YouTube star dropped over anti-semitic jokes

Disney and YouTube itself have moved to cut ties with PewDiePie

YouTube star dropped over anti-semitic jokes

PewDiePie, real name Felix Kjellberg. Picture by Hannah McKay PA Archive/PA Images

Disney has dropped its links with YouTube's biggest star after his videos featured a number of anti-semitic jokes.

The Disney-owned Maker Studios had been linked with Felix Kjellberg - known to millions as PewDiePie.

The Swedish video-maker's YouTube channel is the most subscribed on the streaming site, and recently passed 50 million subscribers.

Mostly focusing on video game content, Kjellberg remains the most prominent YouTube personality and, according to Forbes, earned an estimated $15 million last year.

As the Wall Street Journal reported, a number of recent videos published by the 27-year-old had contained anti-semitic remarks and jokes.

In the most controversial of the videos, Kjellberg paid two South Asian men to hold up a sign saying 'death to all Jews'.

The YouTube star had been highlighting the service 'Fiverr', which is a popular online marketplace that allows individuals to charge five dollars for a variety of services (such as a short video).

Watching the video from the two men during his own video, Kjellberg said: “I’m not anti-semitic or whatever it’s called. It was a funny meme, and I didn’t think it would work.”

Kjellberg later argued he was looking to flag how "crazy the modern world is [...] I picked something that seemed absurd to me - that people on Fiverr would say anything for 5 dollars".

"He clearly went too far"

The video and a number of others have since been deleted. Variety also reports that the Google-owned YouTube has dropped a PewDiePie reality show from its premium service, while Kjellberg's main channel has also been dropped from YouTube's premium advertising programme.

In a statement quoted by Variety, Maker Studios said: “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.”

In a Tumblr post, Kjellberg explained: "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.

"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 added: "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."

The two men who made the controversial video have since apologised saying they did not know what the message meant. After an online campaign led by PewDiePie, their Fiverr account has been reinstated after a brief ban.