Disney cuts ties with the YouTube star after getting offended by Nazi jokes.
After a series of videos by PewDiePie which included Nazi references and antisemitic jokes, Disney has decided to cut ties with the Swedish YouTube star, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg. The decision follows a Wall Street Journal report noting that there were swastikas, Nazi salutes, pictures of Hitler and other imagery pertaining to Nazis in nine of PewDiePie’s videos posted over the past six months (it is worth noting that he posts at least one video a day). One video, which was removed after the report, featured a clip of two men holding a “death to all Jews” sign. Kjellberg claims that he was only using the imagery in jest and that it was not meant to be taken seriously.
Disney had partnered with Kjellberg through the media production division Maker Studios, which Disney bought in 2014. “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,” a Maker Studios spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal.
Kjellberg did not respond to the article directly, but did issue a statement via his tumblr: “I was trying to show how crazy the modern world is, specifically some of the services available online,” Kjellberg said. “I picked something that seemed absurd to me — that people on Fiverr would say anything for 5 dollars.”
“I am in no way supporting any kind of hateful attitudes,” Kjellberg wrote, “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.”
The scandal raises a point we see all too often in this decade: The media’s sensitivity and obsession with making everything offensive. Kjellberg is hardly the first person to make Nazi references in jest. Should Comedy Central be cutting ties with South Park because the character Cartman on several occasions has made antisemitic or nazi-supporting references? Of course not, because it’s a joke. His character is designed to be absurd and if anything, highlights how twisted the beliefs of Nazis are. Should we ban repeat airing’s of Monty Python’s Flying Circus because John Cleese played Hitler in a few sketches? Should we all boycott It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia because one episode featured the characters trying to hunt down a Hitler painting?
Jonathan Vick of the Anti-Defamation League, in responding to Kjellberg’s Tumblr post, argues that by even pretending to hold antisemitic views, Kjellberg is doing damage. “Just putting it out there brings it more and more into the mainstream.” Nonsense. Kjellberg didn’t hold an impassioned and serious political speech trying to convert his fans to national socialism – he made a joke.
source: Wall Street Journal