Controversial YouTube Star, PewDiePie, Rescinds $50,000 Pledge to ADL
Controversial video star, PewDiePie, has reversed himself and is withdrawing a pledge made earlier this week to donate $50,000 to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and will instead donate the sum to another charity.
The Swedish vlogger, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, announced his change of heart in a YouTube video published on Thursday.
The pledge to the Jewish civil rights group was made as part of his celebration of reaching 100 million subscribers. In rescinding the pledge, PewDiePie said, “I made the mistake of picking a charity that I was advised, instead of picking a charity I was personally passionate about.”
The YouTube star had announced the pledge to the ADL when he celebrated an award from YouTube for reaching 100 million subscribers.
“I made a lot of mistakes on the way but I’ve grown. I feel like I have at least. and I feel like I’ve finally come in terms with the responsibilities I have as a creator. 100 million subs too late,” Kjellberg said during his announcement of the award.
Brenton Tarrant, the terrorist who massacred worshipers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, earlier this year, said, “Subscribe to PewDiePie,” before he started shooting.
In recounting the reaction to his planned donation to the ADL, Kjellberg called it “full conspiracy mode.”
Fans of the YouTube star had suggested that he had been blackmailed into pledging the donation.
In February 2017, Disney severed ties with PewDiePie over his posting of videos that were deemed antisemitic.
In one, a man dressed as Jesus held a sign saying, “Hitler did nothing wrong.”
At the time, Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the ADL, praised Disney for taking the action.
A statement from Greenblatt commended Disney “for its decision to sever ties with PewDiePie following his posting of videos on YouTube containing swastikas and other anti-Semitic content.”
“PewDiePie is entitled to his brand of humor,” the statement noted, “but neither Disney nor any other company has any obligation to his wide dissemination of hate speech.”