Swedish gamer PewDiePie (known IRL as Felix Kjellberg) is the most famous and highest-paid YouTuber in the world. His videos have yielded billions of views and millions of followers, and helped him earn $15 million in 2016. But next year’s figure could be significantly lower following a report from The Wall Street Journal that Disney is ending its deal with PewDiePie for recent anti-Semitic content in his videos. Prior to today, PewDiePie worked with Disney via a joint venture with the Maker Studios, a digital video network that Disney bought in 2014. Though Kjellberg maintained “editorial independence” with Maker Studios, a representative said his anti-Semitic references “went too far” and deemed the videos “inappropriate.”
According to the report, PewDiePie posted a now-deleted video on January 11 that included two men he paid to make and hold up a sign reading “Death to All Jews.” After reviewing his channel, the Journal found that the YouTuber had “posted nine videos that include anti-Semitic jokes or Nazi imagery” between August 2016 and today. Other videos — some of which PewDiePie has also since removed from his channel — include one from January 22 featuring a man dressed as Jesus, saying, “Hitler did absolutely nothing wrong.” Select All has reached out to PewDiePie and will update this post if we hear back.
While Google removed advertisements — effectively negating PewDiePie’s ability to monetize a given video on YouTube — from the January 11 “Death to All Jews” video before it was pulled (by Kjellberg, not by YouTube), the Journal also reports that the other nine videos containing anti-Semitic content are still live on the site with functional ads.