PewDiePie cancels $50,000 donation to anti-hate group: 'I messed up'

  • Published
PewDiePieImage source, PewDiePie / YouTube

PewDiePie has changed his mind about donating $50,000 (£40,496) to a charity that campaigns to stop hate speech against Jewish people.

Earlier this week, he told fans he would give the money to the Anti Defamation League - a group which has previously criticised the YouTuber.

The gamer and comedian announced the donation to mark hitting 100 million followers on YouTube.

But he has since reconsidered, saying he was "sorry for messing this up."

"I made the mistake of picking a charity I was advised to instead of picking a charity that I'm personally passionate about, which is 100% my fault," the Swedish star, real name Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, says.

"Usually when I pick a charity I take my time. I find a charity I'm really excited about and actually passionate to donate to, so when I uploaded the video talking about the charity, it was very brief and people could something was off.

"I saw it as an opportunity to put an end to these alt-right claims that have been thrown against me. It wasn't to try and clear my name or save grace. If it was I would have done it years ago."

Figure caption,
Warning: Third party content may contain adverts

In 2017, Disney cut ties with PewDiePie after he posted several videos featuring anti-Semitic images.

These include swastikas drawn by a fan and footage of two Indians he paid to hold up a sign which read "death to all Jews."

In the wake of the controversy, he said he was simply trying to "show how crazy the modern world is" and that people "would say anything for five dollars" but added that he understood that "these jokes were ultimately offensive".

He said he was prompted to make a donation after his name was linked to this year's mass-shooting that took place in Christchurch, New Zealand.

But fans had suggested he had been pressured into making the donation to the organisation, who had criticised his previous actions.

'This was not the right way to go about it'

The gunman, who killed 51 people and injured 50 more in the attack in March 2019, shouted "subscribe to PewDiePie" before opening fire in a mosque.

"After the Christchurch tragedy, I felt a responsibility to do something about it," he added.

"I've struggled to figure out how to do that but this was not the right way to go about it."

PewDiePie says he plans to give the money to a different organisation.

"It really doesn't feel genuine for me to proceed with the donation at this point and I instead wanted to actually take my time, keep the intent that I had but just doing it with the right charity and doing it properly," he added.

"I'm sorry for all the confusion and I'm sorry for messing this up. That's what I do."

The Anti-Defamation League say they have had no contact with PewDiePie about the donation or his change of mind.

"ADL learned about the potential donation from Felix Kjellberg when everyone else did: when he made the announcement on his channel earlier this week," said the organisation in a statement.

"We have not received any communication from him beyond that."

Follow Newsbeat on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 weekdays - or listen back here.