Disney's Maker Studios has confirmed that it has severed its relationship with YouTube star PewDiePie following the release of a series of videos containing antisemitic messages, and now YouTube has joined Disney in taking action against the highest-paid YouTube star.
Maker - the YouTube creator network purchased by the Walt Disney Company in 204 - has cut its ties with Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg and erased all references to him from its website following the offensive content he uploaded on YouTube.
A representative of Maker Studios told The Wall Street Journal: "Although Felix has created a following by being provocative and irreverent, he clearly went too far in this case. The resulting videos are inappropriate."
The series of videos concerned date back to August 2016, and feature some questionable content including images of Hitler speeches, Nazi salutes, and swastikas. PewDiePie also commissioned freelancers from Fivver for controversial content, including a video of a guy dressed as Jesus saying "Hitler did absolutely nothing wrong", and another showing two men holding up a sign with an antisemitic message written across it.
YouTube has also cancelled his scripted seires, Scare PewDiepie, after his offensive videos were published on his personal channel.
Today, YouTube issued a statement about Scare PewDiePie series and its relationship moving forward with the personality on YouTube Red.
"We've decided to cancel the release of Scare PewDiePie season 2 and we're removing the PewDiePie channel from Google Preferred," a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement.
In Kjellberg's recent Tumblr post, he acknowledged the controversy, saying: "I make videos for my audience. I think of the content that I create as entertainment, and not a place for any serious political commentary. I know my audience understand that and that is why they come to my channel. Though this was not my intention, I understand that these jokes were ultimately offensive."
"As laughable as it is to believe that I might actually endorse these people, to anyone unsure on my standpoint regarding hate-based groups: No, I don't support these people in any way."
YouTube's guidelines state that content creators can incorporate boundary-pushing humor and be satirical, but , but "Controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown," are strictly prohibited.
PewDiePie has not publicly commented about Disney's and YouTube's decisions.