Wall Street Journal Smears Famous Youtuber PewDiePie With Fake News

You don’t have to think it’s funny, but you have to know it’s a joke


Felix Kjellberg, more popularly known as PewDiePie, has the largest YouTube Channel in the world.  He originally rose to Internet stardom by playing video games and making crude jokes.  Now, he has over 53 million subscribers.  Until recently, he was also sponsored by Disney until three journalists from the Wall Street Journal, Rolfe Winkler, Jack Nicas, and Ben Fritz, decided to run a smear campaign against him, seemingly for making jokes they didn’t like.


In a video they posted to YouTube, they selectively cut snippets of PieDiePies videos where he dons a Nazi uniform as a joke about how the media constantly over reacts.  I suppose the irony is lost on them that they are doing the exact thing his original video was mocking them, the media, for doing.  They then took their selectively biased “research” to Disney, in what was clearly an effort to economically punish him for making jokes they don’t like.


In another satire, in an attempt to showcase how crazy the modern world has become, PewDiePie went on the website Fiverr to see what people would actually say for five dollars, and he asked some people to say “Death to all Jews” and then promote another YouTuber as a joke that that Youtuber supports anti-Semitism.  Anyone who actually watches his channel knows this, and if it wasn’t clear enough, he stated it very clearly in a blog post:


just to clear some things up…

It came to my attention yesterday that some have been pointing to my videos and saying that I am giving credibility to the anti-Semitic movement, and my fans are part of it as well for watching. I don’t want to cite the sources because I don’t want to give them any more attention.

This originated from a video I made a couple of weeks ago. I was trying to show how crazy the modern world is, specifically some of the services available online. I picked something that seemed absurd to me—That people on Fiverr would say anything for 5 dollars.

I think it’s important to say something and I want to make one thing clear: I am in no way supporting any kind of hateful attitudes.

I make videos for my audience. I think of the content that I create as entertainment, and not a place for any serious political commentary. I know my audience understands that and that is why they come to my channel.  Though this was not my intention, I understand that these jokes were ultimately offensive.

As laughable as it is to believe that I might actually endorse these people, to anyone unsure on my standpoint regarding hate-based groups: No, I don’t support these people in any way.

Thanks for reading.


Something Andy Levy said in the past has always stuck with me, and it is completely appropriate now.  “You don’t have to think it’s funny, but you have to know it’s a joke.”  The problem here was that most of what the Wall Street Journal showcased in their video didn’t acknowledge the satirical nature of PewDiePie’s performances at all.  They painted PewDiePie as an actual Hitler-loving, anti-Semite, and then put their click-bait headline behind a paywall in what definitely appears to be an attempt to garner more subscriptions by smearing someone famous.


Trying to get people fired from their jobs or cut from their sponsors because they make jokes you don’t like or have opinions you don’t agree with is a nasty tactic used to silence discourse and suppress ideas.  Framing people for vile opinions, they don’t even hold, as a way to boost your subscriber base is downright nefarious, and that definitely appears to be the case.  This is why trust in the mainstream media is currently hitting historic lows while alternative media is on the rise.  The mainstream media is often incredibly focused on chastising everyone else for fake news; it really seems like they should clean their own house before trying to police others.


by J. Miles Wells, on February 15, 2017

Writer, Expat, UC Irvine teaching assistant.