PewDiePie asks fans to end ‘Subscribe to PewDiePie’ meme after Christchurch shooting

29 April 2019, 11:44 | Updated: 30 May 2019, 12:55

PewDiePie calls to end Subscribe To PewDiePie meme
PewDiePie calls to end Subscribe To PewDiePie meme. Picture: PewDiePie YouTube Channel

By Woodrow Whyte

"To have my name associated with something so unspeakably vile has affected me in more ways than I’ve let shown”

PewDiePie has called for the 'Subscribe To PewDiePie' meme to end following the deadly shooting that took place in Christchurch, New Zealand last month. As the attacker live-streamed the shooting, he referenced the “Subscribe to PewDiePie” movement just before he carried out the attacks.

PewDiePie 'sickened' after his name was mentioned during mass shooting in New Zealand

PewDiePie, otherwise known as Felix Kjellberg, uploaded a video on Sunday night (April 29) titled "Ending the Subscribe to Pewdiepie Meme". PewDiePie explained the reasons for starting the meme, thanked his fans for their support, but then asked them to respect his wishes and end the meme.

For those that are unaware, PewDiePie entered a long-running battle with an Indian YouTube channel called T-Series last year to hold on to his crown as the most subscribed channel on YouTube. PewDiePie encouraged his fans to support him by promoting his channel wherever possible, which resulted in some bizarre, headline-grabbing stunts. Despite this, T-Series' subscriber count was growing fast (at one point adding 141,000 subscribers per day) and eventually they overtook PewDiePie to take the crown.

The 'Subscribe To PewDiePie' meme continued, but it soon turned sour, including one incident in which a World War II memorial in New York was defaced with the slogan. Kjellberg condemned it and donated money to the park where the memorial stood. Then the attacks in New Zealand happened in March, which left 42 people dead, and uncomfortably linked PewDiePie's name to the tragedy.

PewDiePie condemned the attack on Twitter at the time but now he's given a fuller explanation about his perspective on the situation.

"To have my name associated with something so unspeakably vile has affected me in more ways than I’ve let shown,” Kjellberg said in the video. “I just didn’t want to address it right away, and I didn’t want to give the terrorist any more attention. I didn’t want to make it about me, because I don’t think it has anything to do with me. To put it plainly, I didn’t want hate to win. But it’s clear to me now the “Subscribe to PewDiePie” movement should have ended then.”

PewDiePie then went on to talk about T-Series and his controversial diss tracks, which he said were made in "fun, ironic jest" but now accepts have caused offence, and have been subsequently been blocked and removed in India by a high court. He then goes on to talk about the far-right, racist associations hijacking of the meme, clarifying that: “This negative rhetoric is something I don’t agree with at all, and I want it to stop ... and to make it perfectly clear: no, I’m not racist. I don’t support any form of racist comments or hate towards anyone.”

[H/T The Verge]