Disney Drops Pewdiepie Over Anti-Semitic Jokes

Maker Studios, a division of Disney, just severed their deal with YouTube megastar Pewdiepie. They pointed to a (now-deleted) January 11 video in which Pewdiepie paid two men to hold up a sign that read, "Death To All Jews."

The Wall Street Journal reports that Pewdiepie had editorial independence in his deal, but this was a bridge too far.

"Although Felix has created a following by being provocative and irreverent, he clearly went too far in this case and the resulting videos are inappropriate," said a spokeswoman for Maker Studios.

YouTube, meanwhile, declined to comment on Pewdiepie's videos. However, their policy toward this kind of thing is more lenient than Disney's. "If content is intended to be provocative or satirical, it may remain online," they said. "If the uploader's intent is to incite violence or hatred it will be removed."

According to WSJ, Pewdiepie has posted nine videos that include anti-Semitic content since August. Three, the one from January 11 and two others from January 17 and January 22, have been taken down. One of those depicted a man dressed as Jesus Christ saying, "Hitler did absolutely nothing wrong."

In the "Death To All Jews" video, Pewdiepie, who hired the men via freelancer site Fiverr, reportedly said, "I didn't think they would actually do it." The Indian men later apologised in a video, saying, "We really don't know what the message meant when making the video." All three were banned from Fiverr. Pewdiepie pleaded for the service to un-ban the two men, but it doesn't appear to have been effective.

Pewdiepie is a hugely prominent public figure no matter how you slice it, and his recent gaffes have prompted reactions from all corners of the internet. People on YouTube came to his defence, believing he was simply telling un-PC "jokes". However, he also received support from places like neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer, which reportedly changed its name to "The world's #1 PewDiePie fansite" late last month.

In a recent Tumblr post, Pewdiepie addressed the controversy. Here's what he wrote:

I think it's important to say something and I want to make one thing clear: I am in no way supporting any kind of hateful attitudes.

I make videos for my audience. I think of the content that I create as entertainment, and not a place for any serious political commentary. I know my audience understand that and that is why they come to my channel. Though this was not my intention, I understand that these jokes were ultimately offensive.

As laughable as it is to believe that I might actually endorse these people, to anyone unsure on my standpoint regarding hate-based groups: No, I don't support these people in any way.

Jonathan Vick, an associate director of the Anti-Defamation League who spoke to WSJ, however, summed up the real world consequences of Pewdiepie's actions nicely. "Just putting it out there brings it more and more into the mainstream," he said.

Now Pewdiepie will have to face some consequences of his own.


Comments

    I don't see how you can pay someone to hold up a sign that says "death to all jews" and then say I am in no way supporting any kind of hateful attitudes.

    Like, what the fuck is wrong with you?

      Sometimes, for the purposes of comedy, people will act is if they believe in something that they don't actually believe, usually as a way of pointing out the absurdity of that view point. This is one form of what is known as a 'joke.'

      You have to be careful when dealing with provocative issues because if your joke is badly constructed it will not be funny and will instead be offensive, like in this case.

      However, even if a joke is bad and offensive, that still doesn't mean the person who made the joke actually supports the thing they were attempting to ridicule.

        Jeez man, thanks for explaining "humour" to me now all of those short TV programs where the audience makes noises with their mouth in the background makes much more sense.

        It being a "joke" isn't really a defence. Trying to pass off this shit as "satire" doesn't make it OK.

        How about, and I'll just throw this out there, he actually thought for three fucking seconds about what message he was actually trying to get across and what point he was trying to make?

          You must really hate SNL and other comedy shows then. And goddamn, you must *really* hate standup comedians.

            YEAH RED WHY DO YOU HATE ANGUS FOR???
            He is your brother... love him despite his profession.

              Naw, all these stand up comedians are the lowest of the low.

          At no point did I say these jokes were okay. They're shitty and offensive and I'm not bothered that he's suffering the consequences.

          They just also don't mean that he actually hates Jews. I was explaining how he can do this and then say "I am in no way supporting any kind of hateful attitudes." - there is a solid chance that he doesn't and that wasn't his intent.

            I still don't see how "I don't support hateful attitudes" and "I'm gonna pay a guy to hold up an anti-semitic sign that literally advocates killing all jews even though I'm doing it for lulz" can possibly reconcile.

