Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg will soon be overthrown by Indian music production T-Series as the biggest channel on YouTube, but the controversial creator is using his current spotlight to give back. In a video posted today, Kjellberg announced that he’s currently raising funds for Child Rights and You, an organization seeking to help children in India.
In the video, Kjellberg explains that despite the good-natured efforts made to keep him in the lead, there’s also been “a part of this that I really, really don’t like.” Namely, “really distasteful, unnecessary comments” in which commenters declare “fuck Indians,” or “fuck you, India.” “This is not what I’m about,” he says, “and I know this isn’t what my fan base is about either.”
Kjellberg’s fans and fellow creators have been fighting to keep him on top for weeks. YouTuber MrBeast bought out billboard ads in PewDiePie’s name across his city, while Justin Roberts opted for an ad in Times Square; fans have slapped posters and ads wherever they can. One person even hacked printers worldwide with a message encouraging people to subscribe to PewDiePie’s channel. Just yesterday, as the gap began to rapidly close between T-Series and Kjellberg, Jacksepticeye urged his fans to subscribe; Markiplier ran a Hail Mary stream called “I Literally Won’t Shut Up Until You Subscribe to PewDiePie.” (And indeed, he does wax on about subscribing to PewDiePie in a most impressive way.)
PewDiePie’s inevitable usurping is a notable event in YouTube history, the first time the platform’s best-known figure will lose his spot — even if Kjellberg will remain the biggest single personality. Some users have even taken to watching countdown streams live. The push to keep Kjellberg on top has absolutely extended his run, but Kjellberg, for his part, says he doesn’t care if T-Series finally passes him. “The amount of attention it’s getting, this is absolutely insane,” he says. “Everyone seems so caught up, everyone seems so invested to this, subscribe to PewDiePie, blah blah blah. And I honestly feel like I don’t deserve it.” Still, he says, the whole experience has been a good time for him. “I don’t remember the last time I had this much fun on YouTube,” he says.
So far, Kjellberg’s charity efforts have raised more than £37,000 from over 2,250 donors, including Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson. Kjellberg plans to run a live stream tomorrow between 4PM–7PM GMT, wherein all proceeds will be donated to CRY.