Delinquent defaces Downtown WWII memorial with name of YouTube star

Sha-meme: A vandal defaced the Brooklyn War Memorial with the online handle of a YouTube celebrity popular for streaming video games.
Photo by Colin Mixson

Some vandal defaced a Downtown memorial honoring locals who died in World War II by scrawling the name of a popular YouTube celebrity on it, disgusting residents with their choice of canvas and inspiration.

“Obviously, it shows very little respect,” said Carroll Gardener Remko DeJong.

The baddie wrote the graffiti — which declares “Subscribe to PewDiePie” — in chalk on the exterior of the Brooklyn War Memorial inside Cadman Plaza Park, where city officials this spring are set to begin long-awaited accessibility repairs to the shrine, whose interior features the names of more than 11,500 Brooklynites who died in WWII.

And, thanks to the criminal, those names grew to include the online handle of the wildly popular video-game streamer Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, whose YouTube channel boasts an audience of nearly 88-million subscribers who tune in to watch clips of him playing games including first-person shooter “Doom 3,” zombie-survival sim “Day Z,” and rhythm game “PaRappa the Rapper.”

An image of the tag was posted to a page devoted to Brooklyn on the social-media website Reddit on Monday morning, and the graffiti remained emblazoned on the memorial a day later when this newspaper stopped by around 2 pm on Tuesday.

The command written in chalk may be a reference to the so-called “Subscribe to PewDiePie Movement,” also known as the “The Great Subscriber War,” in which the streamer’s fans promote his handle in an effort to ensure his channel remains YouTube’s most-subscribed-to outlet.

That campaign began last year, after software called Social Blade predicted another video-game-streaming channel, T-Series, could surpass Kjellberg as the platform’s most followed content creator, according to the website knowyourmeme.com, which researches and documents viral Internet memes and phenomena.

And the YouTube star’s name appearing on the WWII memorial seems in especially poor taste considering videos he posted, and later removed, after critics condemned them as anti-Semitic. In 2017, Kjellberg posted a video featuring a man dressed as Jesus Christ saying, “Hitler did absolutely nothing wrong,” and another for which the streamer allegedly hired two men to hold a sign that read, “Death to All Jews,” leading bigwigs at kid-friendly studio Disney to reportedly kill a distribution deal with the online celebrity.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Tagged: The graffiti, which declares “Subscribe to PewDiePie,” may be a reference to a movement among the streamers millions of followers to keep his channel at the top of YouTube’s most-subscribed list.
Photo by Colin Mixson

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