PewDiePie retracts $50,000 pledge to anti-hate group following fan backlash

PewDiePie retracts $50,000 pledge to anti-hate group following fan backlash

YouTube's crowning jewel Felix 'PewDiePie' Kjellberg is at the centre of another digital drama. 

On Tuesday 11th September, Kjellberg announced that he planned to make a $50,000 donation to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a non-governmental body set up to fight antisemitism and hate against the Jewish people.

However, Kjellberg hastily retracted the donation the following day, stating that he didn't "know a lot of things that surfaced throughout this whole thing about the charity".

“I made the mistake of picking a charity that I was advised to instead of picking a charity that I’m personally passionate about,” Kjellberg said in a video which has now been deleted. “Which is 100 percent my fault.”

The initial donation was part of an effort to clear Kjellberg's name following a slew of anti-semetic imagery in his content over the last couple of years.

In 2017, the YouTuber paid two individuals to hold a sign that read "death to all jews" and uploaded the footage to his YouTube channel. This action led Disney-owned MCN maker Studios to cut ties with the creator. 

Despite the cuts, Kjellberg's channel continued to flourish, and the creator recently became the first individual YouTuber to hit 100 million subscribers. He was also named Britain's top influencer in The Times' top 100 influencers list.

It never ends

Earlier this year, Kjellberg became the talking point of a heavier tragedy after a shooter in New Zealand stated "subscribe to PewDiePie" during a series of mosque attacks. Kjellberg spoke out against the attacks, urging his fans to stop using the phrase.

“To have my name associated with something so unspeakably vile has affected me in more ways than I’ve let shown," Kjellberg said in a video at the time.

"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.”


Danielle Partis is editor of and former editor of She was named Journalist of the Year at the MCV Women in Games Awards 2019, as well as in the MCV 30 under 30 2020. Prior to Steel Media, she wrote about music and games at Team Rock.