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Who Is PewDiePie? YouTube’s Most Successful User Has a History of Making Racist Remarks

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Suhaimi Abdullah, Getty Images

Meet PewDiePie: With more than 57 million subscribers—a fan base he calls his “Bro Army”—he’s the most subscribed to user on YouTube. Last year, he was one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people, and he’s even won a Teen Choice Award.

While the 27-year-old Swedish comedian, vlogger and video content creator (real name Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg) is the epitome of a successful YouTuber, he’s far from beloved: His reputation is tarnished by a history marked with racially charged controversy.

Since launching his highly successful YouTube channel around 2010, the web star, who has a reported $20 million net worth, has experienced scandal after scandal, with countless controversies in 2017 alone.

In January, PewDiePie allegedly used the word “ni—” in a video, resulting in the Twitter hashtag #PewDiePieIsOverParty to trend worldwide. Days later, he received backlash and allegations of anti-Antisemitism after paying a creator on Fiverr to craft a sign which read “DEATH TO ALL JEWS,” which he “reacted” to “as a joke” in a YouTube video. (He subsequently apologized, though he was banned from using the service again.)

After The Wall Street Journal reported on the controversy and claimed that PewDiePie had included Nazi-related imagery and anti-Semitic jokes in at least nine separate videos since August 2016, the YouTuber’s multi-channel network, Disney’s Maker Studios, cut ties with PewDiePie in February. He was also dropped from YouTube’s Red service, saw the second season of his reality show cancelled and was removed from Google’s preferred advertising program.

Unfortunately, PewDiePie did not seem to learn his lesson. On September 10, the YouTuber used the racial slur “ni—r” while live streaming an MMO video game called PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

Meanwhile, Campo Santo—the development company behind Firewatch, another game PewDiePie often streams—quickly slammed the web star, with co-founder Sean Vanaman filing a DACA take down of any clips of the streamer playing any Campo Santo titles and tweeting, “I am sick of this child getting more and more chances to make money off of what we make.”

“He’s worse than a closeted racist: he’s a propagator of despicable garbage that does real damage to the culture around this industry,” Vanaman added.

As of 3 PM EST on Tuesday (September 11), PewDiePie has yet to address this latest incident.

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