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Disney Drops YouTube Star PewDiePie After Anti-Semitic Stunt

PewDiePie became a self-made internet sensation by doing whatever he wants, but me may have finally gone too far.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Disney's Maker Studios has ended its relationship with 27-year-old PewDiePie after the Swedish vlogger posted a series of videos with an anti-Semitic slogan. Shortly after, YouTube announced it has canceled the second season of his reality show Scare PewDiePie and pulled his popular channel from its premium advertising program, according to Variety.


In the videos, which have since been removed, PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, paid two shirtless Indian men to hold up a sign that said "Death to All Jews." Kjellberg said the point was to demonstrate the absurdity of an internet service (Fiverr) that allows someone to say or do anything outrageous for just $5. As Rolling Stone points out, he also showed a photo of Hitler as a segue between clips and wore a brown military uniform while watching footage of the German dictator making a speech. A clip he posted on Jan. 22 included a character dressed as Jesus who said, "Hitler did absolutely nothing wrong."

Scare PewDiePie, in which Kjellberg finds himself in terrifying situations inspired by his favorite video games, was among the first original series launched a year ago on YouTube Red. A YouTube spokesperson released a statement that said: "We've decided to cancel the release of Scare PewDiePie season 2 and we're removing the PewDiePie channel from Google Preferred." Google Preferred is YouTube's advertising program for selling popular "brand-safe content."


Kjellberg is the most popular creator on YouTube with nearly 53 million followers and 14.7 billion views on his main channel alone. He addressed the controversy in a Tumblr post: "It came to my attention yesterday that some have been pointing to my videos and saying that I am giving credibility to the anti-Semitic movement, and my fans are part of it as well for watching... 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."

It's not the first time he's run into trouble. His Twitter account was briefly suspended last August after he joked that he had joined ISIS (via Variety).

While we wait to see how this all plays out, check out facts you may not know about PewDiePie.