Concerning the various controversies surrounding the popular YouTube celebrity known as PewDiePie, it may be time to add one more.
A page on the Wall Street Journal‘s website was hacked Monday, replaced with a message appearing in support of the entertainer — and his quest to achieve the largest subscriber count on YouTube. After PewDiePie tweeted the message to his Twitter audience, the page was removed, Variety reported.
“WallStreet Journal would like to apologize to pewdiepie,” the hacked message read. “Due to misrepresentation by our journalists, those of whom have now been fired, we are sponsoring pewdiepie to reach maximum subscribers and beat Tseries to 80million. We also need your credit card number, expiry date, and the lucky 3 digits on the back to win the chicken dinner in fortnite.” The message also included a subscription link for PewDiePie’s YouTube channel.
The hacked site was not a Wall Street Journal news site, but rather one associated with the newspaper’s sponsored content operation — specifically for content from Oracle. It’s unclear if PewDiePie personally endorsed the hack, or if it was merely supporters of his. The YouTuber, according to a Wired report last week, has an “army” of hackers, individuals who have hacked printers around the world on a couple of recent occasions in order to print out pro-PewDiePie messages.
The YouTuber’s fans have been especially critical of the Wall Street Journal‘s reporting on him, going back to 2017, when they first reported on an anti-Semitism controversy involving PewDiePie. Later that year, he apologized for using the n-word on a gaming stream, per PC Gamer.
PewDiePie, a Swedish-born 29-year-old whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, has more than 75 million YouTube subscribers. He has been criticized in the past for using racist and anti-Semitic words, which led Disney-owned Maker Studios to cut ties with PewDiePie in 2017. More recently, he has drawn fire for linking to another YouTube channel, called E;R, that’s said to be affiliated with the alt-right — according to Vox.
This comes amid a recent wave of attention surrounding alleged political radicalism that’s been happening on a large scale via Google-owned YouTube.
The recent hacks have had more to do with PewDiePie’s feud with an Indian channel called T-Series, which mostly posts Bollywood videos, over which of their channels has more subscribers on the platform.
In recent weeks, according to a New York magazine account, PewDiePie’s fans encouraged dislikes of YouTube’s official year-end video — one which had omitted PewDiePie — leading that video to become one of the most disliked on the platform.