The man behind one of the internet's most pervasive and controversial memes wants it to end.
PewDiePie, the most-subscribed-to person on YouTube, released a video Sunday asking for the "Subscribe to PewDiePie" meme to stop once and for all. The Swedish YouTuber's real name is Felix Kjellberg, and the video came on the eve of his channel's ninth anniversary.
"I wanted to talk seriously and honestly for a moment about my thoughts on what's been going on for the past couple months, and hopefully you can get a better understanding of my perspective," said Kjellberg in the video. "I think it's time to end the 'Subscribe to PewDiePie' movement or meme."
The meme started as a way to bolster Kjellberg's subscriber count on YouTube to keep him in the number one spot. He was battling it out with T-Series, an Indian entertainment channel.
Fans of PewDiePie would promote Kjellberg's channel with "Sub to PewDiePie" tags, memes, and messages. Fans also pulled off stunts like a themed parade in Estonia and a billboard in New York City's Times Square. While many uses of the meme were lighthearted, two high-profile incidents sullied the movement.
Then, in March, a shooter said "Subscribe to PewDiePie" before opening fire on a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 50 people and injuring dozens of others.
That's all along with Kjellberg's own history of racist, anti-Semitic, or otherwise controversial behavior and statements. Although he's offered tweets and apologies after these incidents, the controversy has been enough to associate PewDiePie and his followers with the internet's more toxic corners.
In his video, Kjellberg said that he thought the meme would be short-lived and it started off with "people doing really positive and fun things to get attention."
"When you have 90 million people riled up about something, you're bound to get a few degenerates," he said.
He went on to call the graffiti incident "disgusting" but said that the Christchurch shooting hit him harder.
"To have my name associated with something so unspeakably vile has affected me in more ways than I've let shown," he said.
Kjellberg continued: "It's clear to me now the 'Sub to PewDiePie' movement should have ended then."
BuzzFeed News has reached out to Kjellberg for further comment.
Meanwhile, Kjellberg's fans don't all appear to be heeding his plea for the meme to end.
On Monday afternoon, a plane flew over New York City carrying a "Subscribe to PewDiePie" banner, timed to coincide with the ninth anniversary of the PewDiePie channel's launch.