              The joke is that that photo is absurd. The image of Jesus Christ saying "Hitler did absolutely nothing wrong." is absurd (actually do think there's some potential for a good joke in there given the right context). The entire point is that taking the position that you should kill all Jews is stupid/ridiculous.

              That is how paying a dude to hold up that sign and saying you don't support hateful attitudes reconciles. You find those attitudes so ridiculous as to be comedic.

              The joke was bad and unfunny so you're just left with the offensive quality of the viewpoints it's trying to ape. I don't mind comedians getting shit/losing their audience/sponsors/platform because they make lots of bad jokes - they're apparently pretty terrible at their job and deserve those consequences.

              But I think it's unfair to make them social pariahs on the grounds that they actually hold opinions they were more than likely attempting to ridicule, and it seems like people are fairly quick to do that these days.

              Are you taking the piss? It’s a joke. People joke.

              You mightn’t understand that not everyone shares your sense of humour (or lack thereof), but you are aware that people enjoy comedy which is offensive and which may not represent the straight faced views of the people making the joke, right?

              It’s a joke that’s at the rough end of the of the Mort Goldman’s, Borat’s, South Park’s ect…. but it IS a joke.

                Here's the problem: for you as an uninvolved spectator who gets to see different kinds of entertainment and understand the purported intention of the "joke", it is inoffensive. Hilarious, even if your sense of humour runs that way. But for a significant number of human beings the words "death to all jews" resound deep, because they are the people who other people whose genocide is casually "joked" about... even though after genocide has been attempted! Worse even, there's another non-insignificant number of people who actually believe and support the message "death to all jews". These are horrible people that do not need or deserve this kind of mainstream validation.

          thing is he wasnt offensive enough.
          he crossed a line, which isnt funny.
          if he'd had two guys dressed as trump & ivanka making out in auscwitz while richard spencer cry-wanked in the background, then maybe.

          always cross the line an even number of times.

          seriously though. i like bleak & dark satire as much as anyone, but even i think it's a bit fucked up to try & make light of the holocaust.

          You clearly needed someone to explain humour to you.

          You do realise different people find different things funny, right? I find racist/sexist/all kinds of dark humour to be fairly amusing, some people don't.

          Get over it.

          Last edited 14/02/17 3:58 pm

            You do realise that some people are actually victims of racism, anti-semitism, and whatever else, right? The fact that you can laugh at something that causes so much suffering makes you an asshole, but you are on your right to do so, I guess. However, you don't get to complain (on the grounds that you are as entitled to your brand of humour as everybody else) when privately owned platforms decide to disassociate themselves from the providers of such content because the rest of society repudiates them.

            Last edited 16/02/17 11:19 pm

              Sorry all I got out of that was waaahhh muh feelz. I don't care about your feelings. I care about mine, and I like an easy lul, even if that lul is at the expense of [marginalised person/s] and I won't apologise for that. Ever. To anyone.

              Some people like dumb jokes that you don't. Get over it, because it's not going away.

              Maybe read into Benign Violation Theory or Incongruity Theory.

              Re: Complaining when privately owned platforms...

              I'm not. Maybe read harder.

              (For what it's worth, I can't fucking stand PewDiePie so anything that gets his stupid Swedish face off the internet is a-okay to me).

              Last edited 17/02/17 1:53 pm

                So if you care about your own feelings, try to imagine how would you /feel/ if you were persecuted, humiliated, tortured, robbed and ridiculed for no good reason whatsoever, then some genius thought up a good joke about how the shape of your scars look like or held a sign asking for more torture for you "for the lulz". Maybe then you'd get an inkling of that foreign human feeling known as "empathy".

                  I don't give a shit. I'm Lebanese. I hear it all the time and laugh along to the aloha snackbar terrorist jokes. "You're banned from the US and your people are terrorists! Goats are your girlfriends!" [everybody laughs]. I even join in! because I'm not a prude with a stick up his arse.
                  They're dumb jokes. Get over it. Imagine taking everything so seriously, I can't imagine how sad life is for you.

                  If you have an issue separating or can't identify dumb satirical racism from genuine racism and use that to stand on your soapbox and express solidarity on behalf of a group of people you do not know (a lot of which don't even care) or genuinely care for, you have problems. It's not empathy at that point, it's holier-than-thou virtue signalling about an issue that does not concern you -- unless you're Jewish, in this case [if so, by all means, continue to foam at the mouth if you wish].

