YouTube star PewDiePie loses Disney support over anti-Semitic videos
UPI News Service, 02/14/2017
Disney has cut ties with YouTube star PewDiePie after the online personality released several videos featuring anti-Semitic content.
The videos in question contain scenes of two men holding up a sign that reads "Death to All Jews" while another features a man dressed as Jesus who proclaims "Hitler did nothing wrong."
Other videos contain swastikas, photos of Hitler, audio of the Nazi Party anthem and a "Sieg Heil" voiceover.
PewDiePie is reported to have paid the men through freelance website Fiverr to take part in the acts.
PewDiePie, real name Felix Kjellberg, is associated with Disney who owns Maker Studios, a company that works with a collection of YouTube stars to help promote and create their content.
"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," a spokeswoman for the company said in a statement to Forbes.
PewDiePie has taken down three of the nine videos featuring the anti-Semitic content while YouTube has pulled ads from at least one.
In response, PewDiePie has written on Tumblr that he was "trying to show how crazy the modern world is, specifically some of the services available online."
"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 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 continued.
"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."
An internet sensation, PewDiePie has 53 million subscribers on YouTube and has amassed 14 billion views, more than anyone else on the site.
Through advertisements, merchandise, and his book "This Book Loves You," he is said to have made $15 million last year.
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