Maker Studios, which is owned by Disney, and YouTube have distanced themselves from Felix Kjellberg, a.k.a. PewDiePie, a popular content creator who posts videos of himself playing video games, after he posted several videos on social media that contained anti-Semitic messages, reports The New York Times.
The videos contained anti-Semitic "jokes or Nazi imagery," according to The Wall Street Journal. Kjellberg has since removed three of those videos. One of the videos featured two men he paid to write "Death to all Jews" on a sign and dance underneath it, reports NPR. The caption to the video read, "Trying to hide a smile from triggered SJWs," which is an abbreviation of the phrase "social justice warriors." It's an insult used on liberals.
Kjellberg defended the anti-Semitic messages in his videos as "jokes." On Tumblr, he wrote, "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," he continued.
Disney's announcement that the company was severing ties with PewDiePie came Monday, and Tuesday YouTube said it was canceling a series, Scare PewDiePie, it had worked on with Kjellberg. YouTube also removed him from its premier advertising program. The news of the videos came from a Wall Street Journal report that Kjellberg had posted nine anti-Semitic videos dating back to August.
"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,'' said a spokeswoman from Maker Studios in a Monday statement. "Maker Studios has made the decision to end our affiliation with him going forward."
Jonathan Vick, an associate director of the Anti-Defamation League, told the Journal that Kjellberg's videos were harmful. "Just putting it out there brings it more and more into the mainstream," Vick said.
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