Beginning in earnest in 2010, veteran YouTuber Felix Kjellberg, better known by his Internet alias PewDiePie, has been one of the platform's top creators for nearly a decade. The first non-corporate channel to reach 100 million subscribers, he's often thought of as one of the bastions of the community. Kjellberg has made millions and entertained billions over the years, but his life in the digital spotlight has, of course, drawn some controversy.
While PewDiePie has definitely done lots of good in the past, he's also slipped up a few times, from hiring people on Fiverr to make racist remarks, to using some seriously unsavory language on-stream, here are 19 things PewDiePie has done that everyone aside from The Wall Street Journal ignores.
19 He's Used And Made Light Of SS Imagery In His Videos
Once again, it's important to note that YouTube is in a very different place than it was a few years ago. Content and humor that was once commonplace is now heavily scrutinized, and PewDiePie's propensity for dark humor involving nazism isn't usually well-received in 2019. Though tolerance for such things differs wildly, he certainly took it too far in a few places, and it cost him his partnership with Disney's Maker Studios.
18 He Started The Whole "Screaming Into A Webcam" Fad On YouTube
Though his content has evolved drastically over the years, PewDiePie initially received tons of criticism for his initial batch of gameplay videos. He quick became known for his shrill scream and over-the-top antics while playing the game Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Love or hate his older videos, there are still tons of people who think of him as nothing more than that annoying kid screaming at his webcam.
17 His Followers Did All Kinds Of Crazy Things To Help Him Get To 100 Million Subscribers
Back in April of 2019, the PewDiePie vs. T-Series saga was captivating every YouTube viewer on the planet, and it prompted some of Kjellberg's followers and fans to do some pretty outlandish stuff. Though nobody was ever seriously hurt as a result of these antics, this really could have come back to bite him, and the overzealous nature of the 100 million subscribers meme eventually ended up working against PewDiePie's already diminished public image.
16 He's Been Associated With The New Zealand Christchurch Shooting
As it turns out, the "subscribe to PewDiePie" viral affair did come back to bite the content creator. The accused assailant of a mass shooting which took place in New Zealand in late April said those very words during the event, and it made PewDiePie look extremely sketchy in the eyes of news outlets eager to find a scapegoat. It's important to note that he himself had absolutely nothing to do with the event, but the fact that his name got thrown in with the affair made him look extremely sketchy.
15 The Fiverr Incident
In a video that was subsequently taken down from his channel, PewDiePie paid two people on Fiverr to hold a sign that said "Hitler did nothing wrong," among other things. Though it was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, it caused a major controversy which made PewDiePie look increasingly sketchy in the eyes of a broad audience already dubious of his political views.
14 His Fan Base Is Pretty Controversial
PewDiePie's fan base, which he now sarcastically refers to as an "army of nine-year-olds," has garnered a reputation for toxicity and has gotten him in trouble in the past. While this isn't necessarily his doing, he's had a difficult time curtailing the behavior of his fans, and he's often been made to take the heat for all of the weird, outlandish things his fans have done and said in the past.
13 He Dropped Out Of University To Pursue A YouTube Career
This certainly doesn't sound sketchy in a traditional sense, as major industry leaders like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs did the same thing, but PewDiePie's choice to drop out of school, spend his remaining savings on a computer, and pursue a career on YouTube was risky to say the least. While we're happy that things worked out for him, it could easily have gone the other way, and it may well have ended up as a decision which he regretted making.
12 His Older Videos Are Full Of Off-Color Jokes
YouTube content creators are certainly under more scrutiny now than they were back in 2012, but PewDiepIe managed to garner some disdain, even at that time, through his use of some seriously off-color humor. He frequently made light of things like sexual assault and rape, and, while done in a black humor, satirical style, it still elicited enough fan backlash to catch his attention and post an update promising to tone it down.
