YouTuber PewDiePie has addressed the mass shootings in New Zealand that left 50 people dead last month after he was name-checked by the gunman.
Australian Brenton Tarrant referenced the YouTube star as he began a Facebook stream of the deadly shooting at Christchurch’s Al Noor Mosque.
“Remember, lads, subscribe to PewDiePie,” he said, name-checking the popular Swedish online star, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg.
The stream then appeared to show Tarrent brandishing a semi-automatic rifle, before walking towards the mosque in Deans Avenue, Christchurch, where he opened fire.
While Kjellberg said he was “absolutely sickened” by the shooting, he has now discussed it in a new video and called for an end to the popular meme that sought to increase his popularity.
“To have my name associated with something so unspeakably vile has affected me in more ways than I’ve let shown,” Kjellberg said in the video. “I just didn’t want to address it right away, and I didn’t want to give the terrorist more attention. I didn’t want to make it about me, because I don’t think it has anything to do with me. To put it plainly, I didn’t want hate to win.
“But it’s clear to me now the ‘Subscribe to PewDiePie’ movement should have ended then.”
The video also saw Kjellberg discussing how war memorials have been defaced by his fans – and his own history of making anti-semitic comments.
“They were not meant to be taken seriously,” Kjellberg said.
“This negative rhetoric is something I don’t agree with at all, and I want it to stop … and to make it perfectly clear: no, I’m not racist. I don’t support any form of racist comments or hate towards anyone.”
This comes after Kjellberg was temporarily dethroned as the most popular YouTube star. Indian channel T-Series, which share Bollywood film trailers and music videos, beat the star earlier this month with thousands more subscribers than PewDiePie’s.