PewDiePie apologises for anti-Semitic stunt after slamming the media coverage

PewDiePie

Update February 16, 2017: PewDiePie released a new video today addressing the recent controversy surrounding one of his videos, in which he paid some less-privileged people $5 to hold up a placard saying "death to all Jews". 

In the video, PewDiePie apologises for the stunt. "I want to address the biggest issue first," he says after three minutes of hitting out at the media for allegedly misrepresenting him, "which I think is the whole guys holding up the sign thing. I'm sure you've seen it, it's been everywhere. A lot of people loved the video and a lot of people didn't, and it's almost like two generations of people arguing.

"My intention was to just to show how stupid the website is and how far you can push it by paying five dollars. I'm sorry for the words that I used, as I know they offended people and I admit that the joke itself went too far."

He goes on to say that he feels that jokes shouldn't be off limits, but admits his delivery was all wrong. "I've definitely made mistakes like this before, but it's always been a growing and learning experience for me and it's something that I actually learned to really appreciate," he says. "I think this whole situation has definitely been [a learning experience] for me, and it's something that I'm going to keep in mind moving forward."

Other than that short apology, the rest of the video is spent attacking the media for their coverage of the joke. PewDiePie feels like he's been misrepresented, particularly by the outlet that broke the news. He also feels like the media jumps on any negativity while not covering the positive things he does, such as raising money for charity. 

Ultimately, he feels like this is all caused by media jealousy - their fear of becoming irrelevant in the rise of influencers. You can watch his full video here: 

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Update February 14, 2017: YouTube has canceled the second season of PewDiePie's reality show and dropped him from a premium ad scheme.

Just hours after the decision by Disney's Maker Studios to sever ties with PewDiePie (see original story, below), YouTube is now also distancing itself from its most-subscribed content creator. The Google-owned video platform has scrapped the second season of PewDiePie's reality show, Scare PewDiePie, and is removing his channel from their premium advertising scheme.

In a statement today, a YouTube spokesperson says:

“We’ve decided to cancel the release of Scare PewDiePie season two and we’re removing the PewDiePie channel from Google Preferred.”

Google Preferred is an ad service that aggregates YouTube's top channels into categorised packages, which it then offers to potential advertisers at premium rates. It assures its customers that the content of those channels is "the most engaging and brand safe" on YouTube.

Scare PewDiePie was one of the first shows on YouTube Red, YouTube's subscription service for its original programming. It was a reality show in which PewDiePie was put through frightening situations inspired by videogames, and was renewed last June. Presumably many episodes of that second season are already in the can, but it seems YouTube are willing to leave them there to disassociate themselves from PewDiePie.

Many thanks to Variety.

Original story February 14, 2017: Maker Studios, a media network owned by Disney, have cut their ties with PewDiePie after he published a number of videos with anti-Semitic jokes.

A review by the Wall Street Journal found that nine of PewDiePie’s videos over the last six months featured Nazi salutes, images of Hitler and swastikas. Last month, videos on his channel featured a man dressed as Jesus Christ saying “Hitler did absolutely nothing wrong”, and a clip of two Indian men holding up a sign saying ‘Death to all Jews’ while dancing and laughing. PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, used freelancing website Fiverr to pay the two men to do this. That video has since been removed, along with two others.

Maker Studios gave the following statement:

“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.”

To ‘clear some things up’, PewDiePie published a statement on Tumblr. With respect to the video with the sign, he says he “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 five dollars.” In that video, he is clearly shocked, said he didn’t think they would actually do it, and that he doesn't feel proud of it. 

“I make videos for my audience,” says PewDiePie in his statement. “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.

“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.”

On January 12, a few weeks before the the Wall Street Journal's review, a neo-Nazi blog (which we won't name) published an article applauding PewDiePie's content. It has since been taken down, but it said “he could be doing all this only to cause a stir things up and get free publicity... ultimately, it doesn't matter, since the effect is the same; it normalises Nazism, and marginalises our enemies.”

Jonathan Vick of the anti-defamation league, speaking to the Wall Street Journal, said of PewDiePie's content “just putting it out there brings it more and more into the mainstream... it's an especially poor choice on PewDiePie's part in a time when, remarkably, people are having very real discussions on how to deal with a resurgence in real-world Nazism.”

With over 50 million subscribers, PewDiePie is the new mainstream, and as such has to be careful about what he puts on his channel. Perhaps it's the nature of the Internet that there's no room whatsoever for subtlety where satirising hateful content is concerned.

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Shriven avatarSaiph avatarsintheticreality avatarShadowized avatarpanbient avatarDarksx avatar+7
Shriven Avatar
3368
1 Month ago

If YouTube has broken with him too, he may just go somewhere else.

2
[SOUR] Johnny Avatar
14
1 Month ago

It's starting to get on my tits how no one is even mentioning how blatant it is that this was a hit piece specifically taking bits of his content out of context to make him look bad.

Seriously, games journalism? THE video games youtuber and you wont even say a single word in his defense when people intentionally set out to attack his livelihood?

