Swedish vlogger and YouTube star PewDiePie sought to distance himself from the New Zealand attacker on Friday, saying he was “sickened” at “having my name uttered by this person”.
PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, has in the past been criticised for appearing to make anti-Semitic jokes and promoting neo-Nazi account E.R, which has made Nazi salutes and used several racist and homophobic slurs. He has “flirted with if not endorsed the alt-right neo-Nazi movement and antisemitism,” Rolling Stone quoted Evan Balgord, the executive director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, as saying.
Almost immediately after the Christchurch attacks, the vlogger tweeted to express his solidarity with the victims. “Just heard news of the devastating reports from New Zealand Christchurch. I feel absolutely sickened having my name uttered by this person. My heart and thoughts go out to the victims, families and everyone affected by this tragedy.”
Analysts have suggested that the shooter – whose 74-page manifesto seems to be full of irony and meta-text – mentioned the vlogger ironically, and to draw more attention to the crime and his manifesto, and to ultimately make it go as viral on the internet as possible.