Controversial vlogger PewDiePie, who became one of YouTube’s biggest stars before seeing his career dogged by allegations of racism and anti-Semitism, has said he is “feeling very tired” and will take a break from the video-sharing platform.
The filmmaker is one of the highest earners on the website and was its most-followed account until earlier this year, with more than 100 million people subscribing to the Swedish video creator’s channel.
But PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, has been embraced by some elements of the far-right and has come under fire numerous times for the content of some of his videos. He has repeatedly denied supporting racist and anti-Semitic messages.
“I am taking (a) break from YouTube next year,” he said in a video uploaded over the weekend. “I wanted to say it in advance because I made up my mind. I’m tired, I’m feeling very tired. I don’t know if you can tell … early next year I’ll be away for a little while. I’ll explain that later but I wanted to give a heads up.”
Disney cut ties with the star in 2017 after he paid two men to hold a sign that read “Death to all Jews” in a video. That controversy also saw YouTube, which is owned by Google (GOOGL), cancel his show “Scare PewDiePie,” though it did not remove his account.
Later that year, he apologized for using the n-word in another clip.
The gunman who killed 51 people in the Christchurch mosque shootings referenced the meme “Subscribe to PewDiePie” during a livestream of the killings, which the YouTuber later condemned.
And in September, Kjellberg canceled a $50,000 donation to the Anti-Defamation League, whose mission is to prevent defamation of Jews, saying he wanted instead to support a charity he was “actually passionate to donate to.”
The vlogger lost his crown as YouTube’s most subscribed-to star in May, coming up short in a long-running battle with Indian music label T-Series that was closely followed by fans of both channels.