YouTuber Jenna Marbles (real name: Jenna Mourey) revealed she’s quitting vlogging after apologizing for her past racist videos. After fans asked her to address and take accountability for several of her skits, including one in which she wore what appeared to be blackface as part of a Nicki Minaj impression, she told her audience in a new vlog there were “things in her past she’s not proud of.” In addition to setting the offensive videos to private, she’s also “moving on from [her] channel” for the foreseeable future. “I don’t know if that’s forever, I don’t know how long it’s going to be,” she said. “I want to make sure the things that I put into the world are not hurting anyone.”
Mourey, 33, opened the video by acknowledging that, while people are “purging themselves of anything and everything toxic,” she wanted to acknowledge the public mistakes she’s made in the past. Though fans have called her “unproblematic” in recent years, she knows there have been missteps. “I’ve tried my best to grow up and to be a better person,” she said, discussing how she strives “make fun content, inclusive content, things that don’t offend people or upset people.”
Unfortunately, not every video she’s made meets those standards. “I’m sorry if any of [my old content] holds any nostalgia for you, but I’m literally not trying to put out negative things into the world. I think there was a time when having all of my old content exist on the internet showed how much I have grown up as a person, which I’m very proud of. I think now it’s hard for that content to exist at all because I think people watch it and don’t bother to look at when it was posted or care about what path I took to get to where I am. It offends them now, and, if that’s the case, where people will watch something and be offended now, I don’t want it to exist. … I just don’t want anyone to feel upset about anything. I don’t want to contribute to that. … I don’t want someone to watch something and feel hurt or offended now for any reason at all.”
There were a few videos, in particular, Mourey wanted to address, including the Nicki Minaj sketch, which was shared in 2011. “It was not my intention to do blackface,” she explained, though she acknowledged it “doesn’t matter” what her intention was. “All that matters is that people were offended, and it hurt them. For that, I am so unbelievably sorry. … This isn’t OK, and it hasn’t existed on the internet for a long time because it’s not OK. … I heard people say, ‘This is blackface,’ … and I just would never want to put that into the world.”
Another 2011 video called “Bounce That D–k” included imagery and language offensive to Asian people. “As you can see, I said, ‘Hey, ching chong, wing wong, shake your king kong ding dong. Sorry that was racist, I’m bad at rap songs,’” the vlogger explained. “It’s awful. It doesn’t need to exist. It’s inexcusable. It’s not OK. I’m incredibly sorry if this offended you this, now, whenever. … It shouldn’t have existed. I shouldn’t have said that ever. It’s not cool, it’s not cute, it’s not OK. And I’m embarrassed that I ever made that, period.”
She also apologized for a 2012 video that “came across unbelievably slut-shamey” and content she made about what girls do and what guys do. “I know, at the time, there were a lot of people that enjoyed those videos, but I have privated all of them because I don’t think that making jokes about your gender is funny, and I know that there [are] a lot of people that struggle with their identity and have varying fluid identities, or anything. I just don’t want content in the world that’s like … doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense. It can be hurtful. It can be harmful.”
Mourey shared that she’s hoping to be transparent with her subscribers and viewers because she knows what it’s like to be in their shoes. “What I want from the people that I support and that I like is to have accountability and to know that I am supporting someone whose morals and values align with my own,” she said. When it comes to people or fellow creators she’s friends with in her own life who have problematic pasts, she’s trying to allow them grace.
“I’m just a person trying to navigate the world the same way that you are,” she said. “I don’t always know what’s right and what wrong, what the truth is. I’m just trying my best. As someone clearly with their own past that they’re not proud of, I do just try to see people for they are right now, today, and that they’re not defined by their pasts, and I understand. I’m trying to do the same thing that you are and support and be friends with people that I’m proud of and that I love, and just know that I’m doing my best.”
Ultimately, Mourey is “not trying to let anyone down or hurt anyone or upset anyone,” which is why she’s made the decision to take a break — temporary or otherwise — from her channel. “I’m literally just here to have a good time, and I don’t think I’m having a good time, and it seems like maybe some other people aren’t having a good time, so for now I just can’t exist on this channel.”
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