PewDiePie Put in Spotlight After New Zealand Shooting

One of YouTube’s largest celebrities discovered himself entangled early Friday in information protection of the mass taking pictures at two mosques in New Zealand.

A gunman who had broadcast a part of the assault that left no less than 49 individuals lifeless urged these watching to “subscribe to PewDiePie,” referring to the alias utilized by Felix Kjellberg, a Swede whose channel has lengthy dominated YouTube and courted controversy alongside the way in which.

Mr. Kjellberg was fast to distance himself from the taking pictures.

“I feel absolutely sickened having my name uttered by this person,” he stated on Twitter. “My heart and thoughts go out to the victims, families and everyone affected by this tragedy.”

Mr. Kjellberg is not any stranger to controversy. In latest years, he has been embraced by some on the far proper and confronted criticism for his use of anti-Semitic imagery and racist and sexist language. Here is a better have a look at PewDiePie and the New Zealand gunman’s phrases.

Last year, T-Series, a music label and film production company based in India, emerged as a threat to PewDiePie’s top-ranked status on YouTube.

In response, Mr. Kjellberg jokingly rallied his fans to stave off T-Series, even going so far as to make a comedic diss track to play up the competition. Other YouTubers got in on the fight, too, with some buying radio and display advertising.

As with many other oft-repeated phrases online, “subscribe to PewDiePie” became a symbol, a meme, unto itself.

In 2017, Disney severed ties with Mr. Kjellberg and YouTube distanced itself from him after The Wall Street Journal identified at least nine of his videos that featured anti-Semitic gestures and imagery.

In one, a pair of men hired by Mr. Kjellberg unfurled a sign that read “Death to All Jews” and then laughed and danced. In another, he wears a brown military uniform, nodding along to archival footage of Hitler delivering a speech.

Some of the videos were removed and Mr. Kjellberg described the segments as jokes, saying in a statement that he was “in no way supporting any kind of hateful attitudes” and that “I understand that these jokes were ultimately offensive.”

Despite those comments, members of the far-right embraced what Mr. Kjellberg had done.

A post on The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, noted that the videos raised questions about Mr. Kjellberg’s own views, but concluded that they didn’t matter: “The effect is the same; it normalizes Nazism, and marginalizes our enemies.”

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