PewDiePie Faces Backlash for Anti-Semitism Humor
February 23, 2017
Last week, Felix Kjellberg, also known as PewDiePie on Youtube, was accused by the Wall Street Journal of producing anti-Semitic symbols in one of his videos. Kjellberg has the most subscribed channel on Youtube with over 53 million subscribers and is most popular for his gaming demographic.
Kjellberg paid two people to hold up signs saying “Death to all Jews” on a website called Fiverr, claiming it was a joke. Fiverr is a website that offers different tasks and services starting at a five dollar fee, and is commonly used by freelancers.
In his apology, Kjellberg said, “I was trying to show how crazy the modern world is, specifically some of the services available online…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.”
Since the incident Kjellberg was removed from the Google Preferred advertising network and Disney Maker Studios, along with a canceling of the second season of his Youtube Red show “Scare PewDiePie.” The show stars Kjellberg, who is sometimes joined with other gaming youtubers, as he confronts situations based on his favorite horror videogames.
Senior Victoria Quinones said, “I think he should be more careful about what he jokes about because he’s a role model for a lot of people. His apology was stated informally, which might have been taken as disingenuous; however, everyone has their own opinion. I think it was a genuine apology because he was stating how he feels and everyone has their own view, but that doesn’t mean he is a racist.”
However, Senior Bella Cartaya says, “I don’t think it’s right to say it’s a joke; it’s an excuse. I find it ridiculous that he said he was doing it for entertainment purposes, but you’re hating on another religion just for those purposes. I think he should find something else to joke about that doesn’t offend people.”
Other youtubers believe that it was an opportunity for traditional media to hate on Kjellberg because of his success from the growing popularity of new media.
Cartaya says, “I think that traditional media was trying to expose him, not purposely antagonize youtubers.”
Yet, despite this scandal, Kjellberg still has the most subscribed channel on Youtube.