videos might have been offensive.
“I was trying to show how crazy the modern world is, specifically some of the services available online. I picked something that seemed absurd to me — that people on (crowd-sourcing platform) Fiverr would say anything for 5 dollars.”
The Washington Post detailed the video, which has now been pulled, which contained men in loincloths holding signs with the aforementioned anti-Semitic slurs. The Post also quoted PewDiePie who insists he is not an anti-Semite.
“I’m not anti-Semitic or whatever it’s called. It was a funny meme, and I didn’t think it would work.”
YouTube confirmed that they have cancelled the second season of Kjellberg’s original series Scare PewDiePie. Additionally, PewDiePie’s channel has been removed from the Google Preferred service.
In another video, Kjellberg/PewDiePie included a clip from a Hitler speech and posted swastikas drawn by his fans in support. PewDiePie then played the Nazi anthem, and then gave a “very brief Nazi salute with a Hitler voice-over saying ‘Sieg Heil’ and the text ‘Nazi Confirmed.'” YouTube’s policy clearly states that they will not allow hate speech.
But even though PewDiePie alleges that he is not an anti-Semite, publications such as the Daily Stormer, a Neo-Nazi blog, have embraced him and come to his defense, citing free speech while applauding his efforts.
“He could be doing all this only to cause a stir things up and get free publicity. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter, since the effect is the same; it normalizes Nazism, and marginalizes our enemies.”
After learning of his growing support from hate groups, Kjellberg released another statement claiming no affiliation with white nationalist or Neo-Nazi groups.
“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.”
But on Twitter, it seems that PewDiePie’s followers don’t get it, as they are still defending the videos.
Do you think that Disney and Google were correct to cut ties with PewDiePie/Kjellberg?
[Featured Image by John Lamparski/Getty Images]