YouTube just cut its business ties with PewDiePie

PewDiePieYouTubeFelix Kjellberg

YouTube is breaking up with one of its most famous stars after it was discovered that he posted videos with Nazi and anti-Semitic content in some of his videos.

YouTube has canceled its YouTube Red original show starring Felix Kjellberg, also known as PewDiePie, following a similar move by the Disney-owned online video network Maker Studios Monday.

A YouTube spokesperson confirmed the move to The Verge. Business Insider has asked YouTube for comment. We’ve also reached out to Kjellberg for comment.

Disney ended its relationship after The Wall Street Journal asked the company about
Kjellberg’s videos. The WSJ found nine videos produced and starring PewDiePie with anti-Semitic or Nazi content.

Kjellberg’s show, “Scare PewDiePie,” was a YouTube original accessible through the company’s subscription service YouTube Red. The show was about to have its second season premiere. YouTube is also removing Kjellberg from Google’s preferred advertising program, which helps the platform’s most popular personalities attract bigger advertisers.

Kjellberg’s personal YouTube page remains live, but some of the controversial videos no longer have ads running against them.

This is a big blow not only to Kjellberg, but to YouTube itself as it works to drive subscriptions for YouTube Red, which costs $US9.99 per month and offers an ad-free experience along with original programming. YouTube Red needs the leverage of giant stars like Kjellberg to attract more paying users.

Kjellberg is the highest-earning YouTube personality, reportedly bringing in $US15 million in 2016. He has over 53 million subscribers on his YouTube page. He became famous by posting videos of himself playing video games with goofy commentary.

NOW WATCH: Thousands of fans lined up for hours to see PewDiePie — we asked why they’re so obsessed

NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at research.businessinsider.com.au.