PewDiePie scraps planned $78k donation to Jewish charity Anti-Defamation League

Swedish YouTuber PewDiePie has reneged on plans to donate US$50,000 (NZ$78,000) to Jewish charity the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

PewDiePie, real name Felix Kjellberg, announced earlier in September he would donate to the organisation after reaching 100 million subscribers.

But his fans weren't happy with the decision and rumours began to swirl that Kjellberg was being forced to make the donation.

He said in a since-deleted tweet that wasn't the case, but announced in a video on Friday (NZ time) he had decided not to give the ADL the money.

Kjellberg claimed he had picked the charity due to recommendations rather than his own research and realised it wasn't the right place for the money.

"It really doesn't feel genuine for me to proceed with the donation at this point. [I] didn't know a lot of things that surfaced throughout this whole thing about the charity that doesn't fit at all. So I understand why people had concerns about it."

The ADL has caused controversy in the past for an aggressive stance on internet censorship, support for Israel, charges of defamation, spying allegations and its former denial of the Armenian genocide.

A spokesperson for the ADL said in a statement the first it heard of the donation being cancelled was when Kjellberg's latest video was posted.

Kjellberg has done philanthropic work in the past, hosting fundraisers and donating to charities including the World Wildlife Fund, St Jude Children's Research Hospital, Save The Children, the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Child Rights and You.

His career has been marred by an association with the alt-right, in 2017 the Wall Street Journal reported he included anti-Semitic jokes or Nazi imagery in nine separate videos between August 2016 and January 2017.

Kjellberg said in a post on Tumblr he did not support hateful attitudes and was trying to create apolitical entertainment content after he realised neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups were praising him for the jokes.


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