The popular YouTuber, who made his original announcement during the unveiling of a YouTube Play button to celebrate surpassing 100 million subscribers, told fans in a video uploaded on Thursday that he "didn't know a lot of things that surfaced.about the charity".
YouTube star PewDiePie has published a video update addressing his controversial plans to donate $50,000 to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and says that he will no longer be donating after his initial announcement drew backlash from fans who knew about the ADL pushing policies that have harmed the livelihood of YouTube creators.
"Making a donation to the ADL doesn't make sense to everyone, especially since they've outright spoken against me". Usually when I pick a charity, I take my time, I find a charity that I'm really excited about and actually passionate to donate to.
"WTF PewDiePie, huge ups for the 100 million but why the FUCK did you donate $50,000 to the ADL?"
"All that this particular incident shows is that at least some of his followers have antisemitic leanings and they were loud enough to get him to change course on what seemed like a PR opportunity to smooth over some of his incidents from the past", said Matt Rivitz, of the social media activism organization Sleeping Giants.
He has also been embraced by far-right extremists, including the Christchurch shooter, a gunman in New Zealand who killed 51 people in a mosque while livestreaming and calling on viewers to "subscribe to PewDiePie".
Some even have posited the notion that the ADL is blackmailing PewDiePie. If it was, I would've done it years ago. A number of major companies canceled their lucrative business deals with him.
Kjellberg's controversies tend to end with a shift of blame, where the scrutiny of Kjellberg becomes more damnable than whatever he did to attract scrutiny in the first place. ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt praised the decision by Disney at the time, saying PewDiePie's behavior "crosses a line". In 2017, Kjellberg used the n-word in a video, in anger, something he later said there was no excuse for.
"I'm sorry for all the confusion and I'm sorry for messing this up".
Others on Twitter also wondered aloud about why PewDiePie was donating.
Which brings us to Kjellberg's $50,000 donation to the ADL, his acknowledgment of his own responsibilities and the conspiratorial outrage he encountered as a result. "The whole internet just didn't believe it like "why is he donating to this charity", "look at his face", full on conspiracy mode and it was very interesting to watch that unfold". He's gone back to his roots as a way of growing up.
If this is where the process of maturing takes Kjellberg, then the real test of his power will come when the worst parts of PewDiePie's erstwhile "army of 9-year-olds" - however old they might be - lose their minds when their leader appears to surrender the fight.