YouTube star PewDiePie dropped by Disney over 'antisemitic messages' in his posts

Credit: Pew Die Pie / YouTube

YouTube's biggest star has been dropped from a partnership with Disney after he repeatedly posted seemingly antisemitic jokes and images in his videos.

Swedish comedian Felix Kjellberg, who posts under the name PewDiePie, said he included hate material as a joke but Disney said he had crossed a line and they were no longer willing to work with him.

The YouTuber had gained 53 million followers for videos based around game play and comedy skits in which he cultivated a provocative persona with frequent outbursts and edgy jokes.

However he had recently attracted criticism - and a new following of White Supremacists - after he began to weave in Nazi imagery and and jokes which many saw as anti-Semitic in recent months.

In one film last month, Kjellberg showed two Indian men he paid to hold up a sign that says "Death to all Jews".

He said that he was trying to "show how crazy the modern world is" but Disney's Maker Studios, which had run his YouTube channel, said that it was no longer willing to work with him.

“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 Make Studios in a comment to the Wall Street Journal.

YouTube also cancelled the second season of Kjellberg's reality show Scare PewDiePie as the scandal grew.

Kjellberg has since taken down as least one of the contentious videos and said in a statement posted on Tumblr that he did not support hate speech.

"I think it’s important to say something and I want to make one thing clear: I am in no way supporting any kind of hateful attitudes," he wrote.

Many commentators have said that whatever his intent, his hugely popular posts have served to fuel antisemitism.

Some fans said they would be standing by him an the row was overblown.