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Hollywood scraps filming after Malmö Jews alert

A Hollywood film company was planning to set a movie with a Jewish theme in Skåne in southern Sweden but changed its mind due to concerns over anti-Semitism in Malmö.

Hollywood scraps filming after Malmö Jews alert

The Öresund Film Commission, a Swedish-Danish cooperation helping foreign film companies seeking to film in the Öresund region, received an email from the Hollywood firm in February which raised concerns over the safety of the Jewish community, according to a report in the local Sydsvenskan daily.

”Only problem I see with this project… is the huge problem that this being a Jewish story and that the Simon Wiesenthal center in the USA called the south of Sweden a VERY unsafe place for the Jewish community,” the email read.

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre in December 2010 issued a travel warning urging Jews to exercise “extreme caution” when traveling in southern Sweden.

The warning came following an escalation of attacks directed against Malmö Jews and remarks from Malmö mayor Ilmar Reepalu perceived to lay the blame on the city’s Jewish community for failing to denounce Israel.

Mikael Svensson at the Öresund Film Commission expressed surprise over the film company’s email and its decision to find an alternative location.

“I have followed the debate, but never thought that it could spread to the film industry and this type of decision,” he told the newspaper.

Skåne has become an established location for Swedish and international film makers with several films based in and around the cities of Malmö and Ystad, such as the criminal detective series “Wallander”, starring Kenneth Branagh.

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YOUTUBE

Here’s PewDiePie’s message to critics after anti-Semitism controversy

Three days after Disney severed ties with PewDiePie over anti-Semitism accusations, the Swedish YouTube star posted a new video apologizing for the joke – and hitting back at his critics.

Here's PewDiePie's message to critics after anti-Semitism controversy
Felix Kjellberg, also known as PewDiePie. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Felix Kjellberg, better known as PewDiePie, is the world's highest paid YouTuber with more than 53 million subscribers and videos totalling more than 14 billion views, more than anybody else on the site.

But the 27-year-old's success was interrupted this week after Disney's Maker Studios, which had previously announced plans to put him in charge of his own YouTube network, told the Wall Street Journal it had decided to drop him following a series of videos containing jokes about Nazi imagery, including one of him paying two men to hold up a sign saying “Death to all Jews”.

PewDiePie had already responded to some of the criticism of that clip, saying he had intended to “show how crazy the modern world is”, but on Thursday he posted a new video calling the Wall Street Journal's article of him a “personal attack”.

“I'm still here, I'm still making videos. Nice try, Wall Street Journal. Try again, motherf***ers,” he says in the clip, kissing his middle finger.

However, he also apologizes: “I'm sorry for the words I used, as I know they offended people, and I admit that the joke itself went too far.”

News of Disney's decision to cut its ties with the star quickly grabbed global headlines this week, with some of his critics accusing him of acting like fascism is cool and normalizing racism and hate.

In response to the above tweet by author JK Rowling, PewDiePie says in the video: “A personal attack like this to portray me as anti-Semitic is doing no one a favour. You're targeting some Swedish guy that tries to be funny, most of the time it doesn't really go well. Very offensive, but he means well.”

“Is there any hate in what I do? No, there's not. Personally, I think they are the ones normalizing hatred. Because, there is actual hatred out there. There's actual issues. Instead of celebrating my show getting cancelled, why don't we focus on that?” he adds.

At the end of the video he appears to tear up thanking his fans for their support. “Finally, I want to give the warmest thanks to everyone who supported me. It's been incredible to see. Thank you, everyone in the YouTube community. It means a lot, thank you.”

A spokesperson for Dow Jones, the publisher of the Wall Street Journal, said the company stood by its reporting.