PewDiePie tells his fans to stop with the “subscribe to PewDiePie” meme

More than a month since the New Zealand mosque murders, Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg has now acknowledged that, maybe, the link – however questionable – between his name and white supremacist violence has become kind of awkward.

“To have my name associated with something so unspeakably vile has affected me in more ways than I’ve let shown,” he explains in a video uploaded to YouTube over the weekend. “I just didn’t want to address it right away, and I didn’t want to give the terrorist any more attention. I didn’t want to make it about me, because I don’t think it has anything to do with me. To put it plainly, I didn’t want hate to win.

“But it’s clear to me now the ‘subscribe to PewDiePie’ movement should have ended then.”

The alleged perpetrator Branton Tarrant livestreamed the shootings on Facebook, and told viewers to “subscribe to PewDiePie” before killing 50 muslims. In response to the event, a petition was launched on to remove PewDiePie’s channel from YouTube, citing this and a number of other controversies. And in response to the petition, Kjellberg denounced it as “blatantly misrepresenting and misinforming people”, but you can click the links provided and decide for yourself. More than 90,000 people have since signed it.

The meme started in 2018 as a campaign to keep Kjellberg’s YouTube channel at the top of service’s subscriber counts, with Bollywood music video channel T-Series expected to overtake him at the time. The independent content producer versus corporate exploitation is a provocative premise, perhaps, but because it’s the internet, some people got… over-zealous and stupid about it – a WW2 memorial in New York, for example, was subsequently defaced with “subscribe to PewDiePie” graffiti, and hackers compromised the Wall Street Journal and Chromecast devices with the same promos.

“When you have 90 million people riled up about something,” he says, “you’re bound to get a few degenerates.”

Despite these endeavours, the T-Series channel now has approximately one million more subscribers than PewDiePie.

“Some people, and some media,” he claims, have made this about “race or about politics or nationality. I don’t agree with that at all and I want that to stop. This negative rhetoric is something I don’t agree with at all. To make it perfectly clear, no I’m not racist, no I don’t support any form of racist comments or hate toward anyone.

“This movement started out of love and support, so let’s end it with that.”

So that’s nice, I guess, but it’s also kind of hard to empathise with him. This guy has a history of making racist and antisemitic “jokes”, and now he’s totally dismayed that his subscribers include white supremacists and nazis? Stop blaming “the media” and take some responsibility, my dude.

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