PewDiePie has stated that he will stop making Nazi jokes on his hugely popular YouTube channel, after the events of Charlottesville caused him to re-evaluate his stance on them, stating that they are “a dead meme.”
PewDiePie, real name Felix Kjellberg, posted a video discussing his reaction to the Charlottesville ‘Unite The Right’ rally, which led to the murder of protestor Heather Heyer by a white supremacist. The YouTuber was previously dropped from the Disney production company Maker Studios for making anti-Semitic jokes and including Nazi imagery in his videos, with him responding to criticisms of his actions by slamming the media and leaning further into his new far-right fan base. However, he has now stated that the events of Charlottesville have caused him to reevaluate his actions, with him no longer wanting there to be ambiguity regarding his political inclinations.
“I thought now would be as good a time as any to say I want nothing to do with these people. I don’t think anyone that watches me thinks that I’m an actual Nazi, but I know a lot of people still might have doubts, mainly because of all the jokes I’ve been joking,” he said. “At this point, I’d really just want to distance myself from all of this. I remember back when everything happened in February, I was sort of like, ‘I mean, they’re just jokes. There’s not actual Nazis out there, what are you talking about?’ And then I look at this, and I’m like, ‘Oh, I see. OK!'”
“If for some reason Nazis think it’s great that I’m making these jokes, I don’t want to give them that benefit, so I’m gonna stop doing it,” he continued. “Nazi memes are not even that funny anymore, it’s sort of a dead meme, so just to make it clear — no more. It’s not me censoring myself, it’s more that I don’t want to be a part of this. I just want to move on with my life, thank you very much, you guys can keep doing what you’re doing with your tiki torches.”
The content of PewDiePie’s videos had previously led the alt-right to believe that the YouTuber, who has over 56 million subscribers on the site, was subtly trying to convert kids to fascism. The neo-Nazi hate site The Daily Stormer (which was taken offline this week after host GoDaddy dropped its domain) even referred to itself as the “#1 PewDiePie fan site” as a result of the fall-out to him being dropped by Maker Studios.
While the 27-year-old’s apparent surprise at the existence of neo-Nazis is questionable, it’s at least encouraging that he has spoken out against the Charlottesville rally, considering the size of his audience and the number of far-right personalities who were using his videos to appeal to a younger demographic. Watch the video below: