Months after Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg was first accused of publishing anti-Semitic videos on YouTube, the video personality is formally denouncing white supremacists and neo-Nazis.
“I thought now would be as good a time as any to just say ‘I want nothing to do with these people,’” Kjellberg said. “I don’t think anyone who watches me think I’m an actual Nazi, but I know a lot of people may still have doubt — mainly because of all the jokes that I’ve been making. At this point, I really just want to distance myself from all of this.”
In a video published Wednesday, Kjellberg spoke about the recent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that was organized by white supremacists and neo-Nazis. Kjellberg tweeted about the rally, which turned violent and resulted in the death of a counter-protester following a deliberate attack on pedestrians.
Kjellberg added that when he first published the controversial videos back in February, which included people holding up anti-Semitic signs that he paid for through Fiverr, he said he thought they were just jokes. The YouTuber said he didn’t believe Nazis were still active, but after watching the events of Charlottesville unfold, he realized that the hatred that accompanies racism and anti-Semitism is still very much alive.
“If for some reasons Nazis think it’s great that I’m making these jokes, I don’t want to give them that benefit,” Kjellberg said. “So I’m going to stop doing it. Nazi memes, they’re not even that funny anymore. It’s sort of a dead meme. So just to make it clear, no more.
“It’s not me censoring myself, it’s more like I don’t want to be part of this.”
That being said, Kjellberg tweeted another Nazi joke two days ago, asking Nazis to stop dressing like him as it wasn’t helping his case.
Dear Nazis:— pewdiepie (@pewdiepie) August 15, 2017
Stop looking so identical to me
You're really not helping my case here... pic.twitter.com/zqB6lqbGwy
Prior to Wednesday’s video, Kjellberg defended himself by calling out the media (including Polygon) who reported on the developments. In a video entitled “My Response” that was published on Feb. 16, Kjellberg reiterated that it was just a joke, referring to himself as an amateur comedian. In that video, the YouTuber apologized for the words that he used, but defended the original video in question.
“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,” Kjellberg said. “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.”
The controversy surrounding Kjellberg’s videos led to Disney’s Maker Studios cutting ties with the personality. YouTube also decided to cancel Kjellberg’s YouTube Red series, Scare PewDiePie.
“We’ve decided to cancel the release of Scare PewDiePie season 2 and we’re removing the PewDiePie channel from Google Preferred,” a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement.
According to YouTube’s guidelines, creators can make satirical videos and include edgy jokes, but “Controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown,” are strictly prohibited.