PewDiePie, the most popular streamer on YouTube, has never shied away from controversy, but Sunday was a doozie, even for him.
The Swedish YouTube star, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, is under fire after singing the praises of another streamer whose online presentations often include homophobic and anti-Semitic language. In that same stream, he raised eyebrows for calling a fellow streamer a “crybaby and an idiot” after she started a discussion about the earnings gap between male and female streamers.
The outbursts follow PewDiePie’s successful campaign to gain more followers and once again become YouTube’s most subscribed to feed. More than 76 million people currently subscribe to his YouTube channel.
Sunday marked the start of the latest problems, when Kjellberg offered a shout out and link to the channel of “E;R,” citing his video essay looking at the Netflix anime series Death Note. That video jokes about the 2017 murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, and repeats a popular right-wing conspiracy theory regarding her death. E;R has previously had videos banned after complaining about “race mixing” and has another video that overlays a slideshow of people believed to be Jewish with a speech by Adolf Hitler. That video ends with a version of the white supremacist “14 Words” slogan.
Kjellberg was promptly criticized for his praise of the streamer by some on social media, while others quickly came to his defense.
Before his shout out to “E;R,” Kjellberg slammed fellow YouTube star Lilly Singh, who had tweeted about the lack of women on a recent list of the highest-paid YouTube stars from Forbes.
“I think what’s interesting about this whole thing is it’s saying that men are being paid more than women, in the YouTube space, which is obviously just ridiculous,” he said. “You don’t get paid more or less based on your gender. AdSense pays the same way. If people want to subscribe to you, they generally do it because they enjoy your videos, not because of your gender. That’s just ridiculous. But if you start complaining about this, you literally just sound like a crybaby and an idiot, which you are Lilly Singh, just in case you weren’t sure.”
It’s the latest in a growing string of controversies for Kjellberg. In 2017, he found himself in hot water for using a racial slur in one of his videos and for featuring video with anti-Semitic content. The year before, he threw a high-profile temper tantrum and threatened to delete his channel.