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PewDiePie Wants 'Subscribe to PewDiePie' Meme to End After New Zealand Shooting

PewDiePie released a video on Sunday calling an end to 'Subscribe to PewDiePie' after hateful acts of violence were committed using the viral meme.

Anurag Verma | News18.com

Updated:April 30, 2019, 8:29 AM IST
PewDiePie Wants 'Subscribe to PewDiePie' Meme to End After New Zealand Shooting
Screenshot from video posted by PewDiePie on YouTube.

Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg has called an end to the massively popular online movement 'Subscribe to PewDiePie' - which the Swedish gamer and his fans had started last year.

If you haven't been in sync with the YouTube subscriber war, ever since the news of T-Series, an Indian music label, nearing PewDiePie's sub count broke on the Internet in 2018, hordes of rattled fans across the globe devised ways to run the "Subscribe to PewDiePie" campaign in an attempt to keep the Swedish gamer on #1 spot.

From buying billboards in North Carolina, to distributing 'pewds' posters in Bangladesh to fans showing up at Super Bowl game to hacking thousands of printers - all carried a similar message: subscribe to PewDiePie and unsubscribe from T-Series.

But what seemed like an innocent meme at first snowballed into an ugly affair in no time.

"This is one of New Zealand's darkest days," said the country's prime minister, Jacinda Ardern hours after a man carrying an automatic rifle shot and killed 40 people at two mosques in Christchurch. The gunman believed to be a 28-year old Australian Brenton Tarrant live-streamed the episode on Facebook.

Moments before the shooting occurred, the gunman was heard saying, “Remember lads, subscribe to PewDiePie.”

In a video posted on Sunday, PewDiePie addressed the mass shootings at two mosques in New Zealand and how his meme was used in a hateful act.

"To have my name associated with something so unspeakably vile has affected me in more ways than I've let shown. I just didn't want to address it right away, and I didn't want to give the terrorist more attention," PewDiePie said in Sunday's video.

"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," he added.

The YouTube star also addressed and condemned the vandalism of the World War II memorial in Brooklyn’s Cadman Plaza back in March that was done using the viral meme.

Someone has been defacing the WWII Memorial in Cadman Plaza with PewDiePie graffiti from r/Brooklyn

PewDiePie, in his video, also brought up the battle with T-Series and the criticism he faced for the two diss tracks he made. "B*tch Lasagna" and "Congratulations" were panned by critics for being "racist" and "defamatory" towards the Indian community and the Swedish gamer admitted to having gone "too far" in his endeavour to stay on the throne.

"I made two diss tracks that were made in fun and ironic gests and they were not meant to be taken seriously. It's clearly not fun anymore, it's clearly gone too far and out of respect for that, I'm gonna keep the videos blocked."

The diss tracks had not gone down well with T-Series and Delhi High Court had earlier directed YouTube to remove both the songs published by PewDiePie on his channel.

Meanwhile, here are some of the 'Subscribe to PewDiePie' memes (also mentioned by the YouTuber in his video) that made it a global phenomenon before things got ugly.

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