Felix Kjellberg, better known by his YouTube identity, PewDiePie, lashed out at The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, saying its article about anti-Semitic messages in his videos was a “personal attack” that took his jokes out of context.
“I’m still here. I’m still making videos. Nice try, Wall Street Journal. Try again, motherfuckers,” he said in the clip, before kissing his middle finger. (Warning: If you haven’t already guessed, the video contains some strong language.) “Old-school media does not like internet personalities because they’re scared of us.”
PewDiePie’s response to The Wall Street Journal’s hit piece:
A representative for Dow Jones, the publisher of the Journal, said the company stands by its reporting.
The Journal investigation resulted this week in Disney cutting its ties with Kjellberg and Google’s YouTube canceling the second season of his reality show. Kjellberg’s main channel, the most subscribed on YouTube by far, continues to host his videos and run ads.
The flap highlights the tension between digital-age stars and traditional media companies trying to tap into their appeal. With 53 million subscribers to his channel, PewDiePie is unparalleled among YouTubers, with his foul-mouthed videos of video game play and cultural wisecracks netting him millions of dollars. But in the case of PewDiePie, edgy jokes that are the norm for fans accustomed to his gags may not always hold water with mainstream media machines.
In the 11-minute video titled “My Response,” Kjellberg apologized for the offensive jokes, like a stunt that paid two Indian men $5 to dance and unravel a sign that read “death to all Jews.”
“I’m sorry for the words that I used, as I know they offended people … and I admit the joke itself went too far,” he said, adding that the backlash has been a learning experience. “I understand that these things have consequences.”
Most of his video was dedicated to criticizing the media and, especially, the Journal.
He accused the Journal of “obviously cornering” Disney and YouTube, “forcing them to sever their ties,” he said. He claimed that the article took him out of context, framing the references to Jews and Nazis as “posts” and not “jokes.”
“It was an attack by the media to try to discredit me, to try to decrease my influence and my economic worth,” he said.
At the end of his video, Kjellberg tears up — laughing at himself as he does — before thanking his supporters who stood by him.