Jenna Marbles announced that she's leaving YouTube in a tearful apology for old offensive content

Jenna Mourey said she doesn't know how long she'll be gone from YouTube.Screenshot YouTube/JennaMarbles
  • YouTuber Jenna Mourey, known as Jenna Marbles, announced she is leaving her main channel for the time being and apologized for a number of old, offensive videos on her channel.
  • Mourey addressed accusations that she did "blackface" for a 2011 video imitating Nicki Minaj, made a racist joke about Asian men in her music video "Bounce That D---" and "slut shamed" women in a video.
  • She added that she would be putting many of her past videos on private, including the ones that included racist and offensive content, as well as ones about the differences between guys and girls.

Jenna Mourey, a celebrity YouTuber known online as Jenna Marbles, tearfully announced her departure from her main channel, which has more than 20 million subscribers. Since starting her channel in 2010, Mourey has been one of the biggest YouTubers on the platform and was the most subscribed-to female YouTuber for several years.

Mourey said that she "can't exist" on her main channel anymore, and said she wasn't having fun with it, which has been her main goal. She noted that she doesn't try to sell anyone anything and doesn't have sponsors. In a 2013 New York Times profile Mourey expressed that she has "more money than [she needs], ever."

She became known largely for comedic skits and rants, some of which, she noted in an apology video titled "A Message" on June 25, contain offensive content. Mourey said that she has received backlash for old videos in recent weeks, as quarantine has cultivated an ongoing "callout" and "cancel culture" during which many famous creators have been scrutinized for old content that has aged poorly.
In Mourey's case, she specifically addressed a number of videos that are no longer available to view on her channel, because she set them to "Private" on YouTube. In 2011, Mourey, who did a series of videos imitating celebrities, did a video imitating the rapper Nicki Minaj. She wore a pink wig and her dark spray tan drew accusations of blackface. She was also accused of using a "blaccent." Those accusations aren't new and have been circulating online for years, and Mourey privated the video years ago, but clips have still circulated.

In addition to the Minaj impersonation video, Mourey apologized for a 2011 parody rap song she made called "Bounce that D---." She rapped "Hey ching chong wing wong, shake your king kong ding dong. Sorry that was racist, I'm bad at rap songs," and she also wore a stereotypical Asian rice hat in the video.

"It's awful, it doesn't need to exist, it's inexcusable, it's not okay," Mourey said in the video. "I'm incredibly sorry if this offended then, now, whenever, it doesn't need to exist. It shouldn't have existed. I shouldn't have said that ever. It's not cool, it's not cute, it's not okay, and I'm embarrassed that I ever made that, period."

Then she apologized for a 2012 video she says she "privated" shortly after making it during what she said was "one of the worst years of my life." Mourey says she ranted about girls that "slept around" and says it was "incredibly slut-shamey" and that she experienced a lot of "internalized misogyny at that point in my life."

Since Mourey says she "privated" that video very quickly after posting it, there was no one demanding an apology for it, but she wanted to express guilt over making anyone ever feel bad about their bodies. She also said she was "privating" all her old — and some of her most popular — videos about what guys and girls do, respectively. Examples of these since-privated videos were "What Girls Think About During Sex" and "How Girls Get Ready in the Morning," and many showed Mourey dressed as a male for the male counterparts of those videos. "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 that have very fluid identities [...] I just don't want content in the world that [...] doesn't make sense and can be hurtful and can be harmful," Mourey said.

She also said that she receives tweets about people she follows and is friends with telling her she's racist for doing so, and Mourey said "I'm a person trying to navigate the world the same way you are. So I don't always know what's right and what's wrong but the truth is I'm just trying my best."

Mourey said she has received comments asking her to address the old videos as well as comments suggesting she doesn't have to. She emphasized that it was her decision to apologize for them and to step away from YouTube because she never wanted to hurt anybody or offend anybody with her videos and content.

"I've spent a lot of the past few days privating almost all of my old content," Mourey said in the video. "And I'm sorry if any of that holds any nostalgia for you, but I'm literally not trying to put out negative things into the world."