The New Zealand mosque attacker, who live streamed the shooting in Christchurch, shouted out a reference to YouTuber PewDiePie in the first few minutes of the stream. Late Thursday (March 14), PewDiePie took to his Twitter account to condemn the attacks, saying he was "absolutely sickened having my name uttered by this person."

The shooter, who streamed the video through Facebook, said, "Remember lads, subscribe to Pewdiepie." The live stream video purportedly shows a gunman walking into the mosque and opening fire. Police in New Zealand urged people not to watch or share the video of the shooting.

"We would strongly urge that the link not be shared. We are working to have any footage removed," the New Zealand police said.

PewDiePie, who has often found himself in hot waters due to his controversial remarks, was defended by his fans on social media.

"The s------ who committed the mass shooting in New Zealand is the only person responsible for it. Him. That f------ idiot. Not PewDiePie. My heart goes out to the victims’ families. REMEMBER THE VICTIMS. Stay safe, everyone," one user wrote. Another said: "Pewdiepie is not to blame for a shooting.... sit back and think about how dumb you have to be to blame a youtuber. The guy who took innocent lives is a sick twisted deranged killer. He got what he wanted out of the whole situation. Chaos."

A spokeswoman for Facebook New Zealand, Mia Garlick, told CNN that videos which appeared to show the Christchurch shootings were taken down.

"New Zealand Police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the livestream commenced and we quickly removed both the shooter’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and the video," the spokeswoman said.

Two mosques were attacked in Christchurch causing multiple fatalities. Authorities are yet to reveal the exact number of deaths and injuries. Witnesses said one gunman was "white, aged in his 30s or 40s and wearing a uniform." Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the shootings as "one of New Zealand's darkest days." Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, confirmed that the shooter who was taken into custody was an “Australian-born citizen.”

So far, at least four people were taken in custody in connection with the attack on two Christchurch mosques. One of the attackers posted a link to an 87-page manifesto that was filled with anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim ideas and explanations for an attack. 

The American Muslim civil rights group Muslim Advocates released a statement, saying: “Over the past few years, there has been an epidemic of attacks and planned attacks on Muslim communities and mosques across the United States...the American Muslim community has faced deadly attacks in recent years, but rarely have we witnessed such brutal carnage as today’s tragedy in New Zealand.”

New Zealand attack An image grab from TV New Zealand shows an armed police officer at a hospital following the mosque shooting in Christchurch, March 15, 2019. Photo: Getty Images/Laurent Fievet