YouTuber Jenna Mourey, more famously known to the world as Jenna Marbles, announced on Thursday, June 25, that she is stepping away from her main YouTube channel.
Speaking to her 23 million subscribers in an 11-minute-long video, Mourey gave a tearful apology and bid adieu. She said, “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.”
In one of the videos, Mourey appeared as Nikki Minaj, in what she called blackface. In another, she used slurs to mock an Asian man. Both videos, Mourey said, have been taken down.
Mourey has been something of a fixture of YouTube. The now 33-year-old rose to internet fame in 2010 with a video titled ‘How to Trick People Into Thinking You’re Good Looking’, a video that has in excess of 69 million views.
In her farewell video, Mourey said that she received tweets that made her uncomfortable when her fans called her an “unproblematic queen.” She said she’s just a person, and she has done many problematic things in the past.
The YouTuber said that she doesn’t know if she will be gone from the channel forever. But for the time being, she was stepping away. “For now, I don’t… I just can’t exist on this channel,” she said. “Hopefully, I’ve taken down anything that would upset someone and I hope you know that that’s just not my intent, that’s not what I ever set out to do, to hurt anyone’s feelings or make anyone feel bad.”
“I don’t know if that’s forever, I don’t know how long it’s gonna be. I just want to make sure that the things that I put into the world are not hurting anyone. And, yeah, I’m just gonna stop. For now, or forever, I don’t know,” she said.
She said she held herself accountable for the content she’s put out in the past. She played clips from both of the aforementioned videos, which were filmed in 2011. She called her impression of Nicki Minaj “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 said. “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’.” She claimed it was just her makeup but said it did not matter because it was perceived as blackface.
The second clip was a video called ‘Bounce That Dick’, which featured the line, “Hey ch**g ch**g wing wong, shake your King Kong ding dong, sorry that was racist, I’m bad a rap songs.”
Mourey apologized and said, “I shouldn’t have said that. Ever. It’s not cool. It’s not cute. It’s not okay.”
She also addressed a third video, though she did not feature it. Her apology there was about slut-shaming. “There’s no on-demanding an apology of me for that video right now, but put it on my tab,” Mourey said. “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 said. “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… 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.”
Mourey’s departure from her channel was received with surprise and shock from people on Twitter. “Hearing Jenna Marbles say she might quit posting on her channel ‘forever’ felt like getting hit in the stomach with a metal bat. I am genuinely not okay,” wrote a fan on Twitter. Another wrote, “I’m devastated. I watch Jenna Marbles videos every night. I rewatch tons of times. The fact that she may never return to her channel/post content there anymore breaks my heart. I look up to this woman so much. I’m just so f****** sad right now.”
Amid the public heartbreak, however, many reminded why this move was important. A Twitter user wrote, “Jenna Marbles may have quit YouTube for now but remember why she did it. Hold social influencers accountable. Hold public figures accountable. Do not let people get away with problematic things just because they’re famous or rich.”