PewDiePie withdraws $50,000 ADL donation following controversy

[Image credit: PewDiePie / Youtube]

After initially promising to donate $50,000 to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), popular gaming YouTuber Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg will now be withdrawing said donation. He chose to withdraw the donation after his initial announcement to do so caused controversy online.

PewDiePie meant to make the donation in part to celebrate reaching 100 million subscribers on YouTube. However, the choice of the ADL raised some eyebrows, in light of some of the controversies that the YouTuber has gotten involved in. PewDiePie has at times made anti-Semitic “jokes” like when he paid a few men on Fiverr to hold signs in public with bigoted phrases written on them.

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The ADL makes it its mission to “fight anti-semitism and hate.” As part of this, the charity has actually spoken out against out against PewDiePie in the past. With these in mind, some fans voiced their disagreement with PewDiePie making the donation. Some have even made unsubstantiated claims that the ADL was blackmailing PewDiePie to make the donation in the first place.

Now, as part of a recent video, PewDiePie has stated that he will be pulling the donation following the negative reaction from his base. In it, he explained that he didn’t know much about the ADL when he first made the pledge. Here, he admitted that he “didn’t know a lot of things that surfaced throughout this whole thing about the charity.”

In addition to this, he also claimed that he was simply advised to pick the charity.

“I made the mistake of picking a charity that I was advised to instead of picking a charity that I’m personally passionate about, which is 100% my fault,” PewDiePie explained. “Usually when I pick a charity, I take my time, I pick a charity that I’m really excited about and actually passionate to donate to.”

PewDiePie further explained that this was in part due to the tight schedule that he and his team had to work with. Aside from wanting it to coincide with his celebration of hitting 100 million subscribers, he also had to work around his planned wedding and honeymoon. The YouTuber married his long-term girlfriend Marzia Bisognin on August 23, 2019 just a few days before it was revealed that his hit the 100 million mark.

That said, PewDiePie initially stated that he also saw it as a good opportunity to help disassociate himself from the alt-right movement. Now, he said that he wasn’t out to “clear [his] name” — he stated he would have done this years ago if that was the case. However, he also mentioned that the Christchurch mosque shootings that happened in March 2019 prompted him to do it.

“I felt a responsibility to do something about it, because it’s no longer about me,” he stated. “It affected other people in a way, and I’m not okay with that.”

Prior to this, PewDiePie went on Twitter to try to clarify why he decided to donate to the ADL in the first place. Here, he also made a reference to the shootings, and claimed that he had been “manipulated into a tool of destruction” by the mainstream media following the tragedy. Brenton Tarrant, the perpetrator of the shootings, infamously stated “remember, lads, subscribe to PewDiePie,” while they livestreamed the massacre.

With all the confusion and controversy it originally caused, PewDiePie stated that proceeding with the donation at this point wouldn’t feel “genuine” on his part. That said,  while he’s pulled the donation to the ADL, he still does intend to donate the $50,000, which was sponsored by Honey, to a different charity. He hasn’t named a charity yet, instead he stated that he plans to take his time so that he can do it with the right one.

While the ADL tends to fight bigotry and advocate for Holocaust remembrance, it has been accused of selective activism surrounding Israel, spying, and more.

[Image Source: PewDiePie/YouTube]