Felix Kjellberg, better known to the gaming community as PewDiePie, was dropped by Maker Studios, a subsidiary owned and operated by Disney, as well as Alphabet’s YouTube Red after a report that he had posted several videos featuring anti-Semitic imagery. One of which featured a video of two men holding up a sign that read “Death to all Jews” with PewDiePie having a reaction to the sign. It was later revealed that Kjellberg paid the men to hold up the sign for the purposes of the video’s creation. The video was posted on January 11, 2017 and was pulled from YouTube, roughly, one week ago.
After the report by The Wall Street Journal, Disney announced their severance with Felix Kjellberg. Shortly after that, YouTube announced the removal of Kjellberg from their premium advertising service and also announced the cancellation of his upcoming series Scare PewDiePie 2.
A representative from Marker Studios provided the following statement: “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.”
With 53 million subscribers, Kjellberg has amassed one of the largest audiences on YouTube by posting clips of himself playing and talking about video games accompanied by humorous commentary. According to Social Blade, PewDiePie is the most popular user on YouTube. His videos have attracted nearly 14.7 billion views. In December, Forbes magazine estimated that PewDiePie earned $15 million, thanks to his book, “This Book Loves You,” and his series on YouTube Red.
PewDiePie has since defended himself through a post on Tumblr which states: “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. Though this was not my intention, I understand that these jokes were ultimately offensive.”