With a subscriber count of over 55 million and 15 billion total views (as of this writing), PewDiePie is, without a doubt, a YouTube sensation. And since he’s 24 million times ahead of the channel next to his on the most-subscribed list, it looks like he’s going to remain in that seat for a long, long time.
Felix Kjellberg, the man behind the online persona and channel name, gained the title of the most-subscribed user on YouTube because of his funny commentaries and crazy antics. His videos – ranging from unfiltered video game reviews to profanity-filled comedy sketches – can give you a good laugh, raise your eyebrows, or make you click on that Unsubscribe button while shaking your head, but you just know you will watch him again after a couple of days.
He’s so popular that people are screen printing shirts of him and they’re selling out!
Despite his huge online following and the attention from mainstream media, PewDiePie refuses to shy away from controversial subjects and has met with controversy himself. At the beginning of this year, just as he was about to release the second season of his YouTube Red original series, Scare PewDiePie, the show was canceled, and YouTube has reportedly severed business ties with him.
What happened to Scare PewDiePie?
Scare PewDiePie is a reality series featuring PewDiePie basically playing his favorite survival horror video games in real life. These video games are ones he has previously filmed himself playing for his YouTube channel. He explores sets, alone or with fellow YouTubers, and encounters different situations inspired by the games. The first season of the series released 10 episodes on YouTube Red, a paid version of YouTube launched in 2015. It ensures an ad-free experience and tons of exclusive original content, one of which is PewDiePie’s series.
Season 2 of Scare PewDiePie was set to be released when YouTube decided to cancel it after PewDiePie was called out by the Wall Street Journal and several other mainstream media outlets on his alleged anti-Semitic content.
The Wall Street Journal specifically cited a video where PewDiePie shows a clip of two shirtless Indian men holding up a sign that said “Death to All Jews”, and of a man dressed as Jesus Christ saying “Hitler did nothing wrong.” These people were instructed and paid by PewDiePie through the freelance website Fiverr. Aside from these, the Wall Street Journal also pointed out previous videos from PewDiePie’s channel that allegedly contained Nazi imagery and anti-Semitic jokes.
After the articles accusing PewDiePie of being a Nazi were published, Disney-owned Maker Studios released him from his contract with them, stating that “he went too far” this time. The cancellation of Scare PewDiePie and his release from Google Preferred, which ensures he has advertisement reservations and financial backing from Google, immediately followed.
According to PewDiePie, the point of the video was to show how ridiculous a website like Fiverr is, since you can make people do and say outrageous things just for the price of $5. Netizens and a few notable YouTubers have expressed their support of – and defended – PewDiePie, but people who knew nothing about him and his sense of humor before this controversy were delighted by the fact that he lost his biggest connections and had his show canceled as a result.