Seems making YouTube videos is exhausting, with the internet’s most famous gamer PewDiePie announcing he’s “taking a break” in 2020 because of burnout.
“I’m feeling very tired,” PewDiePie (aka Felix Kjellberg) told fans during his latest Pew News video, posted on December 14.
In March he became an inadvertent poster boy for the far right when the alleged Christchurch shooter live-streamed a massacre in a mosque while urging viewers to “subscribe to PewDiePie”.
Kjellberg, 30, makes a reported $12 million a month from his merchandise empire and ad sales to his channel.
He said he’d share more details about his break with his 102 million followers later.
The news comes a week after the Swedish game vlogger and comedian was announced as the most-subscribed individual YouTube creator and most-watched YouTube creator of 2019.
PewDiePie’s video views for the year were amped up by the running battle stoked by Kjellberg and his fans to keep him ahead of Indian record label T-series music channel (which has since overtaken PewDiePie and has about 120 million subscribers.)
The official announcement he’s pulling the pin came during the end of the video, which slammed YouTube for its inability to effectively enforce a new anti-harassment policy.
“I am taking a break from YouTube next year. I wanted to say it in advance because I made up my mind,” Kjellberg said.
“I’m tired. I’m feeling very tired. I don’t know if you can tell. Just so you know, early next year I’ll be away for a little while. I’ll explain that later, but I wanted to give a heads up.”
In August, the same month he married former YouTube star star Marzia Bisognin, 27, Kjellberg hinted he was feeling pressure to create endless YouTube content.
“It would be good for me to take a break at some point. It would be nice to not have YouTube in my brain for the first time in 10 years,” he said.
While he’s known for his video game commentary, PewDiePie has been the subject of recurring controversies including allegations of anti-Semitism and racism.
During a 2017 live gaming stream, he used the n-word against another player.
Kjellberg apologised, saying he “didn’t mean that in a bad way” but the Washington Post claimed he was “out of excuses”.
The same year, Disney cancelled a multimillion-dollar deal with the star after he posted a January 11 video that included two men laughing as they held a banner that read ‘Death to all Jews’.
Kjellberg made nine other videos that made anti-Semitic comments or used Nazi imagery, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the news.
“Although Felix has created a following by being provocative and irreverent, he clearly went too far in this case and the resulting videos are inappropriate,” said a statement from a spokeswoman for Maker Studios, which is owned by Disney.
After being mentioned by the alleged gunman during the Christchurch shootings, an “absolutely sickened” Kjellberg took down some of his videos, saying he now understood some of his jokes were “ultimately offensive”.
In 2019 backlash against his offensive content saw him pledge to donate $72,000 to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a non-profit organisation that fights anti-Semitism.
He pulled out of the promise after conspiracy theories spread that he was forced to make the donation.
“I made the mistake of picking a charity that I was advised to, instead of picking a charity that I’m personally passionate about,” Kjellberg said in a video.
“Which is 100 per cent my fault.”
Then in October, he was banned in China after joking about memes used by Hong Kong protesters that compared the country’s President Xi to Winnie the Pooh.
‘Obviously China is like that one person on Twitter that can’t take any criticism and just blocks everyone,’ he said in one of his vlogs.
Earlier this month, he suffered a personal ordeal when his holiday home in Japan was targeted by thieves who stole “90 per cent of my valuables,” said Bisognin – who lives in the UK’s Brighton with Kjellberg and dogs Maya and Edgar – on Instagram.