How PewDiePie defeated the mainstream media and became the king of YouTube

by Virginia Glaze


Although Felix ‘PewDiePie’ Kjellberg has seen his fair share of controversy, the king of YouTube continues to celebrate success on the platform, gaining over 88 million subscribers and counting.


PewDiePie’s YouTube career began after he dropped out of college, finding his course in Industrial Management and Economics “boring as hell.”

He went on to raise funds for a functional PC by selling hot dogs, which later spurned his series of ‘Let’s Play’ videos that skyrocketed him to fame - including his legendary, 34-part ‘Amnesia’ playthrough.



The Swede’s content grew so popular that he became YouTube’s most subscribed channel in 2013, beating out the likes of media giant ‘SMOSH’ in the process.

While Felix’s early years were fairly free from controversy, his use of a possible racial slur in his ‘Most Handsome Faces of 2017’ video and his subsequent ‘It’s Raping Time’ video kicked off a slew of scandal, which was later heightened by his Anti-Semitic joke through freelance service ‘Fiverrr.’


This debacle caused Disney’s Maker Studios to drop PewDiePie from their network - and even incentivized YouTube to cancel the second season of his original series, ‘Scare PewDiePie.’

A slew of articles criticizing the YouTuber for his joke went live in the process, including a massive piece from the Wall Street Journal that may have kicked off YouTube’s adpocalpyse.

PewDiePie, Twitter / Tubefilter
PewDiePie, Twitter / Tubefilter
Despite PewDiePie's major scandals, the YouTuber has managed to keep a massively faithful fanbase.


PewDiePie went on to incite even more controversy after using a racial slur during a PUBG livestream, and later shouted out an Anti-Semitic YouTube channel in 2018.

Despite the media’s near-constant buzz around PewDiePie’s controversies (with some outlets even linking him to the alt-right), his fanbase faithfully rallied around him in support, with other major YouTubers in the space coming up to bat for the YouTube king amidst the scandals.

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However, PewDiePie was later in the news for a different reason, altogether - he was soon to be surpassed in subscribers by Bollywood label T-Series, which swiftly became one of the most dramatic battles on YouTube.

The fight between PewDiePie and T-Series has since gone viral, with the likes of MrBeast advertising for Pewds at the 2019 Super Bowl and Team 10’s Justin Roberts buying out the largest billboard in Times Square.

Some hackers have even infiltrated printers, Chromecasts, and other devices with messages asking users to subscribe to PewDiePie - proving that despite his controversies, the YouTuber manages to maintain a massively faithful fanbase to this day.

While T-Series was originally projected to surpass PewDiePie in late 2018, the YouTuber has fended off his nemesis for nearly six months, and now sits at over 88 million subs thanks to his viewers.