YouTuber Felix Kjellberg, better known by his username PewDiePie was accused of anti-Semitism this week by storied publication The Wall Street Journal. In their report, the WSJ claims that PewDiePie has engaged in apparently willful acts of anti-Semitism in ten videos and provided a video of their own claiming to catalog these instances which, in fairness, do appear to be highly edited. PewDiePie, in his video entitled “My Response” does apologize but the issue is more complicated than that.
The WSJ’s reporting resulted in YouTube’s most famous personality losing a series deal with YouTube which was already near completion and Disney cut him off completely. Additionally, social media has been full of debate on the issue as well as calls for him to be removed from YouTube and calling him a racist and a fascist including, oddly enough, JK Rowling.
As explained in PewDiePie’s response video, above, the primary incident in question was, he claims, an attempt on his part to demonstrate that the website Fiverr, which produces videos for cash, would do nearly anything for a mere five dollars. PewDiePie now says that realizes he may have gone too far when he paid two Sri Lankan men to write “Death to Jews” on a piece of paper and say “Death to Jews, subscribe to Keemstar” and make a video of it. In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s the video in question.
However, he also states that the WSJ journal engaged in multiple instances of cherry picking from his videos including referring to his pointing off screen in one video as a Nazi salute and using footage from one video denouncing the use of swastikas in game videos as evidence of PewDiePie being racist.
PewDiePie’s thesis seems to be that he is being targeted because he is not a member of the old media outlets such as the WSJ and, at the end, he gives what seems to be a very emotional thank you to those in his audience who have been supportive of him this week. He ends the video with
H3H3 productions have also chimed in on the issue, stating that PewDiePie is not a racist nor an anti-Semite. It should be noted that Ethan Klein is himself Jewish although he cannot, of course, speak for an entire group of people. That video is included below.