If you spend remotely any time on YouTube during your free time then I’m pretty confident that you’re familiar with PewDiePie. Since his time on YouTube, the sensational performer has amassed a massive 53+ million followers to become the most-subscribed channel. But, he is now heavily involved in a controversy over a series of videos featuring anti-semitic and Nazi references. Both Disney’s Maker Studios and YouTube Red have cut ties with Felix Kjellberg a.k.a PewDiePie due to the same.
The hubbub surrounding PewDiePie’s unjust actions were initially flagged off by Wall Street Journal, who lifted the veil of nine videos where the YouTube star had referenced anti-semitic clips and posted Nazi-related images such as swastikas, Nazi salutes, and shots of Hitler. These videos were posted on his channel in the month of January.
These videos showed a man dressed as Jesus shouting “Hitler did absolutely nothing wrong” and another one showing two Sri Lankan men holding up a sign board that read “Death to All Jews.” Both of these videos were created by PewDiePie in an attempt to show that a modern day online service can be used to brew up anything crazy. And it could even be as crazy and hateful as holding up a sign reiginiting the fires of World War II.
Talking about their stance on this behavior, a Maker Studio spokesperson says,
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.
But Felix, through his tumbr, said that he was just doing his usual mockery and picked up something that seemed absurd to him. He hired the people starring (or being used) in his videos, which hold him credible for supporting the anti-Semitic movement, through the widely popular app called Fiverr. This app, he says, allows you to hire people who’d do anything to earn five dollars. And he further denies support for these kind of hateful attitudes. He continues to add,
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.
Though Maker Studio, which was picked up by Disney for $675 million in 2014, had an exclusive network for Felix within their network has now decided to sever ties with the YouTube star. But, this isn’t the largest blow to hit PewDiePie square in the face as YouTube is shedding its support for the said creator. His humorous videos filled with anti-semitic messages and Nazi-related imagery hasn’t fit well for his corporate partners as YouTube is also cutting its relationship with their most famous star.
As for their current business relation, YouTube had completed shooting the second season for their Red-exclusive original web series ‘Scare PewDiePie’ but it has now been cancelled. PewDiePie was one of the major signings for producing and pushing content on YouTube’s then-recently launched ad-free subscription service.
In the aformentioned show, Kjellberg was subject to several terrifying real-life experiences and his reactions — the secret sauce behind his popularity and subscriber count — were recorded during the process. But, the second season for the same will no longer be made available on YouTube Red. Talking about this decision, a YouTube spokesperson says,
We’ve decided to cancel the release of “Scare PewDiePie” Season 2 and we’re removing the PewDiePie channel from Google Preferred.
Also, YouTube has now decided to not play favorites and offer top-dollar advertisements to a creator who allegedly supports the anti-semitic movement. So, Felix’s channel has now been removed from Google Preferred — the video giant’s ad program which aggregates the top talent into easy-to-buy packages aimed at brand advertisers looking for certain categories. PewDiePie will still be able to run advertisements on his videos but it would no longer fetch him the highest revenues.
The video streaming giant isn’t taking any stringent steps to remove PewDiePie’s YouTube channel or his 53+ million subscribers from their platform. It has currently removed three videos featuring the Nazi imagery or anti-semitic material. And there seems to be no other setback than the fact that PewDiePie may no longer be the highest earning YouTuber, if things don’t look up for him in the coming days.