PewDiePie defends making £40,000 donation to Anti Defamation League after criticism from fans

'I’ve felt responsibility to make changes'

Sarah Young
Thursday 12 September 2019 11:04
PewDiePie defends ADL donation in 100 million subscribers video

YouTuber PewDiePie has defended his decision to make a $50,000 (£40,000) donation to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

On Tuesday, the influencer, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, celebrated reaching 100m subscribers on his YouTube channel with a video to mark the milestone.

In the 10-minute long clip, Kjellberg showed his fans the Red Diamond Play Button plaque he was awarded by YouTube and joked that he would now set his sights on hitting “a thousand million” subscribers.

During the unboxing video, Kjellberg also revealed that he had donated a sizeable amount of money to ADL – a non-governmental organisation that aims to stop the defamation of Jewish people and “secure justice and fair treatment to all”.

“As an additional celebration, I’m donating $50,000 to Anti-Defamation League, which is an organisation that fights bigotry and prejudice in all its forms,” Kjellberg said.

However, the YouTubers fans were confused about Kjellberg’s choice of charity, as in 2017 the ADL took a public stance against him for comments which many deemed to be anti-semitic.

The organisation went as far as calling on Disney to cut ties with the YouTuber and even mentioned him in an article on 2018’s top 11 moments of hate.

When Disney did eventually cancel their sponsorship of Kjellberg, ADL’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, released the following statement: “ADL commends Disney’s decision to sever ties with PewDiePie following his posting of videos on YouTube containing swastikas and other anti-Semitic content.

“This clearly crosses a line, but is becoming all-too commonplace on social media.”

Kjellberg’s fans were quick to comment on the donation with some calling it a “buyout” in order for PewDiePie to be back in good standings with YouTube.

“I feel betrayed. I subbed to him originally because I liked how he dealt with the media and other groups (including the ADL) telling lies about him,” one person wrote.

Another added: “ The way that @pewdiepie brings up how he’s ‘donating’ $50k to the Anti Defamation League @ADL makes it look totally sus and look like he’s facing blackmail from the ADL”.

Following the backlash, Kjellberg defended his contribution on Twitter, stating that he wants to move on.

“Misrepresenting headlines of me has led me down a path of twists with MSM [mainstream media] for years now. Previously it hasn’t bothered me much. I know who I am.

“But, after the Christ Church travesty a few months ago, my own clash with MSM was manipulated as a tool for destruction.

He continued: “I’m not okay with this situation any longer and I’ve felt responsibility to make changes.

“Making a donation to ADL doesn’t make sense to everyone, especially since they’ve outright spoken against me. I wanted to show publicly that I can move past it and move on. I think that it’s important, this just isn’t my fight anymore.”

The YouTuber sparked controversy in 2017 after he paid two men to hold up a sign in a video that read “Death to all Jews”, which he claimed to do to prove “how crazy the modern world is, specifically some of the services available online”.

Kjellberg later apologised for the video, saying: “I am sorry for the words I used as I know they offended people. I do strongly believe that you can joke about anything, but I also believe that there is a right way and not the best way to joke about things."

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in