Tech & Science

Pewdiepie Surpasses YouTube Sports in Subscribers, Thinks “Whole Meme Is Getting Out of Control”

“Subscribe to Pewdiepie” has become a mantra for a lot of YouTube’s biggest fans. What started out as a joke to help Felix “Pewdiepie” Kjellberg beat Indian Bollywood channel T-Series, has quickly ballooned to one of the largest movements the platform has ever seen. Kjellberg’s “diss track” for T-Series called “Bitch Lasagna” has been watched more than 60 million times and has become the anthem for his fanbase, that he jokes is an “army of nine-year-olds.”

Dozens of popular channels, like Markiplier and MrBeast, have shared their support with video ads and billboards asking strangers to sub. This fan drive has worked, skyrocketing the Swedish content creator’s subscriber count to levels many thought impossible for a single human being. He’s currently at 75 million subscribers, just beating out YouTube Sports as the third most subbed to channel on the platform, according to Socialblade. YouTube Gaming has only 80 million subs, which he could beat at the rate he’s growing.

On yesterday’s Pewdiepie video titled “DON’T Subscribe to Pewdiepie,” the content creator expressed his love for the fans but feels the meme may be going a bit to far. “The whole meme, it’s getting out of control. I’ll admit to that at least,” Kjelberg said in the video.  Jordan Peterson, Marques Brownlee, Logan Paul and dozens of others have all shared their support to his channel. “I’m a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing…. and feel really weird about it.” At the end of the video, he urges his fans to support other smaller content creators rather than himself and to stop subscribing to his channel.

One of the channels he asked viewers to support is “E;R”, which posts videos containing hateful, racist  rhetoric. Rightwingwatch did a deep dive of the content creators catalog, finding multiple instances of offensive and anti-Semitic language.

It’s unclear where any of this is going to end, or if it ever will. Kjellberg has managed to mobilize the internet in a way we really haven’t seen before. Grand Theft Auto Online and printers around the world were hacked to say “subscribe to Pewdiepie.” These seemingly malicious stem from humble origins. His fans cause chaos, especially with the older generation who may not understand what’s going on, which causes Pewds to become more infamous. It’s a vicious cycle he’s been stuck in for years, especially with media outlets.

In February 2017, the Washington Post published a story calling Kjellberg “anti-semitic” and a “Nazi” for a joke made in poor taste in a video. The YouTuber lost sizable advertising deals with Disney and YouTube, causing a rift to appear between journalists and influencers that still hasn’t recovered.

No matter what happens, Kjellberg isn’t going anywhere. His channel is still neck and neck with T-Series and it’s unclear when the channel will eclipse his. He has a video ready to be released for when that moment happens, but who knows if the world will ever get the chance to see it.

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