The Disney Corporation has decided over the weekend to drop popular YouTube sensation PewDiePie, or Felix Kjellberg, 27, from Sweden, over alleged anti-Semetic video content posted on his channel.
The current highest paid YouTube celebrity posted a minimum of nine seemingly offensive videos on his channel in the past six months, including one video featuring two men from India holding up a sign that says, “Death to all Jews”.
PewDiePie’s Rise to Fame
The YouTube sensation earned $15 million last year alone, and has over 53 million subscribers on his channel, which predominately features him playing video games. His videos have been watched more than 14 billion times, the most out of anyone else on the video sharing site.
In 2016 his earnings were obtained through sponsorships, advertising, merchandise and appearance fees. He joined a business venture with Disney’s Maker Studios in 2014.
The company has now dropped the star for posting what they believe to be racist video content, which he had called “a joke gone too far”.
One of the videos features a man in clothing meant to look like Jesus saying, “Hitler did nothing wrong”. Other videos portray images of swastikas and Hitler, as Kjellberg wore a “Make America Great Again” hat.
A spokeswoman who works for Maker Studies said to the Wall Street Journal: “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.”
As a result, PewDiePie took down three out of the nine video clips from his channel.
Google, YouTube’s parent company, previously pulled advertisements from one of the videos.
Last Sunday, Kjellberg uploaded a blog post he said would “clear some things up”, mentioning that he intended his comments to be jokes:
“I think it’s important to say something and I want to make one thing clear: I am in no way supporting any kind of hateful attitudes,” he stated. “Though this was not my intention, I understand that these jokes were ultimately offensive.”
“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.”