Pewdiepie apologises for “Death to All Jews” gag, lashes out at Wall Street Journal

5 min read

This week as undoubtedly been dominated by Pewdiepie, and more importantly what has been happening to the YouTube sensation. Earlier this week Disney, the owners of network Maker, dropped Pewdiepie from their portfolio. A few hours later, YouTube took their own action – removing his channel from their “brand-safe” premium advertising program, and cancelling the second season of his YouTube Red exclusive show, Scare Pewdiepie. Now Pewdiepie, or Felix Kjellberg, is having his say.

In a lengthy video addressing the furore kicked up over videos that have since been deleted, Kjellberg issued an apology. Considering the culmination of the outrage spawns from a video feature two people holding up a sign reading “Death to All Jews”, it made sense for Kjellberg to tackle this head on. He apologised for the joke, acknowledging that he had taken things too far. Better still, the content creator said he plans to learn from the divisive reception the video received.

“A lot of people loved the video and a lot of people didn’t and it’s almost like two generations of people arguing if this is okay or not. My intention was just to show how stupid the website is and how far you can push it by paying $5. I’m sorry for the words that I used, as I know they offended people, and I admit the joke itself went too far.”

The apology itself was not the entire purpose of the video though. From the outset, Kjellberg makes it clear that he’s upset with the way the media have portrayed him here, and more importantly how its been that way for sometime. Kjellberg implies that the media are only interested in headlines, citing examples where only his enormous wealth made it into stories concerning him. “Old-school media does not like internet personalities, because they’re scared of us,” says Kjellberg.

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Kjellberg continues, pointing out how he’s donated millions to charities through his years of popularity, all of which have rarely been reported on. He uses this later as a springboard to address the core subject of the video: his dissatisfaction with the manner in which events transpired this week. Considering the Wall Street Journal were the ones who pressed Disney and Google for comments on Kjellberg’s content, he says their line of reporting as the reason for why things took such a nasty turn.

In addition to that, Kjellberg states that the content in question was all taken out of context. The “Death to All Jews” video, which caused the most uproar, was part of a bit to test the extents of websites Fivver – a freelance website that allows users to pay $5 for simple requests. Kjellberg also references a snippet where he’s in fact asking fans to stop putting swastikas into a game, which was left out of the Wall Street Journal report. In another, Kjellberg references the tail end of a video, showing him in army dress and watching Hitler speeches, which specifically dealt with media’s tendency to take content out of context in the crux of the video.

Pewdiepie apologies for controversial video, lashes out at media 2

In short, Kjellberg feels as though the Wall Street Journal used evidence without contextual background to misrepresent him. And on that front, he certainly seems well within his rights to be angry about that, which is visibly clear by the end of the video.

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Despite that, Kjellberg acknowledges perhaps why Disney and Google were forced to do what they did, while also coming to terms with the fact that he may have stepped a little too far over the line this time. This doesn’t detach the videos from the ramifications they’ve had (Kjellberg noted that he had no idea the video were being used on a Pro-Nazi website, and pointed towards his Tumblr post on the 12th that distanced himself from that use), but it at the very least shows that he understands why they might have been problematic in the first place.

For that, Kjellberg deserves a little respect. His business has taken a knock and his slippery relationship with the media en masse has certainly soured, but the acknowledgement of fault here shouldn’t go unnoticed. Whether it helps him change in the future is difficult to predict, but it’s not always easy to admit to some fault when being treated unfairly at the same time.

Last Updated: February 17, 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.

  • konfab

    It is all clickbait journalism. You lot fall for it as well.

    Did anyone at CH watch any of the offending videos to get their own opinion of them?

    • Alessandro Barbosa

      Yes, and our reports weren’t accusatory. They simply reported on the fact that he had been dropped by both Disney, and then later by YouTube. Those two instances are (at least for now) still true.

