PewDiePie has once again provoked controversy after the world's most popular YouTube channel recommended a video produced by a channel notorious for its antisemitic content.
The promotion of the video made by the YouTuber E;R, which itself did not contain any antisemitic content, led to the channel receiving 15,000 new subscribers.
PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, has previously criticised the media for unfairly portraying him as antisemitic. He said in a video last year that his content and actions are taken "out of context to use against me to portray me as a Nazi."
It is not clear whether he was aware of E;R's reputation as an antisemitic, sexist and homophobic channel, however E;R's video description states: "The truth about why this took so long is because I thought it was so funny to call Black L 'Niglet'."
The reach of Kjellberg's channel, which has more than 75 million subscribers, has led some to suggest that he should understand the responsibility that comes with promoting other channels.
"Yesterday pewdiepie ended #Subscribetopewdiepie in a video where he promoted some of his favorite channels," Hasan Piker, a host of popular YouTube channel The Young Turks, wrote on Twitter. "One of them was straight up a neo-nazi's yt page where he makes video essays on children's cartoons with added nazi propoganda."
It is not the first time the YouTube star has attracted controversy relating to antisemitism.
Last year, Disney's Maker Studios cut all ties with Kjellberg after he posted a series of videos that included Nazi imagery and people he had paid to hold up signs that said "Death to all Jews" and "Hitler did absolutely nothing wrong."
A spokesperson for Maker Studios said in a statement at the time: "Although Felix has created a following by being provocative and irreverent, he clearly went too far in this case and the resulting videos and inappropriate. Maker Studios has made the decision to end our affiliation with him going forward."
Kjellberg responded to the controversy in a blog post aimed at clarifying his intention with the video.
"Some have been pointing to my videos and saying that I am giving credibility to the anti-Semitic movement, and my fans are part of it as well for watching," he wrote.
"I was trying to show how crazy the modern world is, specifically some of the services available online. I picked something that seemed absurd to me – that people on Fiverr would say anything for 5 dollars. I think it's important to say something and I want to make one thing clear: I am in no way supporting any kind of hateful attitudes."
He concluded: "Though this was not my intention, I understand that these jokes were ultimately offensive. As laughable as it is to believe that I might actually endorse these people, to anyone unsure on my standpoint regarding hate-based groups: No, I don't support these people in any way."
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