Disney cuts ties with Pewdiepie after a slew of anti-Semitic videos

4 min read

Pewdiepie dumped by Disney over anti-semitic videos 2

Felix Kjellberg, more commonly known as Pewdiepie, is no stranger to controversy. In his rise to becoming the most subscribed to content creator on YouTube (by a large margin), Kjellberg has made his fair share of mistakes. But with a trio of videos that have now been deleted, Disney has had enough. According to the Wall Street Journal, Disney, who own the Marker Network that Kjellberg was signed up to, have dumped the YouTuber after he made strong anti-Semitic content, all in the name of internet troll culture.

The videos in question are no longer hosted, but each had their own form of anti-Semitic messaging (a further six still remain active, according to the report). In one, Kjellberg reacts to two freelancers (who he hired from a website called Fiverr) holding up a sign that says “Death to all Jews”. In an earlier one, Kjellberg showed a man dressed as Jesus claiming “Hitler did absolutely nothing wrong”. The most recent example comes way of a February 5th video, which featured a short Nazi salute by Kjellberg followed by a sound snippet of Hitler shouting “Sieg Heil”.

Kjellberg claims all of these videos were done in jest, but Maker wasn’t having it. According to the report, Maker have severed ties with the YouTube personality and removed all mention of him from their website. In a statement, Maker made it clear that this was just a step too far, and that they could no longer faithfully support content with messaging such as this. In signing the deal with Maker in 2016, Kjellberg held independence in his content creation.

“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,”

Despite making comments earlier in January defending his jokes, Kjellberg posted another apology two days ago. He writes that the content was always intended as a joke, and done so in an attempt to shine light on “how crazy the modern world is”. Kjellberg states that he is “in no way supporting any kind of hateful attitudes”, despite paying people to produce messages for him to react to. The full apology can be read on his blog.

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But apologies such as this, especially in a modern time where messaging around Neo-Nazism is so volatile, are not free of consequence. Jonathan Vick, an associate director of the Anti-Defamation League who spoke to the Wall Street Journal, explained that putting this type of content out there just brings it more and more into the mainstream,”.

That’s especially true when it occurs on the world’s largest YouTube channel. A very direct result can be seen on website Daily Stormer, an outwardly neo-Nazi website that is prominent in the United States. The website recently changed its motto to “The world’s #1 PewDiePie fansite”, in reaction to the content that has since been deleted from Kjellberg’s channel.

This is the kind of association Maker, and by extension Disney, wants to strongly avoid. But it’s also indicative of how dangerous messaging can be. In an age where human rights are being argued on the basis of religious beliefs (still), Kjellberg’s content could easily be chalked up as simply tactless. But there are dire consequences that come with that, and Disney’s move might just be the first reaction to that.

Last Updated: February 14, 2017

Alessandro Barbosa

You can all call me Sandy until I figure out how to edit this thing, which is probably never. Sandy not good enough? Call me xXx_J0k3R_360degreeN0Sc0pe_xXx. Also, Geoff’s a bastard.

  • Dutch Matrix

    Hey! He should be free to say whatever he wants, right? RIGHT? Freedom of speech and all that? HUH?
    No. I guess not.

    *Edit. Guys. I am ever so sorry. This is what happens when your mind/emotions gets the best of you and you click Save instead of cancel.
    Yes, I did want to post this at first, but decided against it after common sense took hold of my mind again.

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      Oh god, are you really that dense?

      • Dutch Matrix

        Please see the edit above above? Sorry. Extra above because Disqus.

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          Okay dude 🙂

    • Umar

      Ah…dude…come on, man. His jokes include a sign literally saying death to all Jews.

      • Dutch Matrix

        Please see the edit above?

    • Alessandro Barbosa

      Yeah, let’s equate “Kill all jews” and mimicking imagery of a guy who killed millions of people from various ethnic backgrounds and religious beliefs to someone saying “oh my god” from time to time.

      Trot on dude

      • Dutch Matrix

        Please see the edit?

    • Original Heretic

      He’s still free to say what he wants, but Disney just don’t want to be associated with someone who says stuff like that.

      Though, from what I can recall, this is also rather ironic, considering that many people considered Walt Disney to be anti-Semitic.

      • Dutch Matrix

        I hear you. Say what you want, but beware of the fallout of that.

    • HvR

      The right to freedom of speech and expression does not include right that anybody needs to give 2 shits about your opinion, have to host your speech or expression or sponsor it.

    • Admiral Chief

      😀 nice edit!

  • Original Heretic

    This is so damn idiotic! PewdiePie, not the Disney dudes.

    He PAID people to do messed up anti-Jew things, so that he could react to them.
    Isn’t there enough messed up shit out there that he can source and use to react to?

    Plus, c’mon dude, making one joke about something touchy, fine. Doing it again and again? That’s just asking for it.

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      Internet trolling, meet real world.

  • konfab

    Got this off their website:
    “Maker Studios is also home to PewDiePie’s REVELMODE, a media brand focused on original content, charity, and games, including PewDiePie’s Tuber Simulator, which was #1 in the App Store.”

    • HvR

      “We will stand by our strong by our morals except if it is going to cost us too much money”

    • Alessandro Barbosa

      That could change. From what I’ve read Revelmode is owned (at least in part) by Felix. It’s financially backed by Maker, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see an announcement that changes that.

      Or not. Revelmode also encompasses many other faces.

  • For the Emperor!

    He writes that the content was always intended as a joke, and done so in an attempt to shine light on “how crazy the modern world is”

    Wow, I have seen quite a few creative, funny and thought-provoking things in recent times on the internet (especially with all the Trump shenanigans), but this is a stupid, insensitive way of trying to “shine light”. He did shine a light yes, but the light is pointed at HIM now rather than the real issues we face.

  • Gardos

    I think this raises a pretty important point on the fragility of being a one man band. I see jokes riding the rails of anti-Semitism fairly often on popular shows like Family Guy or South Park or in widely distributed films. They may get some hate from people but their business is never really affected. The networks don’t drop them. I haven’t seen any of the Pewdiepie videos in question but are the “jokes” really all that different from those made in South Park etc.?

    Please don’t think I’m defending his actions at all. I just think that major TV networks or film companies should behave in the same way as Disney did when anti-Semitic remarks are made on their shows in the name of humour. Fox, Comedy Central etc. continue to normalise these things on the shows they carry yet an independent creator is the only one to feel the burn and not the creators of major network shows.

    PS. I know the interpretation of this could be somewhat ambiguous but I’m really just trying to raise a point on the fragility of being independent and how quickly you lose support (as you rightly should) when you stuff up vs the relative stability major shows/films have when they stuff up.

    • Alessandro Barbosa

      It’s a good, salient point you raise, especially so with the example of South Park. Content like that definitely normalises some of the ideas they present as humour, and I assume seen under the same light (as an example, if Disney owned them too), the same treatment would be dished out.

      I think different networks view the extents of acceptability differently. Which, as you said, doesn’t make it acceptable. But that’s who it seems to be.

  • Wow. What a chop.

  • Craig “CrAiGiSh” Dodd

    His rich … he don’t give no FFFUUUCCCKKKSSS!!!

  • Banana Jim’s Final Form!

    I agree with the following video by fellow youtuber, H3H3. It boils down to a simple principle…. “context matters” and it’s definitely true once you actually view the “offending” videos from pewdiepie.

    As I said in a previous post:

    You don’t have to like his videos, or his opinions or his fans but the smear campaign against him is ridiculous. Without a doubt, the misrepresentation of pewdiepie (started by the Wall Street journal) is definitely going to bite the mainstream media in the butt.

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