YouTube has removed one of Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg’s recent videos, a diss track aimed at popular children’s channel Cocomelon, for violating guidelines around cyberbullying and child safety.
In the video, Kjellberg attacks Cocomelon’s content and pokes fun at kids who watch the videos. Kjellberg also uses phrases like “your audience is just a bunch of motherfucking virgins,” which could violate YouTube’s guidelines for using offensive or vulgar language in videos that include children. Toward the end of the video, Kjellberg also hands what appears to be plastic weapons to a few kids, who use them to attack a melon.
YouTube’s team decided to remove the video because it contained imagery that was inappropriate for children despite “looking like it was made for kids” and for creating content that “harms the YouTube community by persistently inciting hostility between creators for financial gain,” according to official tweets. The second rule is in line with YouTube’s policy focused on preventing creator-on-creator harassment.
The company’s statement also acknowledges that while criticism is allowed, and diss tracks are allowed in certain cases, “this video crossed the line.” The removal did not result in a channel strike for Kjellberg’s channel, but further violations of YouTube’s policies may result in a channel strike, according to the company.
“Our policies prohibit content that leads to repeated patterns of harassment on- and off-platform,” a YouTube spokesperson told The Verge. “Following a review, we’ve removed the video in question for violating those policies because they had the effect of encouraging abusive fan behavior.”
Re-uploads are circulating on YouTube, but the company stated on Twitter that it will be removing them as moderators come across videos. YouTube’s policies around kids content have tightened over the last few years, and content that may target kids or families by including children in the video are prohibited from using sexual themes, violence, obscene, or other mature themes, according to the company.
Part of the reason that Cocomelon caught Kjellberg’s attention was because of the channel’s remarkable growth. In June 2020, it was brought to Kjellberg’s attention that Cocomelon was rapidly gaining subscribers. By mid-December, Cocomelon had surpassed 100 million subscribers. In a February 8th video, Kjellberg announced he was creating a diss track aimed at Cocomelon. He released it a week later, where it remained active for a few days before YouTube took it down.
“I saw this as the finale,” Kjellberg said in a video posted on February 17th called “I Love Kids.” “I am not going to continue with it because 1) it wouldn’t be funny and 2) I don’t actually care about Cocomelon.”
This isn’t the first time that Kjellberg has created a diss track, either. In 2018, Kjellberg released “Bitch Lasagna” during an ongoing feud with Indian Bollywood studio T-Series. Their feud began when Kjellberg’s fans noticed that T-Series was on track to overtake Kjellberg as the most subscribed to channel on YouTube. Kjellberg disavowed the “subscribe to PewDiePie” meme after the phrase was used by the gunman who murdered more than 50 people in the Christchurch mosque shooting in New Zealand.
By the end of March, T-Series overtook Kjellberg as the most subscribed-to channel on YouTube, which he acknowledged with a new music video. Currently, there are livestreams on YouTube tracking Cocomelon and Kjellberg’s subscribers. Even if Kjellberg is done with the meme, it’s clear the internet is not.