11 His Treatment Of Other Streaming Personalities
PewDiePie's criticism of other streamers feels a bit disingenuous considering his own recent gaffs, but he's also caught quite a bit of flack for referring to some female personalities as "Twitch thots." While that's more or less a common internet meme these days, it landed him in some more hot water when Alinity, a major content creator on Twitch, copyright claimed his video criticizing her, which lead to even more drama.
10 The Alinity Saga
After Alinity copyright claimed one of his videos, PewDiePie was embroiled in a huge scandal involving multiple streamers and Twitch higherups. While he did exchange some valid arguments concerning the site's disjointed treatment of streamers based on sex, it wasn't something that the number one YouTube content creator needed to involve himself in, and the whole event made him look sketchy in the eyes of some Twitch fans.
9 He's YouTube's Number One Anti-PC Personality
Although Google seemingly does its best to censor and bury most conversation on the topic, there's no denying that YouTube has grown to be a fairly political platform. While most major YouTubers remain fairly apolitical, PewDiePie is unapologetic in his anti-Pc rhetoric, and, while that's earned him millions of fans and supporters, it puts him in a tough spot in some circumstances and makes him out to be all the more sketchy in the eyes of the general public.
8 He Encouraged His Detractors To Keep Watching His Videos Because It Earns Him Extra Income
While he later stated that it was a sarcastic remark, PewDiePie once responded to a hate video by implying that his detractors should keep watching his videos because their views earn him extra money. Though most of his followers didn't take him seriously, a lot of the Internet at large used it to portray him as greedy and manipulative.
7 He Shouted Out An Anti-Semitic Channel
In recent years, PewDiePie has had a major issuing dispelling the idea that his content is anti-Semitic. Though the lion's share of this uploads wouldn't give that impression, he's made a few major slip-ups that have been covered on an international level. For instance, he once promoted a channel known as E;R which was known for its flagrant anti-Semitism. Though he later retracted the statement, the damage was done, and his image is still suffering as a result.
6 All The YouTube Drama
Over the years, PewDiePie has done multiple videos condemning and poking fun at YouTube drama. While tons of YouTubers make this a staple of their content, it seems a little hypocritical considering how often he himself is at the center of such drama. Though he doesn't actively stoke it, it's a little sketchy that he both actively criticizes and creates drama on YouTube.
5 He Made More Than A Few Terrible Live Appearances
Though it's endemic of high-status YouTubers, PewDiePie has made his fair share of downright cringe-worthy public appearances. Nearly each and every televised appearance he's made has gone down fairly horribly, and he'll never live down his unfortunate run-in with Conan O'Brien. Live settings are always tough to work with, but those who've garnered their opinions of him from these appearances must think he's pretty sketchy... or, at least, really unfunny.
4 He Begged Taylor Swift To Follow Him On Twitter For Years
Much like most of the things PewDiePie does which land him in hot water, this started off as a joke. In 2013, PewDiePie earnestly started begging celebrity Taylor Swift to follow him on Twitter, eventually stating that he would become an Ellie Golding fan if she didn't comply. This came to an end in early 2015 when she actually did follow him. Though it's not exactly sketchy, the meme did grow a little old and came off as just a bit creepy to some.
3 The PUBG Incident
Hands down the most controversial moment of PewDiePie's entire career, he caught a huge amount of flack for dropping the grand-daddy of words you're not supposed to say during a PUBG stream in 2017. There was absolutely no reason for this, and it was a major catalyst for many of the controversies that would plague him throughout the following years.
2 He Worked As A Hot Dog Vendor After Dropping Out Of School
As previously stated, things worked out well for Felix after he dropped out of University to pursue a career online. However, to make money in the interim, he briefly held a job as a hot dog vendor. That's slightly sketchy in and of itself, but he may have been stuck with work like that forever had his YouTube career not taken off.
1 He's Partnered With G2A In The Past
For those who aren't aware, G2A is a grey market digital key reseller which has caught some major flack from consumers and publishers in the past due to their shady, potentially fraudulent behavior. While a major YouTuber like PewDiePie should have known better than to deal with sketchy advertisers like this, his past partnership with the site continues to land him in hot water years later.