Disney, Google Cut Ties With YouTube Star PewDiePie for Posting Anti-Semitic Content
Swedish YouTube star Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, known as PewDiePie, has lost a partnership with Disney and faces restrictions from Google after posting 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.
Kjellberg is YouTube’s most popular creator, with more than 53 million subscribers. Maker Studios, a Disney-owned multi-channel network, announced this week that it has stopped working with Kjellberg. Last year, Kjellberg launched his own network, Revelmode, under the Maker Studios auspices.
While YouTube has not banned its biggest star from the platform, the site’s subscription service, YouTube Red, has cancelled the second season of Scare PewDiePie, Kjellberg’s reality series. He also can no longer participate in the Google Preferred advertising program, which is reserved for the top 5 percent of YouTube channels.
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.”