      My question would now be why that happened, if the context so blatantly showed that nothing was wrong. The WSJ pressed them for answers, but surely if they investigated it thoroughly (which I assume is the case, since Felix understands their position), then they might not have found grounds to take action. Alternatively, they understood the context and still found the instances in question to be out of line, which is something Felix even apologizes for.

      That’s the really confusing portion to me. Felix has every right to be mad at things being taken out of context, but it seems strange that he’s fine with the action that was taken because of it. There’s more to this that’s still sitting somewhere.

      • HairyEwok

        But like PDP said, probably the only reason they did sack him is due to WSJ pushing Disney and Youtube into a corner and asking them what they’re going to do about the issue.

        • Alessandro Barbosa

          If that’s the entire truth, I would assume he’d be mad at both of them for not defending his position. My assumption is that they made the same mistake, and perhaps didn’t look further than the evidence WSJ presented. Which, in any case, wouldn’t make me happy with their action if it were against me, at the very least.

      • Admiral Chief

        …or perhaps he has enough money and couldn’t be bothered with drama?

        • HairyEwok

          He does point out that he makes millions, he also points out that he gives millions back to charity, but WSJ and other journal sites know they won’t get huge amounts of clicks on a positive story.
          What I’m trying to get to here is that unfortunately bad/scandalous news pulls way more revenue than good news, and online sites use it to their advantage to make some money out of other peoples misfortune.

        • Alessandro Barbosa

          Also true, but I imagine he’d like to still have those relationships with Disney and Google.

          • Admiral Chief

            If someone gives you shit, undeservedly, would you accept them back willingly or reluctantly?

          • Member Berry Bob

            Depends on how much he/she/[insert your appropriate pronoun here] cost the company concerned. In Disney’s case, if all they need to do is fire him to be seen as “doing something” then it cost them very little. After this blows over they could still, if they wanted to, make a side deal with Pewdiepie and tap into those millions. Companies are in it for the profit, Disney is no different.

  • Admiral Chief

    “it’s not always easy to admit to some fault when being treated unfairly at the same time.”

    Damn straight

  • HairyEwok

    WSJ and many other online journal websites have sunk down to the level of clickbait. Yes what pewdiepie did was wrong but he did it for a reason, just like his previous videos are pointed at those clickbait journalists.

    • Admiral Chief

      Indeed, if even a tenth of what I say is used against me out of context, I’ll be sent to jail for six thousand years

      • HairyEwok

        True, but luckily you’re not famous and not contracted by a multi-billion dollar company, unless Crit is a multi-billion dollar company and we just don’t know it.

        • Admiral Chief

          I’m filthy rich, just dicking around here every day to waste time, since I don’t know what to spend all my mountains of money on

          [cries on the inside, a little bit]

          • HairyEwok

            Well, I could help you lessen the burden, I’ve got plenty of things that i would love to have.

    • Yeah, look. WSJ vilified him, but context isn’t an excuse to make racist jokes. He made valid points – that he could have done in completely different ways.

      • konfab

        If I took a few sentences from the Koran and posted them here as example of how hateful Islam is towards non-believers, every SJW go into full defensive mode of how those sentences needed context.

        Here is one such sentence:
        “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”

        • “And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him”

          Bloody christian bible calling for people to be killed…

          • Admiral Chief

            Context dude, context

          • GooseZA

            I think that was his point.

          • For the Emperor!

            One of my issues with many religious texts (especially the Bible since that was part of my conservative upbringing) are the inconsistencies contained within. As well as the hypocrisy of many thumpers, who pick and choose what THEY feel is right and ignore the rest that doesn’t jell with them. And o boy when they take things out of context. This clip is one of my favourites on the web:


          • 2 wrongs don’t make a right!

          • Thats_How_I_Troll

            And how is this any different?

        • I’m as atheist as you get, really – and I have some pretty big issues with most dogma.

      • Do you share the same opinion of Trey Parker, Matt Stone or Seth MacFarlane?

