PewDiePie apologized today for making anti-Semitic jokes that he now says “went too far” and which led to him losing major deals with Disney and YouTube. “I'm sorry for the words that I used as I know they offended people, and I admit that the joke itself went too far,” he says in a video, titled “My Response,” that he uploaded to YouTube this afternoon.
But though PewDiePie spends about a minute of the 11-minute video on his apology, much of the rest of the video is spent blaming the media — in particular, The Wall Street Journal — with claims that his comments have been repeatedly taken out of context.
“The reaction and the outrage has been nothing but insanity.”
“They don't call it jokes. They call it posts,” he says. “I made a point that the media takes what I say out of context. They take that and put it out of context to use against me to portray me as a Nazi."
His video focuses on the Journal, which kicked off this series of events with an article on Tuesday reporting that PewDiePie has posted nine videos since August “that include anti-Semitic jokes or Nazi imagery.” Disney cut ties with PewDiePie after the Journal reached out to it for comment.
Asked for comment, a spokesperson for the Journal said “we stand by the reporting.”
Some of the Journal’s findings are more egregious than others. In one case, they cite PewDiePie comparing a YouTube policy to a Hitler speech. But in another, they bring up PewDiePie paying people to hold a sign that reads “Death to All Jews.” He defended the sign as a joke, meant to expose the absurdity of a website he used, called Fiverr, that lets you pay people to do things.
It’s this example that PewDiePie hones in on in his apology:
I do strongly believe that you can joke about anything, but I also believe that there's a right way and not the best way to joke about things. I love to push boundaries, but I would consider myself a rookie comedian and I've definitely made mistakes like this before. But it's always been a growing and learning experience for me. And it's something that I actually learn to really appreciate. And I think this whole situation has definitely been that for me, and it's something that I'm going to keep in mind moving forward.
Mostly, though, he spends the video arguing that he’s being attacked by the media and that others are overreacting. “I acknowledge that I took things too far ... but the reaction and the outrage has been nothing but insanity,” he says.
Early in the video, PewDiePie says his experience with media outlets has led him to believe that they “blatantly misrepresent people for their own personal gain.” He later calls the Journal article “an attack” on him. “It was an attack by the media to try to discredit me, to try and decrease my influence and my economic worth,” he says.
PewDiePie goes on to argue that The Wall Street Journal is enabling hate groups by focusing on his videos instead of other problems. “Personally, I think they are the ones normalizing hatred because there is actual hatred out there,” he says. “Instead of celebrating my show getting canceled, why don’t we focus on that instead? Why don’t we focus on some real issues?”
On Sunday, PewDiePie also posted to his blog that he is “in no way supporting any kind of hateful attitudes” and called the suggestion that he supported them “laughable.”
Update February 16th, 4:02PM ET: This story has been updated with comment from The Wall Street Journal.