                  Stay out of our shit. We can fight our own battles and choose whether or not we're offended by stuff on our own.

                  White people.

                  Last edited 20/02/17 10:31 am

                  @zeitxgeist

                  I am not Jewish. But neither am I white. There are, too, jokes and massively damaging stereotypes about my race, but I can tell when a joke is well intended (or at least not ill-intended) and I join in, as well. Although I'm not white, I have lived a rather privileged life which is the mark of most people (regardless of age) who like you, protest in defence of humour and don't understand why people are so serious: "rapes, war, death, famine, social injustice... eh, I've heard it all and yet, the sun rises every day and we are all alive, so why all the gnashing of teeth!? I stubbed my toe the other day and you don't see me making a huge deal out of it."

                  So, I definitely can tell I'd be like you if it wasn't because tragedy and horrors have come close to me. Not enough to touch me or my loved ones but enough to see it happening to people I know. That's why I cannot condone hatred being passed as humour nor humour validating hatred.

                  No matter what the stupid intent of that cretin was (my guess is to create "humour" for people like you who believe that being able to laugh at genocide make you smart, edgy, a bit dark and interesting, and most importantly, NOT a pathetic whiny stick-up-their-arse white person), the truth is that he plastered on a screen for literal millions of impressionable highschool-age kids "Death to all Jews" while laughing at it. Next time they study in class about the holocaust they'll have a chuckle remembering their idol's antics, and make their own jokes about it, wondering why everybody looks so grim and upset about it.

                  Then if one day, all the popular people in the media like Spencer or PDP talking about genocide (in seriousness or "jest") finally manage to trigger a shooting or a massacre aimed at jews, the impact of such news will be greatly diminished among the generation that grew up laughing at it. For them, "Jews murdered" will be disassociated from pain, loss, grief and bitter unfairness and associated to a pair of half-naked guys with a sign and white dude laughing at the whole thing.

                  Hey. Since you assumed my race and from it launched a stereotype ad hominem to ridicule my position, maybe I can do the same, based on your race? Maybe suggest that you find nothing wrong with this case because you are inclined to agree with the statement "death to all Jews"?

        Yeah, comments about genocide aren't jokes, regardless of the intent of the douchebag creating content

          You know what’s funny about genocide?

          Some people live through unimaginable horror and go on to live happy, worry-free lives.
          Some people see no horror but then spend their lives crying into their keyboards over tasteless jokes.

            I challenge you to repeat exactly the words "funny about genocide" to a genocide survivor. And I don't know how many survivors you know and what percentage of them managed to get over it to the point where you can have a laugh with them at it, but hard evidence shows that most survivors are ridden with one or another way of crippling PTSD through the rest of their lives. Laugh at that.

            Don't forget, they're not just crying into their keyboards, they're crying into their keyboards on behalf of someone else, including people who wouldn't give a shit. Imagine being so self absorbed that you genuinely believe your own righteous indignation represents the whole of [group].

            Last edited 20/02/17 10:42 am

        Comedy isn't some sacred place that you can go around fucking up in and not wear the consequences. We also aren't talking about some kid doing his awesome going to be on tv tight five for free and then getting put on youtube when they fuck up the context or punchline.

          See my response above.

            Perception of the audience trumps intent every time. I understood what you said, I put something else for consideration to you. My comment relates to him fucking up and getting blow back, which you have also said is fair enough, but also to the fact that his real feelings have no relevance to the situation.

              I need to side with the cat here, he isn't saying that he doesn't deserve any consequences because he kind of does.

              He was going for satire but missed the mark badly enough it hurt people, we can remove support of his content while not thinking he's a garbage human though.

      It was a joke, and a hilarious one at that. I'd have pitched in money too for lols if I could.

    Pewdiepie never really 'grabbed' me. I mean I watch heaps of youtubers, he just never got me.

    Content aside and opinions on the matter put to the corner.
    The biggest bidding war in YouTube MCN history is about to happen.

    It's funny because Mark hates everything but PewDiePie

    Never thought someone could become a bigger jerk than ashton kutcher but here we are.

      I'm going to be wondering all afternoon whether you got your down-votes from PewdiePie fans, Ashton Kutcher fans, or people who specifically hate Ashton Kutcher and think no one is a bigger jerk than him.

    I think he overestimates the maturity and intelligence of his audience.

      Antisemitism, the thinking man's entertainment.

        Does that make Semitism the mindless drone's entertainment?

