A YouTube Giant Pleads for Popular Meme to End

PewDiePie says 'subscribe to PewDiePie' must stop after New Zealand shooter spoke of it
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2019 1:52 PM CDT
A YouTube Giant Pleads for Popular Meme to End
Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg in a 2013 photo.   (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, File)

One lesser known fact from the New Zealand mosque massacres is that the gunman invoked the name of a popular YouTube star during the attack. "Subscribe to PewDiePie," urged the gunman, making use of a wildly popular online slogan. On Sunday, PewDiePie himself—aka Felix Kjellberg—posted a video asking for the push in his name to stop, reports Kotaku. “I think it’s time to end the ‘subscribe to Pewdiepie’ movement, or meme,” says Kjellberg, citing the New Zealand incident. “It’s clear to me the ‘subscribe to Pewdiepie’ movement should have ended then.” The slogan took off innocently last year, as PewDiePie's fans tried to keep him in the No. 1 spot in terms of YouTube subscribers. The problem is that the movement then got "hijacked," per the Washington Post.

"When you have 90 million people riled up about something, you're bound to get a few degenerates," Kjellberg says in the video; in a since-deleted tweet after the mosque shootings, he'd said he felt "absolutely sickened having my name uttered by this person.” Not helping: Kjellberg's own racial controversies, including one infamous stunt in which he paid men to hold up a sign reading "Death to all Jews." It was that incident that caused Disney to cut its affiliation with Kjellberg. So will the movement end? Stay tuned, but the Verge notes that a plane was flying around New York City Monday with a "Subscribe to PewDiePie" banner, part of a promotion of his new partnership with streaming site DLive. In fact, Kjellberg himself watched the plane approvingly via livestream. “Just to be clear they planned this for a very long time, so obviously they couldn’t change it,” Kjellberg said. “They would have if they could, but it’s a good intention. The meme is over. ” (More PewDiePie stories.)

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