YouTube king Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg revealed his 100 million subscriber Red Diamond Play Button in an emotional video on September 10 - but that wasn’t his only reveal, likewise announcing a major donation to the Anti-Defamation League.
In his video, Kjellberg stated that he would be making a $50,000 donation to the ADL to celebrate his milestone, an organization dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism and protecting communities from “extremist threats of every kind.”
However, not everyone was pleased with this turn of events, with some commenters claiming that the Swede was being blackmailed by the ADL, while others found the organization to be “shady” - and even accused it of “controlling” PewDiePie’s channel.
(Timestamp: 2:07 for mobile viewers)
“WTF PewDiePie, huge ups for the 100 million but why on earth did you donate $50,000 to the ADL?” YouTuber “The Quartering” commented. “They are a joke agency… remember they classify Pepe as a hate symbol?”
WTF @pewdiepie huge ups for the 100 Million but why the FUCK did you donate $50,000 to the ADL. They are a joke agency....remember they classify pepe as a hate symbol?
— TheQuartering (@TheQuartering) September 10, 2019
“The ADL are deleting peoples’ comments,” another user wrote, uploading a video that appeared to show comments disappearing underneath Kjellberg’s 100 million milestone video.
— Svlfr (@svlfrr) September 10, 2019
The chaos didn’t go unnoticed: PewDiePie published a statement about the controversy on September 11, clarifying that the Christchurch shootings in New Zealand had used his negative image with the mainstream media as a destructive tool, explaining that his donation to the ADL was a step in rectifying this damage.
“...after the Christchurch travesty a few months ago, my own clash with MSM was manipulated as a tool for destruction,” Kjellberg wrote. “Making a donation to the ADL doesn’t make sense to everyone, especially since they’ve outright spoken against me. I wanted to show publicly that I can move past it and move on.”
— ƿ૯ωძɿ૯ƿɿ૯ (@pewdiepie) September 11, 2019
The YouTuber’s statement was met with mixed reviews on both sides, with some fans applauding PewDiePie for his donation while others accused the ADL of manipulating him for their own gain.
“Felix, The ADL straight up doesn’t care about you,” one user wrote. “You can donate them every penny in the world and it wouldn’t be enough to them. They are using a tragedy to manipulate your emotions, you’re playing straight into their game.”
Felix, The ADL straight up doesn’t care about you.
You can donate them every penny in the world and it wouldn’t be enough to them.
They are using a tragedy to manipulate your emotions, you’re playing straight into their game.
— Bryton Cherrier (@BrytonCherrier) September 11, 2019
PewDiePie’s latest statement follows yet another major milestone for the YouTuber, who surpassed 101 million subscribers just two weeks after reaching his 100 million goal - as well as his quiet wedding to fiance Marzia Bisognin in mid-August.