YouTube superstar PewDiePie – real name Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg – has responded that he feels sickened that his name was mentioned in the Christchurch mosque shooter’s livestream video.
According to reports, the shooter had livestreamed a 17-minute video on his attack of the mosque. When he gets back to his car, the gunman makes a reference to the YouTuber by saying “Remember lads, subscribe to PewDiePie...”.
Kjellberg posted a statement on Twitter, expressing his disdain for the shooter and sympathy for those affected by the incident.
Just heard news of the devastating reports from New Zealand Christchurch.— ??ω?????? (@pewdiepie) March 15, 2019
I feel absolutely sickened having my name uttered by this person.
My heart and thoughts go out to the victims, families and everyone affected by this tragedy.
The five-second clip of the gunman mentioning PewDiePie has been widely shared on Twitter, prompting many to defend the social media personality.
#PewdiepieDidNothingWrong DO NOT HATE OR BLAME @pewdiepie , wasn’t his fault, it was the shooters. Don’t give the shooter attention either because he doesn’t deserve it, that’s all that he wants. Help by donating to the victims families https://t.co/G4pkhlFb4R ????????????— Lunar Elio (@LunarElio) March 15, 2019
So #PewDiePie is being blamed for the #Christchurch attack, where the attacker shouted, "Subscribe to PewDiePie before opening fire on innocent people.— Protomario (@Protomario) March 15, 2019
A lone psychopath's words should not be taken at face value, this guy had pages of a manifesto.
He was Evil, plain and simple. pic.twitter.com/AKG1ljZGnf
People blaming Pewdiepie for the Christchurch shooting would be like if people blamed J.D. Salinger for Mark David Chapman assassinating John Lennon.— Spoonhemian Rhapsody (@IceRosesOnPluto) March 15, 2019
Kjellberg is known for producing YouTube videos with content that focuses on videogames, comedy and commentary on social media culture. Forbes ranked him as one of the highest-paid YouTubers in 2018 with an estimated earning of US$15mil (RM60mil).
In recent months, he has been locked in a battle with Bollywood YouTube channel T-Series for the title of the most subscribed channel on the platform. The Verge reported that Kjellberg’s ongoing battle to become the biggest channel on YouTube has even inspired an independent videogame called Zero Deaths. T-Series currently has 89,433,860 subscribers while Kjellberg is in the lead with 89,439,205.
In 2017, Kjellberg was embroiled in a controversy when he posted a video of two men posing with cardboard sign with an anti-Semitic message. According to BBC, Kjellberg found the two men through a crowdfunding website. As a result, Kjellberg was dropped from Disney’s Maker Studios.