Longtime YouTuber Jenna Marbles leaves her channel after apologizing for blackface
Longtime YouTube star Jenna Marbles uploaded an 11-minute video Thursday apologizing for problematic past actions — including blackface, anti-Asian racist jokes and slut shaming — and announcing she will “move on” from her YouTube channel.
“First and foremost, I want everyone to know that I’ve always been a two-way street,” she said in her video, which is embedded below and contains minor profanity.
“And that any time that you criticize me and tell me that you would like me to do better or to do something differently, that I always try to do that.”
Marbles, whose real name is Jenna Mourey, received requests from fans to address her past actions and had previously turned content she deemed problematic “private.” That included a 2011 video in which she wore blackface while impersonating Nicki Minaj.
“It was not my intention to do blackface,” the YouTuber said. “All that matters is that people were offended and it hurt them, and for that I am so unbelievably sorry. This isn’t OK.”
Jimmy Kimmel’s defensive, strangely specific apology isn’t enough; we need to talk about why comedians who believe they’re not racist used blackface.
The star continued on to apologize for an additional 2011 video, also now private, in which she rapped anti-Asian slurs while wearing a traditional Asian sedge hat.
In the video, she follows the racist slurs by saying, “Sorry, that was racist. I’m bad at rap songs.” In her 2020 apology, titled “A Message,” she states of the video, “It’s awful, it doesn’t need to exist. It’s inexcusable, it’s not OK.”
Marbles also apologized for a 2012 video that she called “slut-shamey.”
“I had a lot of internalized misogyny, I feel like, at that time in my life,” she said. “It does not reflect my attitude towards anyone and their bodies.”
The “Plandemic” video was the latest breakout hit from the coronavirus conspiracy theory industry. Social media companies are scrambling to ban it from their platforms.
No one had demanded an apology for that video yet, Marbles said, but she felt responsible for addressing all of her actions that could have potentially hurt someone. In that vein, she also discussed her Twitter presence.
The star, who has 5.2 million Twitter followers and 20.2 million YouTube subscribers, noted that some fans thank her on social media for being “unproblematic.” That has always made her uncomfortable, she said, because she knew it had not always been true.
Marbles joined YouTube in 2010, making her one of the platform’s original stars.
Some of her most popular videos, such as “Drunk Makeup Tutorial,” “I Hate Being A Grown Up” and “How to Trick People Into Thinking You’re Good Looking,” were posted around that time. Since then, she has racked up more than 1 billion total video views and continued to produce near-weekly content.
“I think I’m just going to move on from this channel for now,” Marbles said Thursday. “I don’t know if that’s forever, I don’t know how long that’s gonna be. I just want to make sure that the things I put into the world are not hurting anyone.”
From the Oscars to the Emmys.
Get the Envelope newsletter for exclusive awards season coverage, behind-the-scenes stories from the Envelope podcast and columnist Glenn Whipp’s must-read analysis.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.