Slamming “old-school media” and saying his words were taken out of context, online star PewDiePie (aka Felix Kjellberg) has nonetheless apologized for the anti-Semitic jokes that resulted in dashed deals with YouTube and Disney’s Maker Studios.
“I’m sorry for the words that I used, as I know that they offended people,” Kjellberg says in an 11-minute video titled simply “My Response” (watch it above). “And I admit that the joke went too far.”
The new media celebrity also says he loves “to push boundaries” but considers himself merely a “rookie” comedian.” He called the incident “a learning experience.”
In the most incendiary of his nine controversial videos, two men are seen holding a sign that reads “Death to all Jews.” Kjellberg now suggests he merely meant to shine a light on internet hate.
Kjellberg spends the first portion of his apology video using a very familiar tactic: Blaming the media. “Old-school media does not like internet personalities because they’re scared of us,” he says, adding that the media “misrepresents people, even viciously attacks people.”
In particular, he says, the Wall Street Journal was “basically accusing me of being an anti-Semite.” (He also name-checks Deadline’s sister publication Variety). By presenting his “jokes” as “posts,” he says, the media attempts to “portray me as a Nazi.”
Whatever they’re called, Kjellberg’s comments prompted both YouTube and Disney’s Maker Studios to severe its ties with him. Earlier this week, YouTube canceled the release of Scare PewDiePie Season 2 and is removing the PewDiePie channel from Google Preferred.
Disney’s Maker Studios had already dropped Kjellberg from its roster, saying, “Although Felix has created a following by being provocative and irreverent, he clearly went too far in this case, and the resulting videos are inappropriate.”