Felix Kjellberg, better known as the major YouTube star PewDiePie, blamed the media for misrepresenting him, after a Wall Street Journal article published Monday that pointed out nine different instances of anti-Semitic humor caused the star to the lose major deals with Disney and YouTube.
The 11-minute video, the YouTuber addresses head-on several of the stunts that led to Disney, which owns his former producing partner Maker Studios, to drop him from its roster. The most notable of these are the videos in which Kjellberg uses anti-Semitic iconography and language for laughs.
“I want to address the biggest issue first, which I think is the whole guys holding up the sign thing,” he said. (This video included an image of men, whom Kjellberg paid using commerce platform Fiverr, holding a sign that said bluntly, “Death to all Jews.”)
“A lot of people loved the video and a lot of people didn’t and it’s almost like two generations of people arguing if this is okay or not. My intention was just to show how stupid the website is and how far you can push it by paying $5.
“I’m sorry for the words that I used, as I know they offended people, and I admit the joke itself went too far,” he said.
The majority of the video, however, is spent lashing back at the media. Kjellberg maintained his belief that comedy cannot and should not be held up to the scrutiny that he has faced throughout the week, starting when the Wall Street Journal called out several times when the content creator mined comedy out of prejudice against Jewish people.
“I do strongly believe that you can joke about anything, but I also believe there’s a right way and not the best way to joke about things,” he argued. “I love to push boundaries but I consider myself a ‘rookie comedian.’"
Despite recognizing that many viewers were upset by his jokes about Jews and Nazis, Kjellberg’s ultimate response was that the media took him out of context. It’s a line he and his defenders have given several times before and after Maker Studios cut ties with him this week.
The video ends with what Kjellberg jokes is a tenth Nazi reference from one of his videos that the Wall Street Journal missed. He’s actually performing his signature “bro fist,” his sign-off for most videos. It’s an ironic moment, but one that ultimately defines the tenor of his response. The whole thing is viewable above.