Google has joined Disney in severing ties with PewDiePie, one of the world’s most popular online influencers, after a piece of content featured anti-Semitic slogans.
The Swedish vlogger – real name Felix Kjellberg – posted a prank video last month in which he paid two Indian men to pose with a sign stating, “Death to all Jews,” while another dressed as Jesus Christ and claimed, “Hitler did absolutely nothing wrong.”
After being confronted by The Wall Street Journal about the video, Disney’s Maker Studio quickly announced that it was dropping PewDiePie from its roster. In a statement, the firm said that while Kjellberg is known for his “provocative and irreverent” content, he had “gone too far” in creating such “inappropriate” videos.
The situation is all the more frustrating for Google-owned YouTube: PewDiePie is its most popular creator, having stacked up nearly 15 billion video views and gained 53 million follower. Kjellberg was also a key part of the platform’s YouTube Red subscription service, which launched last year.
However, it too has confirmed it will scale down its relationship with the vlogger, cancelling the release of the second season of its ‘Scare PewDiePie’ series and removing the PewDiePie channel from its Google Preferred “brand-safe” advertising programme.
Kjellberg himself has commented on a Tumblr blog that his videos should be viewed as “entertainment”, rather than “serious political commentary”, and that he was satirising the fact that “people on [digital marketplace] Fiverr would say anything for $5”.