In a country where the national news talks about missing sheep and what gets washed up on the shore as news anchor Josh Thomson from The Project once said, New Zealand’s news took a very different tone today (Mar 15) after two mosques were targeted for mass shootings, killing 49 people, The New York Times reported.
At lunchtime, terrorists walked into the mosques and started shooting at everyone indiscriminately. The incident happened in Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Mosque in the city of Christchurch on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island.
A Muslim leader there said the terrorist attacks were specifically planned to begin on Friday Prayer. As of the latest reports, three men and one woman had been arrested. One of them in the late 20s will be charged in the court for murder on Saturday morning.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the incident as “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence” and “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”.
2 Malaysian victims hurt, one missing
41 people were killed in Al Noor Mosque, seven in Linwood Mosque while one died when receiving treatment in Christchurch Hospital. 20 people were severely injured from the shootings, among them, two are Malaysians and one is believed to be missing, The Star reported.
Local authorities had confirmed to the Malaysian High Commission in Wellington that the two injured Malaysians had been sent for treatment in hospital. Whereas for the missing Malaysian, Rahimi Ahmad, 39, no one was able to reach him yet.
A “manifesto” from one of the gunmen were posted online before the shooting. The 74-page long manifesto was prepared by an Australian who identified himself as Brenton Tarrant. Titled ‘The Great Replacement’, it espoused far-right and anti-immigrant ideology.
The 28-year-old also live-streamed the shooting on Facebook which showed him driving to the mosque, entering, and started gunning the people down at random, The Guardian reported.
PewDiePie was mentioned in the livestream
At the end of the 17-minute livestream and as he entered back to his car, the gunman said to the camera: “Remember lads, subscribe to PewDiePie…”
PewDiePie, or his real name Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, is currently the number one most subscribed YouTuber on the Google video site. After learning that the gunman mentioned his name in the first-person-view massacre video, Kjellberg outrightly expressed his disgust that his name was mentioned by the gunman.
Just heard news of the devastating reports from New Zealand Christchurch.
I feel absolutely sickened having my name uttered by this person.
My heart and thoughts go out to the victims, families and everyone affected by this tragedy.
— ƿ૯ωძɿ૯ƿɿ૯ (@pewdiepie) March 15, 2019
Taking Twitter to disassociate himself from the terrorist, Kjellberg said he “feel absolutely sickened having my name uttered by this person.”
The Star reported that the video where it mentioned PewDiePie was cut into a 5-second clip and it is massively circulated on the internet.
Kjellberg’s YouTube channel currently has 89 million subscribers, only a thousand away from India’s music record and film company T-Series. The run to defend his number one spot on the streaming site has become a global phenomenon where fans would go a great distance to spread “subscribe to PewDiePie” messages, sometimes in hilarious and harmless ways but at times, in a criminal way − take this mass shooting video outro for example.
In the past, several media had highlighted Kjellberg’s purported anti-semitic and racist messages in his videos but Kjellberg contended that those messages were taken out of context.
In December last year, Kjellberg accidentally gave a shoutout to an anti-semitic YouTube channel and The Verge highlighted how the channel, ‘E;R,’, was able to gain 15,000 subscribers out of Kjellberg’s endorsement.
However, the report failed to mention Kjellberg also gave a shoutout to over 20 channels in that segment which Kjellberg defended himself in a later video, saying that it would be impossible for him to screen through all the channels before recommending to his fans.
That incident was not Kjellberg’s biggest controversy as he had it worst in 2017 when YouTube had a more lenient community guideline. In that year, Kjellberg was embroiled in a controversy when he paid hired-for-service Indians on Fiverr to hold up an anti-semitic sign. He also once slipped out the N-word during a videogame stream. Both incidents’ aftermath caused a significant change in the YouTube landscape.
Earlier videos also showed Kjellberg wearing in Nazi-like uniform as he made his usual comedy sketches.
Although Kjellberg had apologized for his insensitivity in the related videos, fans are still very understanding as he has been making videos every single day for most of his 13 years career on YouTube.
Other than making Let’s Play videos, Kjellberg also makes book and movie reviews, talks about current issues and once raised over $1.3 million for a charity with his other YouTube friends in 2013. His latest philanthropical work was asking his fans to donate to Indian charity Child Rights and You (CRY) and it successfully raised $190,938.