Pewdiepie Says He's Going To Stop Making Nazi Jokes After Charlottesville

Earlier this year, YouTube's biggest star sparked controversy after Disney severed ties with him over jokes about Jewish people and Nazis. At the time, Felix "Pewdiepie" Kjellberg apologised but continued to make many Nazi references in defiance to the outrage. Months later, Kjellberg says he has a different perspective about those jokes and says he's no longer going to make them.

"At this point, I'd really just want to distance myself from all of this," Kjellberg said. "I remember back when everything happened in February, I was sort of like, 'I mean, they're just jokes. There's not actual Nazis out there, what are you talking about?' And then I look at this, and I'm like, 'Oh, I see. OK!'"

The "this" he is referring to are the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, when torch-wielding white supremacists held a rally that got violent and resulted in a counter-protester being killed. Like many of us, Kjellberg watched in horror, and in a recent vlog update, he says that the events at the rally made him reconsider his approach to humour.

"It sort of gave me a little bit of perspective, because technically I got grouped in with these people somehow," Kjellberg said.

"Believe it or not, I want nothing to do with these people," Kjellberg continued. "I have no hate in my heart. I only have hate for hateful people."

"So I thought now would be a good time as any to say, I want nothing to do with these people," Kjellberg said. "I don't think anyone that watches me think I'm an actual Nazi, but I know that some people might have some doubts, mainly because of all the jokes that I've been making."

In the past, Kjellberg has jokingly pretended to have a cardboard cutout call him a Nazi, and also made a running gag out the Nazi salute. Many of these references were attempts at irony, or winks to an audience who "knew" he wasn't a Nazi. But in a world where Nazis and other white supremacists are not only real, but feeling emboldened right now, it's also pretty easy for such jokes to become co-opted. Infamously, earlier this year, white supremacy website The Daily Stormer put up a banner that said it was "The world's #1 PewDiePie fansite".

Charlottesville, Kjellberg implied, made him realise that white supremacy is not just an edgy internet joke, but an actual thing that people have to deal with. So, he says he's giving up the tired shtick. In response, he has supporters online commending him for the statement, sceptics saying surely he had to be aware of the evils and reality of Naziism all along, and disappointed fans who seem to believe he is giving in to overly sensitive critics.

"You are letting liars dictate what you say," one commenter wrote. "You're apologizing for something you're not... I liked you because you didn't let lies change you and didn't treat your fans like idiots (who couldn't tell what's a joke)."

"PewdieCuck!!," another wrote. "Get your own voice PewdieCuck!! Now you have got to be careful with every word you say just to not upset the others. Boooo."

"I'm gonna stop doing it," Kjellberg said. "Nazi memes are not even that funny any more. It's sort of a dead meme. So, just to make it clear. No more. OK? It's not me censoring myself, it's more like, I don't want to be a part of this. OK? Just want to move on with my life."

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Comments

    "You mean there are actually bigots in the world? Oh wow, I thought it was just an internet meme. My bad."

    Good move, and the people who are claiming he's self-censoring are wrong - just as wrong as the people who tried to brand him a Nazi in the first place.

    Before Charlottesville, when it was just idiots abusing the term "Nazi" and "fascist" as a stand in for "someone I disagree with", IMO jokes like this were fine. The Nazis (the actual ones) have become almost incompetent supervillian stand-ins as the memories of WW2 fade. Now that we've had a stark reminder of what actual Nazism looks like, it isn't even remotely funny anymore.

      Exactly. The joke aspect has now fallen flat after seeing a real world example of correct usage. Hopefully it'll also be a wake up call for those that misused the term as well.

      Yeah, the whole "Nazis gaining prominence in the US" thing has been going on for over a year. It was a problem when Felix first started his bullshit, and it has been a problem since.

      He deserves no leeway for being too stupid to realise why supposedly ironic Nazi jokes are dangerous, especially when they come from a person with his reach and public exposure.

        Ironic Nazi jokes aren't dangerous - they're just poor taste. They're only dangerous if you're already a Nazi or offended by everything you see. I don't buy the argument that even PDP's younger audience suddenly turn into swastika-wearing neo-Nazis simply by watching jokes - however bad they may be.

        As for "gaining prominence" - Charlottesville is probably the biggest public display in a while, prior to that it's been small events which were largely laughed at. They've otherwise kept to their little groups and shitty websites that the general public ignores. Unless you count every Trump voter a "Nazi" I guess.

          Although it worked as a response, my reply wasn't intended as one.

          Perpetuating anti-social ideas normalises them and provides an environment in which they can flourish and those who already ardently hold them can become emboldened. This is not a radical idea. We see this same tried and tested notion used across a number of areas looking to abrogate anti-social behaviours, such as in anti-domestic violence campaigns, initiatives against homophobia, and many facets of sexism, because it's understood that it is necessary to erode support.

