YouTuber Jenna Mourey, a.k.a. Jenna Marbles, announced on Thursday she’s stepping away from her main YouTube channel, potentially forever. “I’ve spent the last few days privating almost all of my old content, and I’m sorry if any of that holds any nostalgia for you, but I’m literally not trying to put out negative things into the world,” Mourey says in tearful 11-minute video. Mourey rose to internet fame in 2010 with a video titled “How to Trick People Into Thinking You’re Good Looking.” For scale, it has been viewed 69,000,000 times and counting. Mourey currently has 23 million subscribers on the channel in question.
It’s hard to talk about the rise of the YouTube creator without talking about Mourey. The ex-Barstool writer turned viral video powerhouse has been among the platform’s top creators for nearly a decade. In 2018, her channel was the 16th-most-followed in the world, a ranking that only got higher if you counted her among just female creators. (Mourey has other YouTube channels, including one for gaming and one for a podcast. Both are co-run with her partner, fellow creator Julien Solomita.) But Mourey has also, as she addresses in this video, invited her fair share of controversy. She references a number of videos, including one in which she wears blackface and another where she used slurs to mock an Asian man, noting that both have been taken down for some time and that she has since grown as a person.
In the farewell video, Mourey plays clips from both of those videos, which were filmed in 2011. The first shows her doing an impression of Nicki Minaj which she calls “cringey and embarrassing.” “It was not my intention to do blackface … but all that matters is that people were offended and it hurt them,” she says. “This isn’t okay, and it hasn’t existed on the internet, because it isn’t okay. I haven’t done anything remotely like that, because I heard people say ‘this is blackface’ and ‘I don’t like that.”’ Mourey claims it was just her makeup but says it does not matter because it was seen as blackface, and that is what matters.
“I wish it wasn’t part of my past,” Mourey says. She apologizes repeatedly for both videos. She follows up with a clip from a video called “Bounce That Dick,” which includes the line, “hey ching chong wing wong, shake your King Kong ding dong, sorry that was racist, I’m bad a rap songs.” Again, Mourey apologizes and talks about being embarrassed and ashamed. “I shouldn’t have said that. Ever. It’s not cool. It’s not cute. It’s not okay.” She addresses a third video, which she does not show, apologizing for slut shaming. “There’s no on-demanding an apology of me for that video right now, but put it on my tab,” Mourey jokes. She also mentions how many of her videos trafficked in gender-binary stereotypes. “I don’t think making jokes about your gender is funny. I know there’s a lot of people that struggle with their identity or have varying, fluid identities.”
“Just know that I am doing my best,” Mourey says, addressing people who call her out online for whom she is friends with and their racist actions. “As a someone, clearly, with their own past they are not proud of, I just try to see people for who they are right now, today.” The video, she says, will be the last for some time, possibly forever, on this channel. “I think I’m just gonna move on from this channel for now … I want to make sure the things I put out into the world are not hurting anyone.” The video, which she says she might delete, will be the last new material on the channel.
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