PewDiePie, a day after promising a $50,000 donation to the Anti-Defamation League anti-hate and anti-bigotry organization, has rescinded his promise. After reaching 100,000,000 subscribers on YouTube, content creator PewDiePie announced plans to donate $50,000 to the ADL. This announcement was met with anger from a vocal portion of his fanbase. Today PewDiePie announced that he would no longer be donating to the ADL.
In a video posted to his YouTube channel, PewDiePie explained that he had chosen the ADL as a recipient of the $50,000 donation. PewDiePie says that he picked the ADL based on advisement, "instead of picking a charity that I'm personally passionate about." He also explained that it "doesn't make sense" to donate to an organization that had previously criticized him. PewDiePie has not said which charity or organization will receive the donation instead, though he did clarify that the money is coming via a sponsorship deal from Honey.
The ADL has previously criticized PewDiePie. Specifically, the ADL criticized PewDiePie's decision to use the Fiverr service to pay two non-English speakers to hold a sign saying "Death to All Jews." The ADL also commended Disney's decision to end its sponsorship of PewDiePie due to "his posting of videos on YouTube containing swastikas and other anti-Semitic content." The ADL stated that no company is obligated to support PewDiePie's "wide dissemination of hate speech."
PewDiePie's initial announcement was met with widespread conspiracy theories and anti-semitism within his respective communities. Moderators of the PewDiePie subreddit confirmed that they'd been faced all manner of anti-Semitism and harassment following the donation's announcement. Posts in the subreddit included racially-charged accusations that PewDiePie was being blackmailed by the Jewish organization. Unfortunately, those accusations persist with PewDiePie's change of heart.
PewDiePie remains an extremely influential figure within the YouTube and gaming pop culture. That his announcement of support for the Anti-Defamation League received such a negative reaction within his audience is unfortunately telling. And unfortunately, his rescinding of his offer and his spurning of the ADL is already resulting in further negativity, to say the least. PewDiePie's decision is likely to be seen as just the latest example of the YouTuber's controversies.