Felix Kjellberg came under fire after paying for “DEATH TO ALL JEWS” to be held up on a placard in a video.
Felix found himself at the centre of controversy following his video I’ve Discovered The Greatest Thing Online…, in which he used an online service to pay for two men to write the phrase on a placard and film a video of themselves.
The video shows Felix using the website Fiverr – where users can pay $5 for a wide variety of services – to commission the men, who are known as Funny Guys.
Elsewhere in the video, he asks another seller, open to “any crazy and bizarre challenge”, to “drink bleach”.
Felix apologised in the video immediately after viewing the Funny Guys’ video, saying, “I am sorry, I didn’t think they would actually do it. I feel partially responsible but just I didn’t think they would do it.
“I don’t feel too good. Like, I don’t feel too proud of this. Like, I’m not anti-Semitic, or whatever it’s called. I didn’t think it would work, okay? I swear I love Jews, I love ‘em.”
Felix’s video led to negative responses from both YouTubers and viewers, blaming Felix for Funny Guys losing their source of income, and claiming that his content normalises the use of inflammatory and hateful language:
Sooo we gonna talk about how PewDiePie uploading the "death to all Jews" thing lost those guys he booked their entire source of income???
— fiona ✨ (@neonfiona) January 12, 2017
I only learned what a Pewdiepie was today.
I do not feel like I have missed out if anti-Semitic video is representative.
— Juno Dawson (@junodawson) January 12, 2017
Lots of people are willing to defend someone using language like this and that's totally on him normalising it in his content
— Fawn Mead (@xFAWNx) January 15, 2017
The Funny Guys uploaded an apology video following their suspension, explaining that they are “extremely sorry” for their mistake and that they did not know what the message meant or that it would be part of Felix’s video.
They are currently attempting to get their Fiverr account back and appealed to Felix for help. Felix tweeted Fiverr to ask them to reactivate the Funny Guys’ account:
— pewdiepie (@pewdiepie) January 16, 2017
Felix has since uploaded a video titled In my defense.. in which he criticises the media for painting him as “some sort of villain”, claiming that publications are using his name as clickbait for monetary gain.
He states that he doesn’t believe that his original video was anti-Semitic, saying, “we’re going to have to start separating what is a joke and what is problematic”.
Philip DeFranco covered the controversy in a video, agreeing with Felix’s point about the importance of context and intention, adding that “you can’t control people’s reactions to your words or jokes”.
The response to this defense of Felix’s actions has been mixed, however:
— Wouter (@WorldWideWouter) January 17, 2017