        Sounds about right.

          Ah, so you /are/ antisemitic, after all. How disappointing :/ To think that until now I generally respected your posts in Kotaku even when we disagreed.

          Last edited 16/02/17 8:20 pm

    I think we've tried calling out Kotaku's incessant fawning over this bloke for ages now.

    It was already bordering on hero-worship then, and now this.

    Don't stop now :D

      I got machine gunned for saying he tells a lot of lame dick and rape jokes a while ago.

    Wasn't Walt Disney a huge admirer of Adolf Hitler and an author of anti Semitic handbills and leaflets?

      and volkswagen manufactured stuff for the nazi's
      whats your point?
      company ideologies, like personal ones, evolve with the times.

        I know. And Hugo Boss made their uniforms and Coco Channel went on holidays to neutral Spain with war criminals. My point there is no expiry date on that shit. If you do it, be prepared to be reminded.

          i am sure that all the German people you speak too will be thankful for your humanity.

          I don't see people reminding Pfizer, I'll be anything when you have been sick you have at least once used their drugs and your vaccinated aren't you?
          Ever drunk Fanta? Nazis.
          Been in a Ford? Or an MAN bus?
          BMW.
          Mercedes.
          Porsche.
          He'll we wouldn't be in space if it wasn't for nazi rocket technology.
          Pioneers of jet technology.
          Guidance systems.

          Guess I have to remind you, you're a nazi sympathizer.

          Last edited 14/02/17 8:39 pm

            So because we repudiate people that spouse Nazi beliefs (regardless of nationality or ancestry) we are supposed to repudiate the non Nazi people who are descended from Nazis or inherited their business? Are you really so disingenuous to believe that holds any air?

              Guess you didn't read the post chain and made up your own story.

              As your comprehension seems to be well.... let's not go there. Let me reiterate.

              @unitzero pointed out certain companies and said that shot doesn't go away. I listed other companies that did the same thing, that he probably uses every other day without caring at all.

              Last edited 16/02/17 9:31 pm

                Actually, you are right. I initially felt that you were agreeing with that person but in fact were lampooning his point. I apologise.

      No, he wasn't. Walt Disney donated to Jewish charities, had Jewish people in his studio, and nobody who actually knew the man or dug through the Disney archives ever found anything to support it. He did ally with an industry body that was somewhat anti-semitic but he distanced himself from it later on.

      A lot of Disney cartoons of the time had racial stereotypes, same as loads of other popular media back then - but standards change, and so did Disney. The idea that he was a racist and anti-Semite in private was a load of garbage with no basis - the same as the idea that he remains in cryogenic storage.

    He probably knew exactly what he was doing when he made those videos. Even if he claims it was all a joke, that kind of dog whistle will attract a certain type of viewer ("hey look: Pewdiepie is also a white nationalist! Maybe I'll follow his channel"). By keeping it ambiguous, he hopes to keep all his fans who would be put off by such material.

    Given all the reports of declining ad revenue on YouTube, it isn't that surprising to see.

      Yep. To his anti-semitic followers it's a "wink-wink, lookie me getting away with this, friends!" to everybody else, "what?? it was a joke, c'mon!"

    Lets be real here, I dont think PewDiePie gives the flying shit. Loads of other companies will be clamboring to sign him up.

    Sadly, with all this, he just got his biggest free advertisement ever...

    The youtube vid of the two Indian guys apologising says they got their account back in the info :)

    If your joke is found to be offensive, it simply means it wasn't funny enough.

      Or it wasn't a joke, which pretty much sums this up, hopefully he learned just because you think something is funny doesn't make it a joke

        because you think something is funny doesn't make it a joke - if it's made with the intent to induce laughter, then yes, it's considered a joke. That's what he tried to do here, but it looks like a lot of people didn't find it funny. his intent was there though. He attempted a joke, it flew with some, not with most. I didn't find it that funny, more surprised he threw it in there while editing, but the intent was to get a reaction out of his audience. He did, but not what he wanted.

          I'm sorry but you need to look up what a joke is. A joke has a punchline, witticism, Intelligence. Paying some guys to hold signs with hate speech as none of those, it's trolling at best, purposely inflammatory at worst, not a joke. Like I said just because you and others might see humour in it doesn't make it a joke.

