Disney has dropped PewDiePie, the world’s highest-earning YouTube star, after a series of videos that featured anti-Semitic messages, according to The Wall Street Journal.
PewDiePie, a 27 year old from Sweden named Felix Kjellberg, whose foul-mouthed gaming videos have netted him 53 million subscribers, made $15 million in 2016, according to Forbes. Some of that was a result of a joint venture with Maker Studios, the multi-channel network Disney bought for $675 million in 2014. That joint venture is finished in the wake of these videos, Disney confirmed to Business Insider.
“Although Felix has created a following by being provocative and irreverent, he clearly went too far in this case and the resulting videos are inappropriate," a spokeswoman for Maker Studios told Business Insider. "Maker Studios has made the decision to end our affiliation with him going forward.”
According to a Wall Street Journal review of Kjellberg’s channel, he posted nine videos since August that “include anti-Semitic jokes or Nazi imagery.”
One such video from January 11, since taken down, featured Kjellberg hiring two men to make a sign that read “Death to All Jews,” using the freelancer website Fiverr. Kjellberg later said that video was a joke that had gone too far, and YouTube pulled ads from the video. (YouTube hasn’t pulled ads from any of Kjellberg’s other videos, nor taken any of the videos down, though Kjellberg has himself.)
The situation is complicated for YouTube, since beyond Kjellberg being its biggest star, he also has a show on YouTube’s $9.99-a-month premium service, YouTube Red, called “Scare PewDiePie.” YouTube declined to comment about Kjellberg to The Journal.
Business Insider has reached out to YouTube and PewDiePie for comment.