PewDiePie has gone off Nazi jokes.
In his latest video, the YouTube superstar has said he won’t make any more off-colour references to fascist ideology after watching footage of the white nationalist Charlottesville rally which took place in the US over the weekend.
PewDiePie, real name Felix Kjellberg, linked the rally to a controversial incident in February, when he was criticised in the press for paying two Indian men to hold up a sign saying “Death to all Jews.”
“Nazi memes are not even that funny any more,” he said in a video released on Wednesday. “It’s sort of a dead meme.”
The February episode, originally reported by the Wall Street Journal, resulted in Kjellberg losing his show on YouTube’s Red subscription service, and Disney dropping him from its Maker network. Kjellberg apologised at the time, saying: “I’m sorry for the words that I used, as I know they offended people. And I admit that the joke itself went too far.” But he also responded viciously to media reports which he claimed took the joke “out of context”, referring to the original Wall Street Journal article as “absurd.” He said subsequent coverage implying he was a fascist was “nothing but insanity.”
His latest video is titled “I guess this needed to be said.” It begins with a reference to this tweet by Kjellberg during the Charlottesville rally.
— pewdiepie (@pewdiepie) August 12, 2017
He said in reality he was alarmed that he “actually got grouped in with these people.”
He said he was just “a guy making jokes on the internet”, and added that he wanted “nothing to do with these people”. He also said in February, he hadn’t really believed Nazis still existed.
“I thought now would be a good time as any to just say I want nothing to do with these people,” he said. “I don’t think anyone that watches me thinks I’m an actual Nazi, but I know a lot of people might still have doubt.”
Whatever Kjellberg’s original intent in February, it gave substantial ammo to the online far-right. Neo-Nazi news site The Daily Stormer leapt on the “Death to all Jews” fallout with several favourable write-ups. It also defended Kjellberg when Disney dropped him, referring to the company by the anti-Semitic term “kikes.”
The Daily Stormer is having its own problems after Charlottesville and is currently offline, but you can still see cached versions of the articles.
Here are some screenshots :
And while the “Death to all Jews” video is no longer available on YouTube, PewDiePie made several baiting follow-ups referencing Hitler after the controversy. In one video, he makes a video game character look like Hitler and narrates his fictional backstory of wanting to “kill Jews.”
Kjellberg said in his latest video: “If for some reason Nazis think it’s great I’m making these jokes, I don’t want to give them that benefit so I’m going to stop doing it.
“It’s not me censoring myself. It’s more like I don’t want to part of it.”