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YouTube mogul PewDiePie paid two Indian men to hold up a sign up that read “Death To All Jews” last week. He thought the video would be funny, but it upset fans and threatened the livelihood of all involved.
The stunt happened via freelancer services website Fiverr. There the Indian duo, Funny Guys, write any message on a piece of wood and dance around for $5.
Fiverr banned the comedy team amid fallout from the anti-Semitic gag.
Screengrab via YouTube/PewDiePie
PewDiePie, born Felix Kjellberg, says the whole thing was a joke. He later complained about the media in a follow-up video titled “In my defense.”
“We’re going to have to start separating what is a joke and what is actually problematic,” he says in the video. “Context fucking matters.”
The stunt’s clip garnered over 7 million views, with many of these watchers upset at the Swedish comedian’s anti-Semitic message. At the end, PewDiePie appears to be in shock as he witnesses the men hold up the banner on air.
After Fiverr banned the Funny Guys account, the men published an apology video, asking for forgiveness and alleging they were unaware of what the message denoted. The two state that the suspension has cost them their livelihood, asking for any help they can receive to get back online.
According to Fast Forward, PewDiePie has since stated he is sorry for the offensive words. “I didn’t think they would actually do it. I feel partially responsible,” he said.
The video game commentator found the punishment unfair, asking Fiverr on Twitter to give the men back access to their account.
This isn’t the first time PewDiePie’s actions have landed him in the gutter: Earlier this month, he was slammed for saying the N-word in a video. He remains the top-subscribed user on YouTube.
PewDiePie did not respond to a request for comment.
H/T Fast Forward
Dahlia Dandashi is a multimedia content producer. Her work has been published at the Austin American-Statesman and Viceland. An Arab-American raised in Dubai, she is based in Austin, Texas.