Let this be a lesson for anyone out there aspiring to become a huge YouTube star: just because you can amass a huge following, doesn’t mean that anything goes when it comes to content. Disney and YouTube have independently taken action against Felix Kjellberg, better known as “PewDiePie” and the biggest star on YouTube, after he posted various videos that contained anti-Semitic jokes.
Disney fired Kjellberg after an inquiry from The Wall Street Journal concerning some of his videos. Apparently, millions of people watched a video posted on January 11th on Kjellberg’s channel that included two men laughing while holding a banner that read “Death to all Jews.”
The Journal further said that since August, Kjellberg posted no less than nine separate videos that include anti-Semitic jokes and Nazi imagery.
“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 Maker Studios spokesperson told the news site. Maker Division is owned by Disney.
PewDiePie saw a meteoric rise on YouTube by posting videos of himself playing video games and making jokes. He currently has more than 53 million subscribers who keep returning to see his clips. The Journal says that Kjellberg took down the January 11th video and two others, but not before they had racked up around 23 million views between them.
His YouTube popularity helped him score multimillion-dollar deals with Disney and YouTube.
Google wasn’t happy with Kjellberg act either. The company canceled the second season of PewDiePie’s reality show and pulled his channel from its premium advertising program, Variety reports. “We’ve decided to cancel the release of ‘Scare PewDiePie’ season 2, and we’re removing the PewDiePie channel from Google Preferred,” a spokesperson said.
Google previously pulled ads from the offending videos, and Kjellberg apparently removed some of them himself.
The YouTube star, meanwhile, defended himself and said that he was only critiquing the absurdity of an internet service — in this case, Fiverr, which lets people advertise jobs that only costs $5. That, however, was not a good enough excuse for either Disney or Google.