UPDATE: Disney drops YouTube star PewDiePie over anti-Semitic videos

02/14/17 02:51 AM EST

By Rolfe Winkler , Jack Nicas and Ben Fritz

Massively popular internet star 'clearly went too far'

Millions of people have watched a Jan. 11 video by YouTube's biggest star that included two men laughing as they held a banner that read, "Death to all Jews."

The man behind the video is Felix Kjellberg, a 27-year-old Swede known as "PewDiePie," who has amassed 53 million subscribers. His success has brought him multimillion-dollar deals from YouTube, which is owned by Alphabet Inc.'s (GOOGL) (GOOGL) Google, and Walt Disney Co. , which owns a firm that runs Kjellberg's business.

Since August, PewDiePie has posted nine videos that include anti-Semitic jokes or Nazi imagery, according to a review of his channel by The Wall Street Journal.

On Monday after the Journal contacted Disney about the videos, the entertainment giant said it was severing ties with Kjellberg, who as PewDiePie rose to prominence via clips of himself playing videogames or performing skits and making crude jokes. "Although Felix has created a following by being provocative and irreverent, he clearly went too far in this case and the resulting videos are inappropriate," said a spokeswoman for Maker Studios, the Disney division that was business partners with PewDiePie.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com (https://www.wsj.com/articles/disney-severs-ties-with-youtube-star-pewdiepie-after-anti-semitic-posts-1487034533?mod=mktw).

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-Rolfe Winkler ; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com


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02-14-17 0251ET

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