YouTube Person Jenna Marbles Apologizes for Blackface Video

YouTube Person Jenna Marbles Apologizes for Blackface Video

Jenna Mourey said she was ending her channel, which has more than 20 million subscribers, because of videos from 2011 of her impersonating Nicki Minaj and rapping lyrics about Asians.

The YouTube personality Jenna Mourey has been making videos for over a decade under the name Jenna Marbles. She apologized for several videos Thursday.Credit…Stephanie Diani for The New York Times

Jenna Mourey, a YouTube personality who became one of the platform’s first major female stars, like Jenna Marbles, said on Thursday she was about to stop her channel due to a backlash on videos she shot with a black face and scoffing at Asian people.

Ms. Mourey, whose channel has over 20 million subscribers, apologized in the video for the content she made in 2011 and 2012 when she just installed her channel. She said she was leaving the platform to “hold myself accountable.”

“I am ashamed of things I have done and said in my past,” she said in a signoff video.

Unlike many other online celebrities, Ms. Mourey has been making videos for over ten years, and she has managed to maintain her success on YouTube, a platform that can be extremely lucrative for people creating content for her. In the 11-minute video, Ms. Mourey said she would like to watch the video because “We’re at a time where we are purging ourselves of anything and everything toxic.”

“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,” Ms. Mourey said. “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.”

Ms. Mourey said that some of the abusive videos were previously private, but she publicly contacted them because she was asked on social networks why she did this. She explained that she did not want to contribute to the creation of “negative things in the world.”

She said she wants to refer to the two clips specifically. In 2011, she repeated one of her roles with rapper Nicki Minaj, in a pink wig and darkened skin.

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

Miss Mourey said she was going to refuse to post the video on her channel, but she did not know how long it would be, or whether it would be a constant departure from the online world she created.

Her immediate plans: “Just live and just be. That’s it,” she said.

Ms. Mourey was the last public figure to address black face images in her past. This week, episodes of the popular television comedy series “30 Rock” were removed from streaming services, because they had parodies of white actors with a black face.

The late night hosts Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon apologized for appearing with a black face. The apology came amid nationwide protests against racism and ill-treatment of the police against blacks.

In recent years, Ms. Mourey has expanded her work on the Twitch live broadcast platform, where she shares the channel with her partner Julien Solomita. They appeared on TwitchCon in 2017 and were nominated for the Shorty Award in 2018 for working on Twitch.

Other YouTubers have also recently been criticized for racist skits, including Shane Dawson, who has been repeatedly criticized for old videos with his face in black, and Jeffree Star, who has recently been accused of racist and offensive comments. This week, YouTuber, David Dobrik, faced a backlash when an old video surfaced with him and Liza Koshy, in which they emulated Japanese speakers.

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