            Actually, I'd say in this case you might need to look up what a joke is. Jokes don't require a punchline. the can have punchlines, but don't require them. Anything that is produced for the intent of laughter is considered a joke. So in this case, it's still a joke. You can by all means not take it as a joke and be offended, that's absolutely fine. But don't try to change the meaning of a word to fit your opinion.

              so you're saying that if I kicked you in the nuts, and then started laughing we could all call it a joke right?

                so you're saying that if I kicked you in the nuts, and then started laughing we could all call it a joke right?

                Watch Idiocracy, or "man getting hit by football".

                Also If it's for the purpose of physical comedy, then yes. Hence the reaction people have when someone gets hit in the nuts.

                Last edited 16/02/17 9:46 am

                  Good, I'll give you my address. You get your ass over here, I'll get my steel-capped boots on, and we can all have a good laugh. Except you of course, but who cares about you? It's funny.

                  @Arcane Azmadi - I'd probably have a laugh as well, to be honest. Especially if you filmed it. That would be all over Fail Army super fast, You know? It's that YouTube channel that makes light of others pain and failures for a good laugh. Thank you for helping me prove my point.

                  Last edited 22/02/17 12:47 am

    Pewdiepie pleaded for the service to un-ban the two men, but it doesn't appear to have been effective.
    A quick Google search reveals the both funnyguys & socalchrist both had their accounts un-banned.
    Pewdiepie is the only one who is still banned (across 3 accounts IIRC, because he was stupid enough to make new accounts to circumvent the ban).

    Last edited 14/02/17 6:34 pm

      Figures - nobody ever accused the guy of being smart.

        I know right? I like Pewdiepie, but when this thing blew up he made a video stating how he felt bad about the other parties being banned and that while he accepted his own ban he wished them to be forgiven... and then proceeded to make more accounts in an attempt to pull more pranks. Like how disingenuous can you be?

    I wonder what effect this will have on Felix.
    Dude is already a multi-millionaire. If he's smart, he'll never have to work a day for the rest of his life.

    Disney is desperate to get into the unfamiliar business of YouTubers & Twitch Streamers - " and in their desperation, they turned to a man they didn't fully understand."

    Im not an asshole, I just paid people five dollars (and five minutes of youtube fame) to film themselves being assholes, so I can rake in thousands per video of me reacting to them.

    Sorry, PDP that makes you an asshole.

    I think this is probably the most high-profile example of shitheads not understanding what "trolling" is. Trolling is pulling off a prank to make people laugh, sometimes but not always at someone else's expense. Unfortunately, years of internet retardation has changed "trolling" to mean "being a stupid douchebag hoping to upset people then laughing".

    And to all the morons in this comment section bellowing the eternal excuse of the jackass, "IT'S JUST A JOKE! DUH!", there's something called the "Just Joking" Justification (see http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/JustJokingJustification for details). If it's just a joke, then why aren't I laughing? And "Well I laughed at it!" does NOT automatically lead to "so you aren't allowed to be offended by it", because all that means is that you're an asshole. Fuck that shit.

    @pylgrim

    "Hey. Since you assumed my race and from it launched a stereotype ad hominem to ridicule my position, maybe I can do the same, based on your race? Maybe suggest that you find nothing wrong with this case because you are inclined to agree with the statement "death to all Jews"?"

    See, now you're getting it! Keep at it mate, you'll get better at it.

    Wah wah wah. I'm ill with a terrible family history and an abusive alcoholic dad whose kidneys, with a little luck, will give up by the end of the year (fuck you, Botros). Get over yourself princess.

    Last edited 20/02/17 10:49 pm

      Well, I wonder then if some day some witty-wannabe asshole will make a joke around you regarding parental abuse that will hit a bit too close home or maybe make you wonder if all the people laughing at it are helping normalise it and continue to happen.

      Or maybe not! Maybe your way to cope with that stuff is to force a laughter and make an even crueller joke so you can tell yourself you are not a victim, but a stone cool motherfuker. Having feelings is just giving "them" more ways to hurt you and all that. If so, more power to you, I guess, but you must understand that that is YOUR way to cope and that people who are repudiated by such things are not wrong.

      You might be helping yourself by being like that, but it is the other the people, the "princesses" who condemn it and don't let such hatred or abuse scurry back into obscurity where it can keep thriving the ones who bit by bit are actually stopping such things from happening at all. You may not feel like helping them but there's nothing on it for you to oppose them (other than, I reckon, that sweet, cool macho feeling that you get when you call someone a whiny "princess").

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