PewDiePie, the world’s most popular YouTuber, says he made an “oopsie” when he promoted a white supremacist’s YouTube page over the weekend ― he only liked the guy’s movie reviews, he said in a video published Tuesday.
As it turns out, the guy’s movie reviews are as racist as they come.
On Dec. 9, Felix Kjellberg (aka PewDiePie) published a video for his 76 million subscribers that included a section of shoutouts to other YouTube personalities. One of the shoutouts, as Right Wing Watch’s Jared Holt points out, was to user “E;R” who posts exclusively racist, anti-Semitic and white nationalist content.
The news media noted the promotion and backlash. Given Kjellberg’s online reach ― which includes the attention of millions of young people ― any promotion, no matter how small, can mean big numbers for the person on the receiving end. E;R, for instance, received tens of thousands of new subscribers in the days after the shoutout, and E;R celebrated by thanking Kjellberg for “redpilling” his fans.
On Tuesday, Kjellberg released a new video, arguing that he can’t be expected to review every video by every content creator he gives a shoutout to.
“All I said was I like this guy’s anime review,” he said. ”[He] apparently likes to have hidden and not-so-hidden Nazi references in his videos and obviously if I noticed that I wouldn’t have referenced him in the shoutout.”
But the anime video that Kjellberg promoted ― a review of the movie “Death Note” that PewDiePie “really, really enjoyed” ― contains extremely racist content, as well as a vile joke about the death of Heather Heyer, the activist killed by neo-Nazi James Alex Fields Jr. in Charlottesville last year (Fields was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday). Even the description of the video is racist.
“The truth about why this took so long is because I thought it was so funny to call Black L ‘Niglet’ throughout all my recordings,” E;R wrote. “I eventually got it through my thick fucking skull that YouTube’s looking for A N Y reason, so I redid all the audio to erase my speech crime, but then I got bored and put the project on pause.”
There’s apparently no video on E;R’s page that would absolve PewDiePie of not knowing about his extremely transparent white supremacist leanings. In one he thanked his “white supremacist” followers for getting him to 100,000 subscribers, in another, he shows a picture of dead Jews during the Holocaust and makes a homophobic slur in the video’s first 10 seconds, and the list goes on.
To Kjellberg, however, E;R’s ideology wasn’t apparent. But it’s not the first time Kjellberg has caught flak for anti-Semitic content.
Last year, he lost a partnership with Disney after he live-streamed a video in which he convinced two Indian men to hold up a sign reading “Death to all Jews.” Prior to that, his videos contained “joking” references to Adolf Hitler and swastikas that drew praise from the likes of the Daily Stormer.
He noted in his non-apology video Tuesday that he swore off Nazi jokes.
“I said publicly a year and a half ago that I was gonna distance myself from Nazi jokes and that kinda stuff,” he said.