Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg announced Tuesday in a video that he would donate $ 50,000 to the Anti-Defamation League in an attempt to make it up and "continue" after a shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, said earlier: "Subscribe to PewDiePie" to carry out its attack last spring.
"Making a donation to the ADL is not logical for everyone, especially because they have spoken to me outright," Kjellberg said in a statement on Twitter. "I think it's important, this is just not my fight anymore."
Kjellberg's decision to donate the money became a conspiracy among some commentators following his announcement on Tuesday. Anti-Semitic comments suggested that he was blackmailed by the ADL – a Jewish anti-hate group – to regain a good reputation on YouTube and in the media. On Wednesday, Kjellberg posted a statement on Twitter in the light of the conspiracies, in which he said he is making a donation to "pass over" his controversies.
Kjellberg is often drenched in controversy for the use of racist language or anti-Semitic images in his videos. After paying two men to Fiverr in 2017 to hold up a sign saying "Death to all Jews," Disney broke ties with him. ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt congratulated Disney on his move shortly after the decision was made.
"ADL commends Disney's decision to break ties with PewDiePie after posting videos on YouTube with swastikas and other anti-Semitic content," Greenblatt said at the time in a statement. "This clearly exceeds a limit, but becomes all too common on social media."
The ADL did not respond to a request for comment.
Earlier this year, the Kjellberg channel was still the best channel on YouTube. But his place was challenged by T-Series, an Indian record label, and the two were neck and neck in subscriber counts for months. That's when Kjellberg and his followers created the & # 39; Subscribe to Pewdiepie & # 39; meme to keep him number one. For weeks that sentence was plastered everywhere on the internet, sprayed in graffiti and used in videos from other makers.
Earlier this year, Kjellberg and his followers, in an attempt to keep his channel the most subscribed channel on YouTube, created the "Subscribe to Pewdiepie" meme. For weeks the expression was plastered on social media, and although it started harmlessly, it quickly attracted a lot of negative attention from racist trolls on the internet. A shooter comes in at the height of the meme Christchurch, New Zealand said the sentence before 51 people were killed in mosques. It was shortly after that event that Kjellberg asked his subscribers to end the meme.
Kjellberg's decision to support the ADL with this donation marks one of his first public movements to assume responsibility as a hugely popular and influential maker. The relationship between Kjellberg and YouTube has been rocky for years. But shortly after he became the first independent maker to reach 100 million subscribers on the platform, the two became more friendly, with YouTube sending him a new Play Button trophy and congratulating him on his success on Twitter.
In Tuesday's video in which Kjellberg announces his donation for the first time, he does not specifically address controversies, but says: "I have made many mistakes along the way, but I have grown." He continued, "I feel like I am the least. I feel like I have finally come to terms with the responsibility I have as a creator – about 100 million subs late, but you know."