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Disney ends deal with YouTube star PewDiePie over anti-Semitic stunt

Disney has dropped a leading YouTube star after he made jokes construed as anti-Semitic and posted Nazi imagery in his videos.

Felix Kjellberg, known online as PewDiePie, has the most popular YouTube channel with more than 53 million subscribers.

Disney said he crossed a line with some of his videos. In one film last month, Kjellberg showed two Indian men he paid to hold up a sign that says "Death to all Jews".

Kjellberg said the video was meant to demonstrate how far people will go if they get paid to do something.

Disney's Maker Studios said he went too far.

Google's YouTube has cancelled the second season of Kjellberg's reality show Scare PewDiePie.

The Swedish YouTube star rose to fame by posting videos of himself playing and commenting about video games.

More recently, he branched out into non-gaming videos that show him performing skits, stunts or making jokes.

In a blog post, Kjellberg said he was making jokes, but realises now that they were offensive.

His channel was already part of Maker Studios when Walt Disney Co bought Maker in 2014. Maker contracts with individuals such as Kjellberg to produce videos for various YouTube channels.

He pulled the video showing the two men displaying the anti-Semitic sign, but it is excerpted in a Wall Street Journal video. Other videos still on the site show Nazi imagery being used satirically.

Maker Studios said in a statement that while Kjellberg's channel is popular because he is irreverent and provocative, the studio is ending its affiliation with him.

AP