The shooter reportedly said, “Subscribe to PewDiePie” during the attack.
“Just heard news of the devastating reports from Christchurch, New Zealand. I feel absolutely sickened having my name uttered by this person,” PewDiePie (real name Felix Kjellberg) said on Twitter. “My heart and thoughts go out to the victims, families and everyone affected by this tragedy.”
Earlier on Friday, fans were pleading with the media not to connect PewDiePie to the incident. Other YouTube stars also reached out to him, expressing sympathy for having his name associated with the horrific incident.
Part of the New Zealand shooter’s motivation apparently was to have his chaos go viral via live streaming and an online “manifesto” posted on his social media account. The connection to PewDiePie was viewed as part of that strategy by many. However, at least one report mentioned the possibility that the mention was a way to raise awareness of the controversial PewDiePie, who has been embraced by some on the right for past controversial statements and imagery he has employed.
PewDiePie has more than 89 million followers on his YouTube account, generating more than 20 billion views.