          Jokes can very well be dangerous, and it appears that the main groups saying otherwise are those making them from a position of relative safety, and therefore impervious to the effects and repercussions of providing support, or they're just too stupid to grasp the fact that words have an impact.

          There were numerous marches and rallies before Charlottesville, which was just the most recent, notable, and violent. There have been a disgusting number of bomb threats, calls for genocide, arsons, assualts, and murders done in the name of white supremacy and Nazi ideology during and after the 2016 USA election. Not just people talking about heinous crimes, but literally committing them: going out into the streets and killing members of minority groups.

          White supremacist and neo-Nazi groups have become emboldened over the past few years. They've ridden the coat tails of idiots who don't want to upset them and idiots who are incorrigible when it comes to understanding that it doesn't matter whether your support is earnest or ironic, it is still support. Adherents to Nazi ideology don't give a shit about whether or not you are serious while you're walking around cracking jokes about white power and Jewish people, or chucking up Nazi salutes because it's ironic, they're looking at public exposure and thinking "Yeah, people are finally getting it, this is great".

            There were also white supremacists and racial hatred before the 2016 election.

            If you're already a Nazi or white supremacist, or have been raised that way, it's probably going to make no difference to you whether the media vilifies you or turns you into a joke - it's an attitude which is extremely difficult to shift (and so far society has failed at it - it failed with attempts at reconciliation, and it's still failing at shaming them too).

            I agree that the rhetoric has ramped up in the current political climate, but I'd also argue that it's a hard push against the increase in protesting from radical far-left groups that are also encouraging them to come out of the woodwork. This polarisation of politics is far more dangerous than PDP making Hitler jokes - because you'll end up with a lot of political moderates joining the hardline left or right just to get away from the people they don't like telling them that they're either literally Hitler or a regressive snowflake.

      Man this is some dumb shit right here. It was never "just" idiots abusing the term nazi as a stand in for people they disagreed with, it was that AND people calling fucking nazis "nazis". Nazism didn't just start up again the other day. But good on you for finally acknowledging it exists. And all it took was for one person to get murdered by nazis. Uh I mean "people I disagree with".

        Lol, what?

        (No seriously, nobody is this bad at reading comprehension, surely...)

    Wow. People care what a guy who made a career out of screaming like a little girl while playing LP bait games has to say?

      The thing is dude... they do. There are millions upon millions of (mostly young, very impressionable) people out there who do care what performers like Pewdiepie think and say.

      You clearly care, Otherwise you would not have commented.

    It's easy to be skeptical of this, to scoff and say "as if he wouldn't have known..." but really, it's probably true. As angry as we get about this, the reason we have these young white supremacists being full on nazis is because of the way they were brought up. The lack of education, the indoctrination. It's fucking horrible that it takes something like Charlottesville to show people that... but thank fuck people like Pewdiepie are hit with reality. There's at least some hope that people can grow.

      So... wait, are you suggesting that PDP was raised to be a white supremacist by way of indoctrination or being uneducated?

        Not sure how you got that impression. He's obviously saying that PDP had no idea that other people are brought up that way.

        No no, sorry if that was unclear. I believe PDP has grown up at least in part ignorant of the reality that we're now facing - hell, most of us were. I'm not going to sit here and say I always knew - like damn, I really thought the western world had progressed much further than this. November 2016, like many people, opened my eyes big time.

    It's sad that people tried to warn him that his jokes were helping to normalise Nazis in the minds of his viewers but it took a genuinely frightening thing like Nazis marching in the streets for him to realise the connection. For people who tend towards that mindset already but kept it to themselves because it was socially unacceptable, it's a very short walk from "let's pretend to be Nazis for the luls" to "Nazis are acceptable now, let's be one".

      Exactly, that's the problem with normalization that people neglect to see, the small steps. For a stupid, "edgy" teenager, it is very easy to go from "lulzzz!! Look at all these snowflakes getting all triggered by a joke! Let's do more jokes to trigger them more, for the lulz!" to "Let's join this online community, these guys have awesome ideas about triggering cucks, and surely they are not really Nazis, right? Just cool people like me, trolling snowflakes," to "let's go to this march as the ultimate troll, I'll get to see their faces while I "jokingly" throw Nazi salutes and wield a swastika flag," to be there in the moment, feeling the adrenaline, testosterone and herd mentality, getting actually angry at the people opposing them while developing loyalty towards the herd. That's how little by little, emotions replace logical thought and things that seemed inconceivable shortly before, suddenly sound right.

    I don't use the word 'hero' very often, but you, Felix Kjellberg, are the greatest hero in YouTube history.

      You should keep not using the word. You have a very, very, low bar for what a "hero" is.

    And now that anti-Semitism has gone mainstream, he's not into it now.

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