Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Disney has ended its relationship with YouTube celebrity Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg over a series of anti-semitic videos, including Nazi salutes, swastikas, random footage of Hitler’s speeches, and one that features two men holding up a sign that reads “DEATH TO ALL JEWS”, which Kjellberg apparently paid them to do as a “joke”. Okay.
Disney owns video production company Maker Studios, the operator of Kjellberg’s Revelmode network, so it’s kind of a big deal.
“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,” a company rep told The Wall Street Journal, adding the Kjellberg had full editorial independence as part of their business agreement. “Maker Studios has made the decision to end our affiliation with him going forward.”
The company has subsequently removed all references to Kjellberg from its website.
The Wall Street Journal also compiled some of the videos.
“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,” Kjellberg explained in a statement on Tumblr. “That people on Fiverr would say anything for 5 dollars.
“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 didn’t apologise. Meanwhile, over on actual, literal Nazi website The Daily Stormer (content warning: actual, literal Nazis), actual, literal Nazis are proclaiming Kjellberg an actual, literal Nazi, so maybe he doesn’t know his audience as well as he’d thought.