Waking up to the news of Jenna Marbles, one of YouTube’s original and biggest stars, quitting her channel after receiving backlash over her past videos was a shock. In a video published today titled “A Message,” the vlogger said, “There’s a couple of things that people want me to address and apologize for and I’m happy to do that. Because what I want for people that I support and that I like is to have accountability and to know that I’m supporting someone whose morals and values align with my own.” By the end of the video, she tearfully said that she has taken down hurtful old content and that she’s moving on from her channel, “for now or forever,” because she doesn’t want to put anything out that can hurt people.
With more than three billion views and more than 20 million subscribers on her YouTube channel, Jenna Marbles’ decision has many saying that it’s an end of an era on the internet. While many fans and friends are sad about the loss, they are also commending Jenna’s sincere response and how it was a show of real growth. Fellow vlogger, Hank Green said in a tweet that he’s “grateful for her example” and that she stayed “true to her comedy and her community while taking out the parts of what she did that caused harm.”
I think it's vitally important that we tell creators when they are doing harm. And I have watched some creators react to that by listening and changing, while others have cried a bit in an apology video and then gone right back to making shitty stuff that hurts people.
Thank you @Jenna_Marbles for everything you’ve done for YouTube as a platform, especially female youtubers, but truly everyone you’ve inspired to turn on a camera. I’m glad you’re strong enough to step away from something painful, but if one day you feel that itch, we’ll be here.
In the video, Jenna speaks about past content where she did blackface while impersonating Nicki Minaj, slut-shamed women and rapped about racist Asian stereotypes. She owns up to her mistakes and says, “It doesn’t need to exist. I shouldn’t have ever said that. I’m embarrassed that I ever made that, period.”
Starting her YouTube career in 2010, Jenna Marbles has made a lot of people laugh and inspired so many as one of the site’s top women creators. She’s even the first YouTuber immortalized by Madame Tussauds New York. Considering her impact, we hope that her exit will encourage more vloggers to genuinely take responsibility for their content and become more open to criticism.
Photo by David Fitzgerald/Web Summit via Sportsfile