Felix Kjellberg, who goes by Pewdiepie online, has found himself in some hot water. YouTube has canceled the second season of his “Scare Pewdiepie” show on YouTube Red, and they’ve pulled him from the Google Preferred ad program.
This started as he posted a video a few weeks back that included some anti-semitic jokes, as he explained. He got two Indian men on Fiverr to hold up a sign that read “Death to All Jews.”
Pewdiepie has since apologized for involving those men, and he’s insisted that the whole video was a joke. That’s not stopped the repercussions for a major, major media channel like his (with more than 50 million subscribers). Disney owns Maker Studios, and they’ve cut their deal with Pewdiepie.
The second season of his show on YouTube has been canceled. That surely hurts his bottom line, though we’re not sure by how much. He’s likely hurt a bit more by YouTube pulling back on his ad deal. Variety notes that Google Preferred is the ad program for “selling popular ‘brand-safe content’ on YouTube.” Yeah, I suppose this isn’t brand-safe.
I’m not sure what Pewdiepie thought would happen here
If you watch Pewdiepie’s videos with any regularity, you’ll know that his humor has, let’s say, a unique flavor. He trolled the world with his choice to delete his channel at 50,000,000 subscribers. He’s called out media for writing scathing articles about his content. He’s made jokes that range from simple to offensive. The guy makes tons of videos, and he’s bound to offend someone.
To me, all of that is fine. Trolling folks, making jokes, criticizing others. That’s all fine stuff. The anti-semitic stuff? Joke or not, he’s essentially telling his audience, which includes lots of people younger than 18, that anti-semitic humor is totally funny.
Of course major companies with advertising money on the line would notice and react. How else would this play out?