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Felix Kjellberg, better known as PewDiePie, is the biggest YouTuber in the world, with 53 million subscribers. To put that into perspective, PewDiePie has more subscribers than Canada does people (about 36 million). So it’s no wonder, with an audience that size, that big companies would want to do some dealings with him. Up until recently, Maker Studios, a subsidiary of Disney, had a deal to do a show with him. As part of the deal, Maker was producing his show as well as handling his merchandise.
According to an NME article, Disney has recently cancelled the deal with PewDiePie over anti-semitic comments in some of his videos. One video showed a man who appeared to be dressed as Jesus holding a sign that read, “Hitler did nothing wrong.” Another video showed two men, one of whom held a sign reading, “Death to all Jews.” PewDiePie allegedly hired these two men to hold this sign through an app called Fiverr, an app which allows users to hire people to do things for five dollars.
In a Tumblr post, PewDiePie responded to the backlash of his videos. He explained, “I was trying to show how crazy the modern world is, specifically some of the services available online. I picked something that seemed absurd to me—That people on Fiverr would say anything for 5 dollars.” While fans of PewDiePie’s content may know him for his absurd behavior and sense of humor, to those who don’t know him so well, these videos seemed to support anti-semitism. PewDiePie continued,
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.
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 damage was already done, however, with a spokesperson for Maker Studios telling the Wall Street Journal, “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.”