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Disney Drops PewDiePie Following Anti-Semitic Posts

YouTuber PewDiePie is in hot water with his sponsors for pulling an ill-conceived "prank".

YouTube sensation PewDiePie (aka Felix Kjellberg) has pulled yet another prank on his wildly popular channel. But this time around, it's gotten him in trouble with Disney, YouTube, and other sponsors. 

Kjellberg paid two men to wear loincloths and dance around with a sign that read "Death to all Jews" -- then featured them in a short video that hit 6 million views before it was taken down. He claims that the joke was made in good fun, and that he was in no way trying to express actual anti-Semitic views.

But his sponsors don't seem to be laughing, as both Disney and YouTube have cut their business ties with Kjellberg in response to the post. YouTube has cancelled its release of the second season of "Scare PewDiePie" on its premium subscription platform, YouTube Red, and even went so far as to remove PewDiePie's channel altogether from Google Preferred. 

In a similar backlash, Disney has dropped Kjellberg from its Makers Studios, where he was given free rein over his own YouTube network called Revelmode. Although Kjellberg was the most-watched personality in the studio, he'll no longer be a part of the project in any capacity. 

These decisions were based not only on the content of the singular video, but also on 8 additional videos that were uncovered in a Wall Street Journal investigation -- all of which included anti-Jewish jokes, anti-Semitic remarks, or Nazi imagery. 

Although PewDiePie is known for being irreverent in this way, his sponsors agree that he's taken it too far with this type of content. And while he's losing out on a number of partnerships, he will not lose his whole YouTube channel -- and will still be able to monetize the videos he makes there. 

Only time will tell if PewDiePie will be able to recover from this misstep and keep creating content, or if the King of Let's Plays will finally step down and do something else. 

Published Feb. 14th 2017

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