1
Anakhoresis Avatar
480
1 Month ago

Well I mean, realistically, that's playing with fire for journalists. Two large companies dumped PewDiePie over this, journalists tend to have sponsors they need. Plus, at least for PCGamesN, they put his statement on the matter, and there's not really anything else that needs to be said, is there?

I think it's one of those issues where people don't really sit on the fence about it and are going to be convinced by an article.

2
panbient Avatar
114
1 Month ago

There's a difference between journalism and advocacy. They're getting it right this time. They're reporting on what is happening without colouring it with their opinion.

Just because you don't like what's being reported doesn't change the fact that it happened. Nothing needed to be taken out of context to look bad. Seriously, even in context it looks very bad (and really stupid / childish).

1
Anakhoresis Avatar
480
1 Month ago

Well, really they kinda did.

"With over 50 million subscribers, PewDiePie is the new mainstream, and as such has to be careful about what he puts on his channel. Perhaps it's the nature of the Internet that there's no room whatsoever for subtlety where satirising hateful content is concerned."

You could argue that he shouldn't have to assume that his audience is so dense that they don't realize it's partially a joke and partially an exposé on how ridiculous the service is/can be. Pandering to the lowest common denominator makes everyone less (... Which considering his audience, makes this whole situation even more embarrassing really).

1
panbient Avatar
114
1 Month ago

Serious question - is this guy retarded?

"I've definitely made mistakes like this before, but it's always been a growing and learning experience for me"

Mistakes like this before. LIKE THIS. But it's always a growing and learning experience. How does repeating the same kind of mistakes again demonstrate having learned anything or grown at all?

1
Saiph Avatar
37
1 Month ago

Given the number of subscribers he has, I think it would be more accurate to say that PewDiePie has dumped Disney and YouTube. ;-)

0
panbient Avatar
114
1 Month ago

Given the actual size and scope of Disney I really hope he invested his initial success wisely because he just screwed himself out of anything children oriented for the rest of his career.

No other major industry player that deals with children will touch an individual with antisemitic shenanigans in their history even if it was just for the lulz or wtfs.

Seriously, it's not the early 90s, there's absolutely no need to find out just what people are willing to do for a dollar on the internet anymore. To be "shocked" by the outcome is like being surprised fire is hot.

2
sintheticreality Avatar
108
1 Month ago

I'm pretty sure he built his career by not giving a shit and making the content he wants to make, regardless of what people think.

Not everything needs to be Disney-fied to be a legitimate form of entertainment.

I tried to watch one of the guy's videos and couldn't watch more than 15 seconds of it, but clearly he has a loyal audience and those people aren't necessarily the Disney crowd.

0
panbient Avatar
114
1 Month ago

Of course not everything needs to be Disney-fied. But the fact remains he had gotten big enough to be purchased by Disney - same as they purchased those other 'minor' cultural points of interest like Star Wars and Marvel Comics. Heck they even own 80% of ESPN.

To dismiss Disney's industry clout based on online followers is just foolish.

1
Droniac Avatar
60
Droniac replied to panbient
1 Month ago

Actually, your "fact" is wrong.

Disney purchased Maker Studios, not PewDiePie. PewDiePie, along with many other YouTubers, had a network contract with Maker Studios at the time of that purchase. Now he doesn't.

Similarly, his channel got dropped from YouTube Red, but not YouTube entirely. He still has well over 50 million subs and is still making (annoying) videos and millions of dollars.

This might damage his prospects for certain types of projects outside the scope of his own channel and it does damage his reach to (some) advertisers. But you're vastly overestimating the impact this will have on his income or success going forward.

2
Darkedone02 Avatar
5
1 Month ago

"PewDiePie apolgogiese for anti-Semitic stunt after slamming the media coverage"

"PewDiePie apolgogiese for anti-Semitic stunt "

"PewDiePie apolgogiese "

"apolgogiese"

What in the fuck does apolgogiese means?

0
Decal141 Avatar
20
1 Month ago

Lots of people avoiding saying they support his anti-semitism by diverting to talking about subscriber numbers etcetera instead of the content. I'd be looking at prosecuting him personally if I was Youtube/Disney.

0
sintheticreality Avatar
108
1 Month ago

At this point, YouTube needs the guy a hell of a lot more than he needs them.

-1
Darksx Avatar
92
1 Month ago

Not, they dont. the guy is way over rated. and a tool.

0
sintheticreality Avatar
108
1 Month ago

I can't stand the guy, but when you have over 50 million people as your audience, you get to make the big choices.

-1
panbient Avatar
114
1 Month ago

If that was actually the case he wouldn't have gotten fired today.

3
NihlusGreen Avatar
588
NihlusGreen replied to panbient
1 Month ago

He didn't get fired as such, but dropped from YTRed and the premium ad service, his normal channel with 50 mil or so subscribers is still going.

2
Shadowized Avatar
63
1 Month ago

what game is this article about? /s

in regard to its content, I find it amusing how people still haven't figured out that money is all you need to incentivise people to do just about anything, even make stupid videos on youtube.

-1
0V3RKILL Avatar
260
1 Month ago

I don't like pewdiepie or any youtuber other maybe angry joe, franky on pc and jackfrag to be honest. But, youtube haven't had a good decision in years now.

-1