Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg is pulling his $50,000 pledge to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) after his initial announcement drew backlash from parts of his fan base.
In a video uploaded today, Kjellberg said that he didn’t know much about the ADL when he made the pledge. It was only after uploading the video and seeing feedback about the organization that he admitted he “didn’t know a lot of things that surfaced throughout this whole thing about the charity.” He made the original announcement during an unboxing of a special YouTube Play button to celebrate surpassing 100 million subscribers.
The ADL once criticized PewDiePie over anti-Semitic content
“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 the video. “Which is 100 percent my fault.”
Kjellberg previously addressed the criticism against his donation in a recently deleted tweet, acknowledging that “making a donation to the ADL doesn’t make sense to everyone, especially since they’ve outright spoken against me.” A spokesperson for the ADL told The Verge at the time that they learned about the “potential donation when everyone else did: when he made the announcement on his channel yesterday.”
The original announcement about his donation to the ADL comes after Kjellberg stated he wanted to move past his former controversies. Kjellberg first drew global criticism for paying two men on Fiverr to hold up a sign with anti-Semitic imagery in February 2017. He was then caught using a racist expletive during a gaming live stream on YouTube. Most recently, he tried to distance himself from a popular meme, known as “Subscribe to PewDiePie,” after it was used in the Christchurch terrorist attack in New Zealand earlier this year.
Kjellberg said he’s still going to donate the $50,000, which he received as a sponsorship from Honey. He hasn’t announced which charity will receive the money, but said he plans to take his time with it. The Verge has reached out to Kjellberg’s team for further comment.
Update (September 12th 1:40pm ET): A representative from the ADL pointed The Verge to the organization’s previous statement, given yesterday. It can be read in full below.
“ADL learned about the potential donation from Felix Kjellberg when everyone else did: when he made the announcement on his channel earlier this week. We have not received any communication from him beyond that.”