I’m concerned about you, PewDiePie. Do you need a hug?
News broke recently that Disney is severing ties with the mega-YouTube star, citing his recent anti-Semitic comments as a reason why. YouTube is also distancing themselves from PewDiePie as well, cutting him from their YouTube Red lineup and even canceling his second season of his show “Scare PewDiePie,” and taking him off their preferred advertisement program.
“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,” a spokeswoman for Maker Studios (the Disney subsidiary doing business with him) told Business Insider. “Maker Studios has made the decision to end our affiliation with him going forward.”
PewDiePie, aka Felix Kjellberg, gained a major following over the years and is now the highest earning YouTuber right now. Considering that some YouTubers are also running million dollar companies along with their channels, that is no small accomplishment. It’s reported that he made something like $15 million dollars in 2016 alone. Disney dropping Kjellberg and YouTube distancing itself from him means that he’ll be earning significantly less in 2017.
It all started back in August, when Kjellberg started posting videos that included anti-Semitic jokes, even including Nazi imagery. He put up nine videos of that nature, including one that was uploaded on January 11th that he had to take down. That one shows Kjellberg hiring two guys to make a sign that read “Death To All Jews.” That one was so bad, YouTube pulled advertising from it, and he eventually took it down. That is by no means the only incident, and these kind of not funny jokes made it so actual neo-Nazis had started supporting him.
He said later in a statement that this was just a joke that had gone too far. “I was trying to show how crazy the modern world is, specifically some of the services available online,” Kjellberg wrote on Tumblr. “I picked something that seemed absurd to me—That people on Fiverr would say anything for 5 dollars.”
It seems like he’s going to be paying for that joke with his wallet now. Now that he’s off YouTube’s preferred advertising list, he’s going to have to use the regular pay per view source of income and rely more on that, and he doesn’t actually get as much of that as you’d think. His brand of humor and egregious use of profanity limits the amount of advertisers who can attach ads to his videos.
Personally, I don’t understand this. Sure, PewDiePie has basically built a living for himself and a massive fortune on irreverence and videos where he gets scared by horror games, but there’s a major difference between irreverence and bigotry, and it seems like even he doesn’t know the difference.
PewDiePie has always been a divisive figure. His fans love him, but critics tend to see him as the Justin Bieber of YouTube: rich, but talentless. He’s basically made himself more divisive by doing this, and that is by no means a good thing. He can argue that this is parody, or that he was trying to make a point about how people are willing to do anything for a couple of bucks, but what actually happened was that he used his platform to make fun of people, say some bigoted things, and everyone lost out, including him.