In a video on Sunday, Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg finally spoke about the massive shootings in two mosques in New Zealand that left more than 50 dead and caused an uncomfortable relationship with the popular YouTuber.
The New Zealand attacker broadcast the shoot live and referred to the "Subscribe to PewDiePie" movement in the live broadcast. The meme is based on a battle between Kjellberg, YouTube's main single creator with more than 95 million subscribers, and T-Series, a Bollywood studio in India, which competed for the most-subscribed YouTube channel. Kjellberg tweeted about the connection at the time, describing the attack of disgust, but never addressed it in detail on his YouTube channel. Later, Kjellberg made several other jokes about "Subscribe to PewDiePie", in a rather complicated way, but many other creators fell back completely in the wake of the tragedy.
Now, Kjellberg is asking his subscribers to stop the meme altogether, and addresses the awkward implications of the New Zealand attack.
"To have my name associated with" something so unspeakably vile has affected me in more ways than I've let on, "says Kjellberg in the video." I just did not want to address it immediately, and I did not want to pay more attention to the terrorist. I did not want to do it for me, because I do not think it has anything to do with me. To say it clearly, he did not want the hatred to win.
"But for me it is now clear that the" Subscribe to PewDiePie "movement should have ended then."
After addressing "Subscribe to PewDiePie" and some of the hateful content that has emerged from the meme, including the defacement of a World War II memorial in New York that Kjellberg condemned, Kjellberg also raised his battle with T-Series. Kjellberg made two dissenting clues about T-Series, a popular element within the YouTube community, that were celebrated by its subscribers, but condemned by critics. Although Kjellberg has criticized racist comments made by his T-Series subscribers and fans in the past, he made several of his own racist jokes in a video, "Congratulations." Kjellberg also made a joke about genocide in the video, referring to multiple controversies he has had about anti-Semitic content.
Kjellberg acknowledged that while doing the songs "in fun and ironic joke", he has offended and hurt people with his actions. Ultimately, the videos were considered so offensive that the Indian High Court decided to block them from being seen inside the country.
"They were not meant to be taken seriously," Kjellberg said in the latest video. "This negative rhetoric is something that I do not agree with at all, and I want it to stop, and let it be clear: no, I'm not a racist, I do not support any kind of racist comments or hatred towards anyone."
Having his name and community associated with acts of hatred and terror is "so unpleasant," Kjellberg said. He added that he did not want "all these acts of hate to overcome all these amazing things" that the community was doing, including raising funds for charities in India and around the world. Kjellberg ends his video requesting that when his channel reaches 100 million subscribers, he does not want it to be seen as defeating another channel; he wants to keep it positive.
"This movement started with love and support, so let's finish with that."
"Subscribe to PewDiePie" is one of the most outstanding examples of how quickly an initially innocent meme can become a snowball in something defined by the odious actions of others. The joke may have started as a comment on a specific YouTube theme within the community: a David-Goliath fight between one of the platform's most popular independent creators and a corporation, but that is no longer what it represents . Kjelleberg's decision to use YouTube, his most important platform, to send a message about the end of something he could no longer control, was inevitable.