Pewdiepie responds to reports his name was mentioned during New Zealand mosque shootings
Youtuber Pewdiepie has responded to reports that his name was mentioned in the New Zealand mosque attacks where 49 people were murdered and at least 20 wounded.
Four people have reportedly been taken into custody and a man in his late 20s charged with murder after the deadliest attack in the country's history took place at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday.
It has been reported that the gunman told people to "remember to subscribe to PewDiePie" in live-streamed footage before entering the mosque and opening fire.
The Swedish 29-year-old referenced these claims on Twitter in a post that condemned the attack, claiming he was "absolutely sickened" that his name was brought into it.
"Just heard news of the devastating reports from New Zealand Christchurch," he wrote. "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."
PewDiePie, real name Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, is a YouTube personality and comedian known for video game commentaries watched by 89 million subscribers.
However, he became a controversial figure in 2017 when allegations of racial slurs were made about several of his videos. One of the videos "appeared to show" him using the N-word and in another, he had paid two people in India to hold up a sign that read "death to all Jews."
Kjellberg apologised and explained that the video was done in jest and attempted to highlight the ridiculous things which can be provided as paid services on the Internet. He also claimed the N-word had "slipped out" and "there are no excuses for it".
"I'm disappointed in myself because it seems like I've learned nothing from all these past controversies, [using the slur] was not okay," he said. I'm really sorry if I offended, hurt or disappointed anyone with all of this. Being in the position that I am, I should know better."
The devastating shooting in New Zealand began around the time people were attending the mosques for Friday prayers. Shots were fired at Al Noor Mosque in Deans Avenue in the city centre before being reported in Linwood Mosque three miles away, and multiple explosive devices were found attached to cars around Christchurch.
The gunman, who reportedly identified himself in footage of an attack as a 28-year-old Australian called Brenton Tarrant, has been described as an "extremist, right-wing terrorist" by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Meanwhile, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern claimed it was one of the country's "darkest days", stating: "We New Zealanders were not chosen for this act of violence because we condone this racism, or because we are an enclave of extremism, we were chosen for the very fact that we are none of these things.
"I want to send a message to those directly affected... For many, this may have not been the place they were born. For many New Zealand was their choice, a place they actively came to and committed themselves to... It was a place where many came to for their safety.
A place where it was safe to practice their culture and religion. We represent diversity and compassion, a home for those who share our values, a refuge for those who need it. And those values will not and can not be shaken by this attack.
"We are a proud nation of more than 200 ethnicities and 160 languages. [This is] the strongest possible condemnation of the ideology of the people who did this."