YouTube personality Jenna Marbles apologizes for Blackface video

Jenna Mourey, a YouTube personality who became one of the platform’s first female stars as Jenna Marbles, said Thursday that she was going to stop her channel amid a backlash over the videos she made on a black face and mocking Asians.

Ms. Mourey, whose channel has more than 20 million subscribers, apologized in a video for the content, which she made in 2011 and 2012 when she had just established her channel. She said she was leaving the platform to “hold me accountable.”

“I am ashamed of the things I have done and said in my past,” he said in a closing video.

Unlike many other internet celebrities, Mourey has been making videos for over a decade and managed to stay successful on YouTube, a platform that can be very profitable for people who make content for her. Ms. Mourey said in the 11-minute video that she wanted to address the videos because “we are at a time when we are purging ourselves of everything and everything toxic.”

“I think now it’s difficult for that content to exist because I think people see it and don’t bother looking at when it was published or I care what path I took to get to where I am,” said Mourey. . “It offends them now and, if that’s the case, where people see something and get offended now, I don’t want it to exist.”

Mourey said some of the offensive videos had previously been made private, but that he was publicly addressing them because he was receiving questions on social media about why he had done so. He explained that he did not want to contribute to bringing out “negative things in the world”.

She said she wanted to specifically address two clips. She repeated one of her characters who posed as rapper Nicki Minaj in 2011, while wearing a pink wig with darkened skin.

“It was not my intention to do blackface,” he said in the video Thursday.

He also played another 2011 clip, which he called “a bad year for me on trial,” which featured Ms. Mourey singing a rap song. In that video, Ms. Mourey is wearing a hat that looks like a Vietnamese non la, and sarcastically says he was being “racist” after making fun of Asians by performing an offensive stereotype.

He also apologized for a video he made in 2012 “ranting about the sleeping girls,” which he said showed that he had “internalized misogyny.”

Mourey said he made other private videos because they could be detrimental to those struggling with gender identity, he added.

“I am just a person trying to navigate the world,” he said.

Mourey said he was going to stop posting videos to his channel, but did not know for how long, or if it would be a permanent outlet from the online world he had created.

His immediate plans: “Just live and just know. That’s all, “she said.

Ms. Mourey was the last public figure to address black-faced depictions in her past. This week, episodes of “30 Rock,” the hit television comedy series, were removed from broadcast services because they featured parodies of white-faced white actors.

Nightly hosts Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon have apologized for appearing black. The apologies have emerged amid nationwide protests over racism and police mistreatment of blacks.

Mourey has expanded her work to the live streaming platform Twitch in recent years, where she shares a channel with her partner, Julien Solomita. The two appeared on TwitchCon in 2017 and were nominated for a Shorty Award in 2018 for their work on Twitch.

Other YouTubers have also come under fire recently for racist skits, including Shane Dawson, who has been repeatedly criticized for old videos of him with a black face, and Jeffree Star, who was recently accused of making racist and offensive remarks. This week, YouTuber David Dobrik faced a backlash when an old video of him and Liza Koshy appeared in which they imitated speaking Japanese.

Many fans expressed sadness over Ms. Mourey’s decision to leave YouTube, and several reappeared in a video talking about race and privileges. “The white privilege is a privilege, and if you don’t recognize it, that’s contributing to the problem. It is not a victimless crime, ”she says in the video.

Some YouTubers expressed disappointment at her decision to leave and spoke about her impact on the community as one of her best-known creators. “Jenna is a massive part of creation on YouTube,” YouTuber Sky Williams tweeted, saying he “grew up” watching her.

“We should not judge ourselves by how we acted when we were ignorant, but by how we responded when we were informed,” wrote YouTube star Hank Green on Twitter. “By that measure, Jenna Marbles is beyond many YouTubers.”

But others noted the intense abuse blacks faced in the industry and how it created barriers to success. “My tears are reserved for all black people who will never try to have a career on YouTube because they don’t want to be subjected to racism all day every day,” popular YouTuber Akilah Hughes tweeted.

“I hope that one day people can learn, change, and grow before earning millions of dollars with their black faces,” he wrote.