PewDiePie Apologizes for Anti-Semitic Comments, Calls Media Coverage an "Attack"
"This was a personal attack against me," the YouTube star says in the video.
Three days after Disney cut ties with PewDiePie over a series of anti-Semitic jokes, the YouTube star is speaking out.
The Swedish gamer, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, posted a video on Thursday morning addressing the controversy that has swirled around him since a Wall Street Journal article on Monday highlighted nine instances where he used Nazi imagery or made anti-Semitic jokes — including one where two men hold a sign reading, "Death to all Jews."
In the 11-minute-long video, Kjellberg apologizes for the comments. "I'm sorry for the words I used, as I know they offended people," he says. "I admit that the joke itself went too far."
But he also defended his actions. Referencing the Jan. 11 video with the anti-Semitic sign — which he paid two men to hold via the freelance website Fiverr — he noted that he was trying "to show how stupid the website is and how far you can push it by paying $5."
He continued, "I do strongly believe that you can joke about anything. ...I love to push boundaries, but I consider myself a rookie comedian. I've definitely made mistakes like this before. It's always been a growing and learning experience for me."
But Kjellberg also was critical of the media, noting that coverage of him has almost always centered on the millions he makes by posting YouTube videos. "If there's anything I've learned about the media from being a public figure, it's how they blatantly misrepresent people for their own personal gain, even viciously attack people just to further themselves," he said.
He specifically called out the WSJ for its recent coverage, which led Disney's Maker Studios to cut ties with him and YouTube to drop his show from its subscription service. "This was a personal attack against me," he said, later adding, "You're targeting some Swedish guy who tries to be funny."
While Kjellberg's ties with his two largest media partners might be gone, the YouTuber doesn't appear to have lost any subscribers and still has the largest following on the platform with 53 million followers. "I'm still here. I'm still making videos," he said in the video. "Nice try, Wall Street Journal. Try again, motherf—ers."
Near the end of the video, he appears to get choked up, thanking his fans for their support.