Disney Cuts Ties With YouTube's Biggest Star

PewDiePie paid men to hold 'Death to Jews' banner
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2017 2:29 AM CST
Disney Cuts Ties With YouTube's Biggest Star
Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Ender's Game" at TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, File)

Felix Kjellberg—better known as PewDiePie—is YouTube's highest-paid star, making an estimated $15 million last year, but he has lost his deal with Disney over posts deemed to have crossed the line from "provocative and irreverent" to simply hateful. Disney said it was cutting its ties with the 27-year-old Swede after it was contacted by the Wall Street Journal over several PewDiePie videos with anti-Semitic content, including a Jan. 11 post in which two men hired by Kjellberg through a crowd-sourcing website hold up a sign reading "Death to All Jews." In other videos posted over the last few months, Kjellberg displays swastikas drawn by his fans and shows clips from Hitler speeches.

PewDiePie, who rose to fame through video game commentary and has had his videos viewed more than 14 billion times—more than anybody else on YouTube—was associated with Disney through the Maker Studios network, which Disney bought in 2014. He has denied being anti-Semitic, saying his jokes are being taken out of context, the BBC reports. He says that with the video featuring the "Death to All Jews" banner, he was "trying to show how crazy the modern world is, specifically some of the services available online" and that people "would say anything" for money. (Read more YouTube stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.