Brighton, England based YouTuber Felix Kjellberg, known to his followers as PewDiePie, has officially become one of only two YouTubers to have over 100 million subscribers. To celebrate, the YouTuber shared his YouTube journey and unboxed an award for his devoted fans.
PewDiePie announced in his unboxing video that he would also be donating $50,000 to the Anti Defamation League: “As an additional celebration, I will be donating $50,000 to the Anti Defamation League, which is an organization that fights bigotry and prejudice in all its forms” he said.
Fans of the the YouTuber complained about his choice of charity, as the ADL previously pushed for Disney to cut ties with PewDiePie and even mentioned him in an article on 2018’s top 11 moments of hate.
When Disney did eventually cancel their sponsorship of Kjellberg, ADL’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, released the following statement: “ADL commends Disney’s decision to sever ties with PewDiePie following his posting of videos on YouTube containing swastikas and other anti-Semitic content. This clearly crosses a line, but is becoming all-too commonplace on social media.”
PewDiePie eventually took to Twitter to explain his reasoning behind the donation.
The YouTuber has sparked controversy in the past for statements which some deemed to be anti-semitic. In 2017 he paid two men to hold up a sign that read “Death to all Jews”, which he claimed to do to prove “how crazy the modern world is, specifically some of the services available online”. In an investigation by the Wall Street Journal, the newspaper claimed nine of the Youtuber’s videos featured antisemitic and Nazi themes.
Kjellberg took to YouTube at the time to respond to the allegations made by the WSJ. In the video, PewDiePie stated: “I am sorry for the words I used as I know they offended people. I do strongly believe that you can joke about anything, but I also believe that there is a right way and not the best way to joke about things.”
His fans retaliated by hacking the WSJ telling them to apologize.
The other account to hit 100 million subscribers is T-Series, which is the account for India’s largest music label and movie studio. The two channels have been duking it out in the subscriber count world for years.