Disney cuts ties with YouTube sensation PewDiePie

Though Kjellberg maintained "editorial independence" with Maker Studios, a representative said his anti-Semitic references "went too far" and deemed the videos "inappropriate".

Disney, which owns the online video network Maker Studios, is cutting ties with one of its biggest stars after it was made aware of nine videos with Nazi imagery and anti-Semitic jokes. In other videos posted over the last few months, Kjellberg displays swastikas drawn by his fans and shows clips from Hitler speeches.

In a January 11 video, 27-year-old Swedish citizen Felix Kjellberg, known as PewDiePie, covers his mouth and watches as two South Asian men dressed in green loincloths hold a sign reading "Death To All Jews".

In a blog post shared on Sunday (February 12), Kjellberg wrote that in his videos he "was trying to show how insane the modern world is".

The Wall Street Journal first reported the news Monday, February 13. They were banned from Fiverr, along with Kjellberg, who asked for the service to lift the ban on the two men he hired. Kjellberg's "Death to all Jews" videos have also been removed from the channel, however, it is unclear if that was a move made by Kjellberg or YouTube.

PewDiePie was among the most followed stars on YouTube, and his videos have been watched collectively more 14 billion times, according to the website. "I picked something that seemed absurd to me".

According to a Wall Street Journal report, cited in affiliate web site MarketWatch, the move was sparked by a January 11 video on Kjellberg's YouTube channel. The Swedish star had a miltimillion-dollar deal with Disney 's Maker Studios, but that reportedly came to an end on February 13. He stressed that he is "in no way supporting any kind of hateful attitudes" and that it was "laughable" to think he would support hate groups, which have embraced his anti-Semitism as genuine. "I didn't think they'd actually do it", he said on camera. He was suspended from Twitter previous year after joking he was a part of ISIS. "Though this was not my intention, I understand that these jokes were ultimately offensive", he conceded. Maker Studios, a division of Disney, issued a statement, while noting that he had editorial independence in producing them.

  • Salvatore Jensen