      • I agree that context and intent matter – and the context amd the intent weren’t especially malicious. I also think the result matters – and people who espouse nazi ideologies have taken his action as some sort of galvansiing point. He did distance himself from that, so that’s good.

        • From my point of view it comes down to interpretation. That’s why this got so out of hand. The media, as Felix stated and supported, doesn’t exactly help either by skewing the context in a such a way as to incite a negative interpretation.

      • HairyEwok

        I fully agree on that, he could’ve used a different non-racist joke with the same or even better effect, that specific joke he did has a second side to it apparently, the fivver guys never wrote the entire message. According to his buddy H3H3 it should’ve said “death to all jews, subscribe to keemstar”.

  • Probably need to add some trigger warnings to the top of this post to save the conservatives from having flashbacks

    • HairyEwok
      • xD

        Would watch 100 more times!

        • HairyEwok

          Drama, drama never changes XD

          • And what a week of drama it was xD

      • oh you bastard. this thing still KILLS me!

    • For the Emperor!

      The article content should not trigger anything I think (I am an open minded guy but come from a serious conservative background). Don’t know about the video though since I don’t watch this guys stuff.

  • Thats_How_I_Troll

    And counting…
    In short: Rewrite notes from previous gazillion articles, adds apology. These articles are starting to feel like the ones on News24

    • BakedBagel

      Its easy with an RSS feed

  • I think he is pretty adult in his response to this. Say forgive and move on.

    • I almost got upset until I remembered there are other youtubers out there. No one is forcing you to watch this guy xD

      • Agreed. I think the point is that there are Nazi groups out there that we are also not forced to watch, but bring bad elements to the world. So making sure they don’t get space on youtube is important.

  • Well played Pewds. Over a million upvotes already too.

    Gotta love that sensationalism before both sides of a story come out.

  • miaau

    Want to be treated “fairly”? If you can define it then, you can have it. Oh, and the definition must be world and culture spanning, my friend, as you are in the public eye across the world and across cultures.

    So, no being “fair” then.

    Silly question, Mr PewPew, why not stick to, I dunno games and doing silly stuff? Have you decided what you want to be? An activist, changing minds and hearts, reaching out? Is that what you want?

    • Dresden

      I actually remember watching a video where he explains why he doesn’t want to play games so much anymore. Won’t try to explain, you can watch if curiosity strikes you.
      (If you do, skip to 2:38 to start hearing his explanation)

      • miaau

        Ok, well. I have no knowledge outside of the media, hence i posed questions without trying to answer them.

        • Dresden

          I know the question was more a joke, thought I would just leave this here if you were curious.
          I’m actually not too bothered with this entire drama seeing as I have enough drama in my life xD

          • miaau

            Yeah, the trick is to read the news, see all the bad things and all that, and still live your own life, with your own problems.

            I sometimes struggle with that, you know bringing work anger home and that sort of thing. Good skil to have, the ability to be involved in things like that (reporters, counsellors et al) and be able to :”switch off” to have your own life.

  • BakedBagel

    So when will we see an apology then?

    Edit: From yall.

    • Alessandro Barbosa

      An apology for what? Our reporting was based on him being dropped by Disney and YouTube. That’s still true

  • Banana Jim’s Final Form!

    At the end of the day, it’s already backfired on the Wall Street Journal. We all know they’re losing money, and that’s not going to change even if they continue to adopt the Gawker approach to “journalism”. You have to hand it to Pewdiepie: He has balls of steel (Great massive balls). His subscription numbers shot up this week. He’s given his detractors the middle finger and even if Youtube removes monetisation from his videos (which lets be honest, they won’t), they’ll ultimately be poorer for potentially pushing one of their most successful users to their competitors.

    Make no mistake, if the pie left youtube, his subscribers will go with him. That’s 50 million subs! He’s practically running a modestly sized country.

  • Kenn Gibson

    Clickbait.. hoo ha ha…..

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