Prominent YouTubers Rally Around PewDiePie in Anti-Semitism Saga

As the PewDiePie anti-Semitism debate rages on and think pieces spew from major news outlets, many of the most influential, most-subscribed members of the YouTube community are weighing in on the matter.

Yesterday, he posted a video apologizing for some of the jokes that led to Disney and YouTube deserting him, thanking the YouTube community for supporting him, and accusing the media of conducting a series of personal attacks on him. In response to the video, several outlets, including Variety have published follow-up pieces on the matter.

Here is a small sample of what some of YouTube’s top stars have to say.

Markiplier, Current Subscriber Count: Over 16 million

Markiplier, real name Mark Fischbach, deals with the issue by bringing up the ideal of “respect on a basic human level” and “common human decency.” Fischbach begins the video in general terms, discussing how someone can be hated for their actions but still need to be treated with respect, before dealing more specifically with PewDiePie.

“I want to be very clear about something, Felix is not an anti-Semite and Felix does not advocate hate, and I’m not even defending the jokes that he made because even he has apologized…but he as a person, as a human being, he’s not these labels,” Fischbach says. “When it comes to dehumanizing someone or anyone, I won’t stand for that, because at the end of the day there’s going to be people that follow us and it’s up to you and me to show them what respect really means.”

Philip DeFranco, Current Subscriber Count: Over 5 million

Philip DeFranco, whose channel consists of a daily show recapping news and pop culture and presenting his own opinion on the news, posted a video which laid out the whole saga and then echoed PewDiePie’s feeling that he is being attacked by the media.

The Wall Street Journal and all these other outlets, they 100% want to have a bead on the forehead of PewDiePie and that is because Felix brings in the clicks, outrage brings in the clicks, get them in with the headline and whatever  happens after happens,” DeFranco says.

Later in the video, DeFranco says that the media’s reaction has made outlets “look silly” and has “added to the conversation of why (they) should not be trusted.”

“Thanks to you in the media, the way that all of you rushed to cover without looking for context, you have made him the temporary face and put him front and center in the conversation of free speech,” DeFranco argues. “And in the story of the media trying to take down people for saying things that they don’t like, or they think are offensive, the media will literally try and ruin your career if you make jokes about things that offend them, you have only made him stronger and more important.”

KSI, Current Subscriber Count: Nearly 16 million

KSI, a British YouTuber and rapper whose real name is Olajide Olatunji and who last year starred in the movie “Laid in America,” weighed into the debate via Twitter.

First, he tweeted PewDiePie’s apology video with the accompanying message, “We’re fully behind you bro,” before adding that he relates to PewDiePie’s current predicament, describing the media’s coverage of YouTube’s most-watched personality as a “witch hunt.”


Casey Neistat, Current Subscriber Count: Over 6 million

Neistat posted a video on Feb. 14, before Kjellberg had posted his apology video, defending PewDiePie for the most part, but also pointing out that given his vast subscriber count, he does have a responsibility to understand his audience and how his words are going to be interpreted.

“With an audience that size, it could provoke something that could definitely skew the moral compass of a younger audience in the direction that really befits no one,” Neistat says. “While ultimately I’m not a fan of this kind of humor, there’s nothing I appreciate or cherish more than free speech… but what this does underscore is that for YouTubers, just like everyone else in the world, you can say whatever you want but at times there will be consequences for it.”

Today, Neistat shared PewDiePie’s respsone video for a second time, calling it a “well considered and fair response.”

Earlier this morning, PewDiePie tweeted a claim that the WSJ had come to his home address to offer him “a platform to defend (himself),” and criticized the publication again for first approaching the brands he’s associated with for comment on the original story.

The saga began with the Wall Street Journal running a story on Disney “severing ties” with PewDiePie because of anti-Semitic jokes and Nazi imagery he had previously posted on his channel. PewDiePie, who runs YouTube’s largest independent channel with over 53 million subscribers, subsequently had the second season of his YouTube Red show “Scare PewDiePie” cancelled, and the company also removed his channel from the “Google Preferred” advertising scheme.

More Digital

  • Facebook Logo

    #LogOutFacebook: NAACP Calls for Boycott, Civil Rights Groups Demand Board Changes

    The NAACP is calling on Facebook users to take part in a one-day boycott of the social network this Tuesday to pressure the company to do more against disinformation and racial discrimination. Separately, a coalition of about three dozen social justice groups called on Facebook to remove key executives from its board of directors. The [...]

  • Westworld Season 2 HBO

    Facebook Has Talked With HBO, Showtime and Other Networks but It's Unlikely to Proceed With Pay-TV Idea

    Is Facebook about to become cable TV provider? Don’t bet on it. The social giant has held informal discussions with cable networks including HBO and Showtime Networks about potentially offering subscriptions to their streaming services on Facebook, multiple sources tell Variety, confirming a Recode report last week that first reported the talks. However, Facebook currently [...]

  • Ed Sheeran Shape of You

    Ed Sheeran, Clean Bandit Top Shazam’s 2018 Year-End Lists

    Clean Bandit and Demi Lovato’s song “Solo” was the most-Shazamed song and Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” was the longest running No. 1 track on the service’s global charts, the company revealed today in its year-end lists. Nicky Jam and J Balvin’s “X” was the No. 2 most-Shazamed song and Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa’s “One Kiss” [...]

  • Remote for Android TV-Based TiVo Device

    TiVo FCC Filing Suggests Android TV Device Coming in Time for CES

    A filing for a new TiVo remote control suggests that the company may be getting ready to show an Android TV-based set-top box at CES in Las Vegas next month. The device likely won’t be sold to end users, but instead ship to TV operators looking to combine TiVo’s DVR capabilities with Google’s TV platform. [...]

  • Telemundo to Launch English-Language Newscast With

    Telemundo to Launch First English-Language Newscast on YouTube (EXCLUSIVE)

    NBCUniversal’s Hispanic broadcaster Telemundo is developing its first English-language newscast in collaboration with YouTube in a bid to tap the burgeoning U.S. Hispanic youth demographic. Borne out of a YouTube grant aimed at awarding journalism projects that “elevate quality journalism, evolve business models to drive sustainable growth, and empower news organizations through technological innovation,” Telemundo News’ [...]

  • Wall Street Journal Site Hacked With

    Wall Street Journal Site Hacked With Pro-PewDiePie Message

    PewDiePie’s ongoing battle to keep his channel’s YouTube subscriber count No. 1 ahead of India’s T-Series took another bizarre twist: A branded-content section of the Wall Street Journal’s website was hacked with a fake message apologizing to PewDiePie and urging people to subscribe to his channel. A spokeswoman for Dow Jones & Co., publisher of the [...]

  • YouTube - Comcast Xfinity X1

    YouTube 4K Content Goes Live on Comcast's Xfinity X1 Set-Tops

    Comcast television subscribers can now enjoy YouTube in ultra-high definition: The Google-owned video service is now serving up 4K videos on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 set-top boxes, the cable company announced Monday. X1 owners who also happen to have a X1 voice remote can get access to a curated selection of 4K content by asking the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content