YouTube is breaking up with one of its most popular stars after it was discovered that he posted videos with Nazi references and anti-Semitic content.
YouTube canceled its YouTube Red original show starring Felix Kjellberg, also known as PewDiePie, after the Disney-owned online video network Maker Studios made a similar move on Monday.
A YouTube representative confirmed to Business Insider. We’ve also reached out to Kjellberg for comment.
Disney ended its relationship with Kjellberg after The Wall Street Journal asked the company about Kjellberg’s videos. The Journal found nine videos produced and starring Kjellberg that had anti-Semitic or Nazi content.
Kjellberg’s show, “Scare PewDiePie,” was a YouTube original accessible through the company’s subscription service, YouTube Red. The show was about to premiere its second season. YouTube is also removing Kjellberg from Google’s preferred advertising program, which helps the platform’s most popular personalities attract bigger advertisers.
Kjellberg’s personal YouTube page is still live, but some of the controversial videos no longer have ads running against them. His other videos still have ads from YouTube’s auction service, but advertisers have the option to opt out from having their ads displayed against Kjellberg’s videos. Season one of “Scare PewDiePie” is also available, and it is unclear if YouTube will decide to take it down.
This is a big blow not only to Kjellberg, but to YouTube itself as it works to drive subscriptions for YouTube Red, which costs $10 a month and offers an ad-free experience along with original programming. YouTube Red needs the leverage of giant stars like Kjellberg to attract more paying users.
Kjellberg is the highest-earning YouTube personality, reportedly bringing in $15 million in 2016. He has over 53 million subscribers on his YouTube page. He became famous by posting videos of himself playing video games and adding goofy commentary.